LOCATION: Academic City. Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Eugenio Tenaglia Giunta
Facundo Rodriguez Nielsen
ACADEMIC CITY | DESIGN CAMPUS
The Academic City is the natural site chosen for the Architecture School Tower. This location, in the outskirts of Dubai, confers an iconic character to the tower since it is not surrounded by other skyscrapers. Additionally, its strategic geo-position creates an appropriate environment to conceive the tower as a 360° observatory in order to appreciate the transition between the desert and the downtown area as a reflection of Dubai's true landscape.
The Architecture Tower, together with other two buildings, conform the Design Campus within the Academic City. The almost triangular-shaped plot is surrounded by highways that enhance the connection with the rest of the city. Therefore, the perimeter is densely forested, acting as acoustic buffer. Internally, a circulation ring assures the continuity of the whole campus, bonding the accesses from the three sides and containing the athletic area.
THE TOWER: AUTONOMOUS EDUCATIONAL UNITS
The functional zones are fragmented into autonomous units, so each one can be designed following its own logic. This division enables to accommodate every particular requirement freely, without stacking constraints. Each programmatic zone has its internal circulation system and its envelope is a pure box where the spatiality is defined by the voids that carves the unit. Nonetheless, the boxes are divided in three groups according to their functional interconnections.
INTERSTITIAL SPACE: THE VERTICAL LANDSCAPE
Once the structure to support the boxes is added, the skin wraps the group, creating a continuous interstitial space in between that surrounds the programmatic boxes. This space changes along the elevation of the tower, going through a gradual transition from one condition to a different one. The top of the boxes are envisioned as a system of green terraces that can be used for relaxation or public exhibitions. A continuous circulation via escalators concatenates these terraces, generating an interrupted vertical landscape.
NATURAL COOLING | SMART SKIN SYSTEM
In order to give an environmental response to the arduous climate of Dubai, the design of the tower re-interprets a vernacular ventilation/cooling system, taking advantage of the vertical circulation that threads all boxes by using it as a wind tower. This element is complemented by a qanat that cools the air through convection and evaporation of an underground water reservoir while ventilates it into the tower.
The cooling system is accompanied by a smart-skin system able to change its configuration according to the environmental conditions. Each panel is a proportional discretization of the face in which is embedded and has the capacity to interpolate from closed to open in order to provide correct lighting/ventilation conditions, while absorbing solar-energy using PV panels.