The U-Bora Towers development is a signature style offered by Andrew Bromberg of Aedas to the important financial center of Dubai that is straddled between the East and West. The design has given equal attention to its three different uses - office, residential and retail podium, in order to maximize their opportunities and viabilities within the site’s context.
The architecture offers something to everyone and complimentarily balances its three major components of office, residential and retail in order to maximize the sites vibrancy. As Business Bay will become the one of the prime commercial centers in Dubai and the Middle East, the prominence and convenience of the U-Bora Towers will become a valuable asset to the diverse and dynamic region.
The design of the complex is generated by the response to the site condition which primarily entails residential lake side frontage, which stays low to maintain a suitable residential scale and offers prime lake views. On the other hand the office tower maintains an urban commercial response in a form of a sculptured, Grade A office tower which forms an urban anchor by sitting itself on the corner of the busy intersection. The juxtaposition of the tower and the residential block also achieves the maximum viewing vantage for both the office and the residence. Finally the lower residential built form is punctured with a lakeside urban gateway and various access stairs, these rejuvenates the urban fabric around the building by drawing the people to the podium level landscaped garden which acts as the lung for the development.
The office, retail and podium components are glued together with a 10,000 m2 public, densely landscaped deck which has accessibility from all three exposed sides of the project. Two monumental stairs lead up from either side of the office tower with a third passing through a large ‘gateway’ within the residential block down to the water edge to the south.
The office tower position is rotated from the orthogonal at the street level to help focus the office space down the future view corridors toward the water and past the surrounding developments. As the tower increase in height, its four faces respond directly to their three dimensional context. They all twist at varying degrees and angles to re-orient their faces to maximize available views. The entire tower is served by a centralized core to maximize usable areas and the surrounding views. Two slots on located separately on the east and west facades provide a relief for the form and they are also indicative of the three zones within the tower. They are also specially lit to accent the form and curvature of the building. The three zones are divided based on the low, mid and high elevators zones, making it more efficient to circulate up to the different tower levels.
A glass canopy surrounds the piazza and street facing sides to provide a covered path connecting with the podium. The base of the tower has a 5 storey tall atrium which opens up as an inviting lobby for the offices above. Some of the program in this lobby atrium includes cafes, prayer rooms, public facilities and circulation. The tower has two levels of mechanical spaces which are located between level 26 and level 27, and between level 40 and level 41. A double floor roof mechanical space also serves the tower. For the facade, insulated glass units are used to clad the faces of the tower. These units are thermally efficient and sufficiently fulfill the local thermal insulation requirements of Dubai. At the same time, the color and reflectivity of the glass is chosen to make the tower stand out aesthetically in its vicinity.
The office, retail and podium components are glued together with a 10,000 m2 public, densely landscaped deck which has accessibility from all three exposed sides of the project. Two monumental stairs lead up from either side of the office tower with a third passing through a large ”gateway” within the residential block down to the water edge to the south.
There are two basement floors are used for parking and mechanical spaces. Above, the podium splits up into two different masses: the main podium and the retail island. Its material palette for the façade is made up of mainly stone and glass. The southern podium façade is also partially covered by aluminum louvers to provide shading and ventilation. The podium is consisted of 5 floors, which is made up of retail shops, supporting facilities, residential facilities, residential lobbies, loft offices and parking. Double storey high retail shops surround the north and south sides of the site on ground floor. Loft offices are located along the north face in level 2, elevated above the retail and street activities. These offices have direct access from the office tower lobbies and parking. The top of the podium sits a roof terrace, with water features, landscaping, lighting features, open spaces for the public and amenities serving the residential building above. Positioned on the northeast part of the site is the piazza. A retail arcade surrounds the podium parameter, activating shop fronts and encouraging street activities.
It provides shading and protected access to the ground floor retail, creating links between the main podium to the retail-island and public piazza. The retail-island, which includes shops and restaurants, is highly transparent with glass facades and it’s topped by a restaurant pavilion on the P5 podium deck level. Water and lighting features are located on this public piazza, making it a vibrant part of this development.
The parking strategy provides sufficient parking requirements for all retail, office and residential units. The two basement floors, level 1 to level 3 parking are used solely for commercial uses. Ground floor has a mix of residential and commercial parking. And level 4 parking is used for the residences directly above. Vehicular access to the podium is served by two exits and entrances along the north side on ground floor. One is located on the western edge of the project site close to the adjacent property and another one sits in the middle of the development near the base of the office tower. Vehicles will enter from these two access points and redistribute in different podium levels, serving all the support facilities, retail, office and residences. Two drop off areas are also are located along the northern street with one serving the podium and the other serving primarily the office tower.
16 floors make up the residential building. The architectural form is unique with a void puncturing through to create an iconic urban gateway for the development. It deliberately does not compete with the surrounding towers in height and instead keeps low and focused to the adjacent water body to the south. By designing the block as a linear bar rising from 12 stories at the tower end to 16 stories at the western end, a significantly greater percentage of units get an uninterrupted view of the water. Three major service cores support the residential building. Residents have access to the private residence podium roof, which is where the resident’s swimming pool is located. Simil-timber and metal panels are used to cover the facades, and each floor is extended with balconies. These balconies are protected by glass balustrades and they also help to shade the apartment units. Internally, units are laid out on each sides of a double loaded corridor on each level. Unit types are divided into studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments. Operable glass doors are used to also maximize views.
The landscape of the U-Bora Tower is designed as an extension of the architecture. The main design element, a dynamic sweeping gesture, responds to the geometry of the two buildings and serves to magnify the curve of the residential block. This sweeping gesture is intended energize the landscape and provide engaging and powerful outdoor spaces. The major elements of the landscape design are as follows:
The ground-level entry plaza is intended as dignified forecourt space for the commercial tower. The plaza is an uncluttered stone-paved open space with a sculptural centerpiece in the form of a stainless-steel misting fountain.
The fountain introduces movement and sound into the plaza as well as providing a cooling mist. At night the mist will appear as a glowing cloud. A small grove of randomly arranged tress provides a shaded seating area and acts as a counterpoint to the hard edges of the plaza. An array of recessed LED strip lights provide a dynamic gesture that emphasizes the connection between the plaza and the Business Bay Lagoon beyond.
Podium Event Space
The podium-level event space serves as an open space for a variety of event functions and primarily serves the commercial tower. The event space enjoys easy access to the tower, the business center, and ground level via 3 exterior stairs. Utility connection points will be provided to accommodate temporary events. Adjacent to this area is a shaded seating area with benches, water elements and shade trees. Access has also been provided to the a future adjoining podium level.
Podium Terrace Garden
The Podium Terrace garden serves as a transition between the podium level and level of the residential block transfer slab. The transition is made with a series of gently-rising planted terraces that allow for seating and viewing over the event space. Sets of broad steps connect to an upper shaded seating area.
Residential Shade Gardens
Shady outdoor areas occupy the space beneath the residential tower block. These spaces take advantage of the shaded enclosed environment to create a series of semi-private lushly-landscaped gardens. These gardens also serve as entrances into the residential block. These gardens feature tropical planting, benches, broad stepping stones and water features that serve to separate the private residential spaces from the public area. Theses garden spaces are intended to be cool relaxing gardens that serve as a respite from the heat and sun of the pool deck.
The pool terrace is a bright, sunny, open activity area that provides a setting for poolside activities. The central feature is a large infinity-edge swimming pool with an integral jacuzzi. The swimming pool acts as a reflecting pool, effectively reflecting the views of the Business Bay development. A large wood deck acts as a framing element for the infinityedge pool and provides a comfortable walking surface for the areas around the pool.
Additional amenities will include a luxurious spa and fitness centre, private car parking, a children’s play area along with business centres, meeting rooms and prayer rooms. With all these features, living and working at U-Bora will be an exciting, life enriching experience.