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Grimshaw has high hopes for Dubai


Grimshaw has revealed these dramatic designs for a new mixed-use skyscraper in Dubai.

The project - which will include residential, office and retail elements - aims to reflect the local-vernacular Arab architecture while also responding to modern requirements.

The unusual proposals for the facade were developed following an assessment of how the architecture of the region uses the strong sunshine while taming its ferocity.

The result of this work was the adaptation of the vernacular 'mashrabiya screen' - a projecting 'window' of timber latticework - through the use of controlled openings and internal squares.

This work led the design team to draw up proposals for a basic floorplate, made up of four quadrants organised round a central core, that could be used successfully for the tower's three different functions.

The quadrants serve as the living/working spaces while the core is used as a communal atrium, providing access to the perimeter offices or apartments. The effect of this proposal is to create a series of 'vertical villages'.

However, Grimshaw wanted variation in the facade. This is achieved by stacking the basic floorplate at alternate orientations. Additionally, one of the quadrants is occasionally removed completely to create dramatic recesses that can be used as exterior space.

The practice has also designed the tower so that at night it will be seen as a negative, with floodlighting beamed through the vertical slots.

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