UNStudio, working in collaboration with Werner Sobek, have unveiled their designs for the Wasl Tower, a 300-meter tall skyscraper in Dubai. Centrally located along the main thoroughfare that connects the Emirates north to south, the Wasl Tower sits directly opposite the Burj Khalifa and, once completed, will feature one of the world’s tallest ceramic facades. Inspired by the movement of the city, the 300-meter supertall building takes on a “contrapposto” form, responding to the Sheikh Zayed Road along which it is sited.
The facade has ribbons of outdoor balconies wrapping up the facade, referred to by the designers as a “vertical boulevard,” tying together the interior with the exterior of the tower. The veil of fins that covers the facade was designed using parametric design in conjunction with high-tech engineering to ensure performance in addition to aesthetics. Taking on a holistic sustainable approach, these ceramic fins provide shading and also act as a light-shelf, throwing light deeper into the building. To match the pulse of the vibrant city, the facade is programmed with rhythmic animation designed by Arup, which will be powered by PV panels on the low rise parking structure, which sits at the base of the tower creating a podium for the rest of the building.
The Wasl Tower will be mixed-use, comprising offices, guest rooms, apartments, public areas, and a large column-free ballroom on the main level of the parking structure. Connecting the public programs, the building’s elevator system includes four main lobbies, the ground, spa, sky, and rooftop levels. Structurally, the building boasts three 300-meter tall shear walls in the core, with 4 large outriggers connecting back at strategic levels, allowing a nearly free, highly efficient floorplate.
“As the project strongly related to and interconnects with Dubai’s urban experience, the aim is to make a visit to the Wasl Tower as attractive and contemporary as possible,” explains Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. “As such a dedicated concept of health, comfort and well-being throughout was developed for the building.” The design pays special attention to the quality of interior spaces as well, using clean materials, interactive light levels, and good acoustics throughout, particularly on the public levels where food services will add to the experience.