Sunscreen, Dubai, Commercial Tower
Sunscreen, Dubai, Commercial Tower

Form truly follows function when it comes to the façade of the lean green O-14 (pronounced “oh-14″) office tower which broke ground this past December in Dubai. At 22 stories tall, the 300,000 square-foot commercial tower’s most unique feature is its façade, which is made of 16″ thick concrete containing over 1,000 circular openings.

Designed by RUR Architecture, the building’s façade perforations serve as a solar screen, letting in light, air, and views through to the interior occupants. The one-meter space between the façade and the building’s glass surface also yields a chimney effect causing hot air to rise, creating an efficient passive cooling system. The façade also serves as a structural exoskeleton, absorbing all of the tower’s lateral forces and acting as a physical barrier for the building’s window wall.

The Architects Jesse Reiser and Nanoko Umemoto of RUR Architecture designed O-14 in collaboration with developer Shahab Lutfi. The result was a fruitful relationship between developer and architect- both Reiser and Umemoto comment on the significance of their working relationship with Lutfi, with particular regard to his outlook and enthusiasm for innovative architecture.

Dubai is fast becoming the global leader of bizarre upscale developments — for more interesting Dubai architecture, check out the rotating solar tower, and the floating mosque and floating communities which are currently being developed.

+ RUR Architecture

Via Archinect & AIArchitect


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  1. mhteich January 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    In 20 years people will look at this project and think “my god… did someone really have to do that to our city?”

    This project might get good grades in a 2 year design studio but in my book it is pure trend… pure kitsch… pure “intellectual masturbation” as the French would say.

    PS: Sustainability is (or should be) only half the story… the other half of the story should be the psychology of space. We used to call architecture environmental design for a reason that seems completely lost in todays worl of inflated ego designers.

  2. pjd. March 31, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    form follows function is dead. please strike this empty jingle from your lexicon of cliches. if the form of the building’s concrete exoskeleton were expressive of structure, the force transfer lines would be much more obvious. the building’s large architectural gesture here is that the envelope seeks to destabilize the relationships of the interior floor slab construction, in order to produce a building that is somewhat scaleless. (this is one of reiser+umemoto’s fundamental principles, and for further reading you should refer to atlas of novel tectonics) sure, the sustainable stack-effect is worth congratulating, but i really think that the passive cooling of the building is not as interesting as its subtle critique of the rest of dubai’s architecture. o-14 does much more with much less. in a way, it goes along the lines of the rem koolhaas diagram of difference that makes no difference, inserting a rather clean prismic form within a urbanism of ridiculous towers.

  3. MARIA DA CARIDADE SOUSA... August 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Olá Tudo bem? O meu sonho é conhecer Dubai, moro muito longe, também ´´e dificultoso.
    Dubai é lindo e encantador, um país paradisíaco, eu amei de vista.
    Moro em Barra do corda Maranhão
    CEP: 65950-000
    AV. Roseana Sarney, 572- A Trezidela

  4. Rodrigo Bassini February 23, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Wonderful place…

    The city of Dreams…no coments for this!

    I love!


    Rodrigo Bassini – for Brazil

  5. paulo roberto do nascim... January 20, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    um lugar maravilhoso

  6. laras July 23, 2008 at 5:22 am


  7. Dubai web developer / d... March 10, 2008 at 5:21 am

    great design, really futuristic, attractive, impressed

  8. raj January 9, 2008 at 8:19 am

    very luxurious plan

  9. mintchy house December 26, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    beautiful building, marvelous design,very good looking, i think green building have a future in dubai landscape.congratulation RUR architecture, very inovative stucture.

  10. nahna November 22, 2007 at 10:56 am

    MEP of this tower is taken by company albonain int ernational

  11. MILIA HAJJ November 4, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    actually this creation is unique from the inside not from the outside i think the architect worked as an interior designer more then an exterior. ireally want to be inside this building from outside i’m not so impressed

  12. Renata Santos October 19, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    É um sonho arquitetônico!! Totalmente fora da realidade. E é o que o torna mais atraente. Como tudo em Dubai.

  13. ramon toblas October 14, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    un dla tengo que lr aya

  14. Stephen A. Andoh September 18, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    A “breath of fresh air.”… so to speak. A riverting departure from the glass and steel high rises that populate the urban landscape.

  15. Santi August 7, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Beautiful building

  16. Basem Hammami June 4, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Great news for Dubai Birds. just came back from there and witnessed the problem first hand when a Bird pooped on my suite on my way to work.

  17. Arch. Marco Melino - Va... March 5, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Very good form and plasma project!

  18. blah bloo February 17, 2007 at 2:16 am

    so they havnt built it yet?
    are they going to build it or still desiding
    i recon they should build it coz it looks COOOOOOOOL!!!!!

  19. Nicholas February 15, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Not since HK has there been a city so forward thinking in Architecture design. Can’t wait to see what this is going to look like…

  20. Roberta Murphy February 12, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Dubai is to architecture what Paris is to haute couture.

    In the years ahead, we will likely see adaptations and interpretations of Dubai’s exciting exciting designs. It is likely already happening.

  21. Lynn February 9, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    I do love Dubai’s recent architecture projects. The designs are definitely not cookie-cutter and they’re really worth seeing. But while they do take into consideration the structures’ energy-efficiency and all, I hope they’re also putting some importance on the materials and land use.

  22. Apdey February 6, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Dubai’s architecture maynot exactly be experimental as a whole. But bizzare it is. It commercial value being of paramount importance, architecture is often simply aped from western examples- not very innovative, u’d agree. Attractions like Dancing towers & Burj Dubai (highest tower- planned) are there as well. But 0-14 is one of the few environmentally concious buildings I have seen. Huge amount of glass and a/c in a hot climate with only concrete used as a building material is what the avreage scenario is like. Is that soemthing to learn from? I wonder if it isnt another repition of follies we’ve already experienced in the past in more developed environments, where we r now trying to make amends.

  23. LisaB February 5, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    I’m all for experimental whacky architecture, especially when I don’t have to live/work in it – but why do they have to create such inhuman streetscapes? Is it not possible to create a street-level facade that reads as a building or is scaled to be comfortable for the users?

  24. James S. February 5, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I also like a lot of what Dubai is doing. They are investing in themselves for when their oil money runs out. Nice to see our, the US, money going to good innovative use. Instead of just building more gilded palaces, buying more jumbo jets and horses (thank you House of Saud and other arab princes for you contributions to Kentucky’s economy) Dubai is also experimenting with their architecture. This will allow the rest of the world to learn what works and what doesn’t.

  25. Michael D February 3, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    I like what Dubai is doing in terms of Architecture. They are building around their culture and they represent that in theri buildings. It is both progressive and also keeps the appreciation of both the culture and the people there, and its a great view for tourist too.

  26. dug February 1, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    i think passive cooling was perfected by termites… also working in adobe.

  27. Matt Fiori January 31, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    As far as modelling to make sure it works, the idea of passive cooling is not new. It was perfected by an English architecht, working more with adobe than concrete, in India in the past century. Natural heating and cooling through design. Very energy efficient.

  28. Maggie van Rooyen January 31, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    What an interesting move away from the mundane office blocks. It is a clever, sophisticated design and the architects should be proud of themselves. It will be a focal point in the Dubai skyline for many years to come!

  29. jean harrington January 31, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    “Dubai is fast becoming the global leader of bizarre upscale developments….”
    What do mean?
    It’s like living in a mall and never leaving.

  30. Kathy Detwiler January 31, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    embodied energy of concrete? environmental costs of construction? what happened to cradle to cradle thinking here?

  31. Candy Spillard January 31, 2007 at 6:30 am

    I hope they’ve modelled it to be sure the idea really works…if so, then, impressive!

  32. tonami January 30, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    impressive use of geometry to create a very unique and funtional piece of architecture. We can be sure to expect more from Dubai, with new building projects poping up every 3 months or so.

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