Dubai Design: The New Business Bay
BY BRIS ALUMINIUM IN NEWS
The Business Bay project begun in 2003 is the vision of United Arab Emirates’ Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum. Initially, Sheikh Mohammed aimed to build the biggest office block in the Middle East to rival London’s Canary Wharf but building slowed during the global financial crisis of 2007/ 2008. With partly finished skyscrapers and skeletal frames, plus developers packing for more profitable shores, the future of the Business Bay looked shaky.
However, Sheikh Mohammed’s vision has expanded to include the residential and hospitality sector, and construction activity has picked up again in recent years with many office and apartment towers, and hotel buildings topping out.
Since this is Dubai, there are plenty of architectural feats to admire among the many standard glass and steel towers. The O-14, or ‘Swiss Cheese Tower’, is a 22 storey office tower situated on the waterside esplanade and recognisable for its white perforated concrete exterior shell. Designed by New York architects RUR Architecture, the building’s innovative shell leaves a space of one metre outside the windows. The passive airflow keeps the building’s interior cool and reduces energy costs by 30%.
Apartments in the Business Bay are initially expected to attract single professionals, rather than families who require greater access to nearby activities and restaurants. But with museums, art galleries and retail outlets planned, along with urban gardens and canals, roads and pathways, skyscraper city has the potential to be an exciting urban space.
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