Nature and architecture come together in this plan for a multi-use development in Dubai. AmorphouStudio designed the Symbiotic Towers using environmental data to ensure occupants would be comfortable during Dubai’s hot summers. Voronoi patterns found in nature and desert oasis formation also inspired the design. Inhabitat spoke with architect and AmorphouStudio founder Zayad Motlib to learn more.
Warm weather prevails for much of the year in Dubai, and AmorphouStudio accounted for this in the Symbiotic Towers’ design. They incorporated contextual environmental data with the goal of reducing dependence on air conditioning.
Three towers – one for residential use, another for offices, and the third a hotel – are connected on the ground by a two-level shopping plaza. Zayad Motlib said the voronoi patterns that inspired the design team can be seen in plant leaves, rock patterns, or a dragonfly wing. “Nature developed a system that generates this pattern to produce variety of cells formation that adapt to different conditions,” he told Inhabitat. “We used that strategy when we were planning the plaza.”
The lower plaza deck offers a “lavish green semi-shaded oasis” with tree- and water-filled gathering areas for the summer. The upper deck is comprised of a “stretched voronoi perforated deck” partially shaded by trees. Photovoltaic umbrellas resting atop tree-like structures provide more cover, and the solar energy they generate powers a cross-ventilation system.
According to the studio, “This treatment, along with the shading provided by the upper deck level and the dense plantation, create a micro-climatic habitable environment that can be used during the hottest seasons in Dubai.” The lobby area inside the towers creates a “transparent atrium void that unites the floors.”
“Different cells formations have been explored using a combination of attraction and repulsion system to generate a pattern that would adapt to the circulation and placement of buildings on the plaza, and be part of the cross-ventilation air movement between the lower plaza oasis level and the upper plaza level,” Motlib told Inhabitat.
Radiation data from May through October – Dubai’s hottest months – aided AmorphouStudio in developing the skins of the towers. The designers mapped the data to the geometry of the buildings to inform their orientation and shape. The result is a trio of futuristic towers that twist to reduce surface area exposed to high radiation.
“The building temperature is maintained through the design treatments of forms generation, balconies, and the skins,” Motlib told Inhabitat. “Building forms have been developed through a negotiation between site data and their exposure to radiation. An evolutionary solver has been used to minimize their skin exposure to the sun. Balconies vary in depth based on their orientation in order to provide deeper shaded zones in the areas that are exposed to higher radiation. Additionally, the building outer skin functions as an external shading device with varied opening sizes based on the sun exposure.”
Motlib said they are still researching the best performance material for the skin, with clay-based terracotta panels or a fiber composite material as possibilities.
The studio designed the Symbiotic Towers for Dubai’s Jumeirah Gardens, and the project made the shortlist of the 2017 MEA Awards for Concept Design of the Year.
The project is currently on hold and Motlib isn’t yet sure when it will move forward – but in the meantime, he says, they are working to “raise awareness of the design principles of this project and its ecological advantages that we achieved by incorporating contextual environmental data and natural landscape of Dubai to achieve a synthesis of forms, skins, and public spaces.”
Images courtesy of AmorphouStudio