In May of 2009, the exterior shell of O-14 was topped out, revealing the full height concrete exoskeleton, which surrounds the tower in a lace-like veil.
O-14, a twenty-two storey tall commercial tower perched on a two-storey podium in the heart of Dubai’s Business Bay, comprises 300,000 square feet and is a collaboration between RUR Architecture of New York and the Creek Side Development Company of Dubai. O-14 is located along the extension of Dubai Creek, occupying a prominent location on the waterfront esplanade.
The design of O-14 fundamentally shifts away from the architectural norm in current Dubai towers by eliminating the now obligatory curtain wall and above ground parking in favor of a shade-producing, concrete load-bearing shell and an open public space at the tower base achieved by moving the parking below ground.
High-strength self-consolidating concrete was cast around a basket weave of steel reinforcement resulting in an elegant perforated exterior shell. The holes are achieved by introducing computer numerically cut polystyrene void forms into the rebar matrix, and sided with modular steel slip forms prior to the concrete pour. The concrete shell of O-14 provides an efficient structure that frees the core from the burden of lateral forces and creates highly efficient, column-free open spaces in the buildings interior.
The shell is not only the structure of the building but acts on the interiors as a sunscreen open to light, air, and views. The openings on the shell are modulated depending on structural requirements, views, sun exposure and luminosity. A space nearly one meter deep between the shell and the glazing creates a ‘chimney effect,’ a phenomenon whereby hot air has room to rise and effectively cools the surface of the window wall behind the perforated shell. This passive solar technique essentially contributes to a natural component to the cooling system for O-14, thus reducing energy consumption by 30%, just one of many innovative aspects of the building’s design.
The project has generated extraordinary international interest in the architectural press. It is among the very first innovative designs to be constructed among a sea of generic office towers that have come to be the standard in Dubai’s recent building boom.
Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, the principals of RUR Architecture, credit the Creek Side Development Company for encouraging their innovative design approach to O-14 and refer to their relationship as a ‘unique collaboration’. Each floor of O-14 has been already been sold to future tenants who can arrange the flexible floor space according to their individual needs. In addition to office tenants, the building will contain upscale retail spaces and a restaurant at promenade level, as well as an elevated podium restaurant for formal dining with spectacular views of Dubai Creek and the rest of the neighboring Dubai skyline.