10 Year Award of Excellence: O-14, Dubai

Shahab Harmoozi
Partner
H&H Investment and Development LLC, Dubai

Jesse Reiser
Principal
Reiser + Umemoto RUR Architecture, New York City

A Stylish and High-Performing Exoskeleton

The concrete shell of O-14 provides an efficient structural exoskeleton that frees the core from the burden of lateral forces and creates highly-efficient open spaces in the building’s interior. The exoskeleton is the primary vertical and lateral structure for the building, allowing the column-free office slabs to span between it and its minimal core. Additionally, as the floor plates do not carry lateral loads to the core, they are minimized to only respond to span and vibration requirements. The concrete shell is organized as a diagrid, wedded to an efficient system of 1,300 openings. Always maintaining a minimum structural member, the shell adds material locally where necessary and takes away where possible. This efficiency and modulation create a wide range of atmospheric and visual effects without changing the basic structural form.

The shell acts also as a sunscreen—open to light, air, and views. The openings thus modulate according to structural requirements, views, sun exposure, and luminosity. A 1-meter gap between the main enclosure and exterior shell creates a chimney effect, whereby hot air has room to rise and effectively cools the surface of the glass windows behind the shell. This passive solar technique is a natural component of the cooling system, significantly reducing energy consumption and costs.

Within its limited site, the tower subsumes the typical arcade into its shell, and produces another layer of activity higher up on the podium. Four levels of underground parking free up the ground plane, and a continuous elevated pedestrian walkway is created above the street level. O-14 and its neighbors support a network of activity, forming accessible connections from the rear street to the promenade, and activating the waterfront block.

View Building on The Skyscraper Center