Making a Place for ICD-Brookfield in Dubai

Ian Whitby
Foster + Partners,

The project addresses the key buildings of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, Emirates Towers and the World Trade Centre, and questioned the simple orthogonal relationship to the Promenade at the center of the DIFC Masterplan. The site links to the Promenade at the center of DIFC but is accessed from Al Sa’adah Street to the east: organizing the best arrival possible on this edge was an early challenge in the project.

The ground and first floor are key to the site. ICD-Brookfield’s brief required an ‘address’ for the office space at the center of the development – an active, identifiable place. Connectivity between the two levels and activities along the way were critical. A diagonal route across the site connects to the Al Sa’adah St. frontage maximizing its length so the major level can be handled comfortably while increasing retail frontages and, most importantly, positions ICD-Brookfield Place as a “Summer Garden” between the tower and the retail podium.

Car parking is all below ground – which is unusual in Dubai, because of the high-water table. The value of the ground and first floor levels made this worthwhile, however. Plant is placed at level five for the lower half of the building; the upper half is serviced from above, removing the need for mid-height plant rooms and allowing a simple, restrained façade design.The stability structure of the tower forms grand openings at ground level, providing entrances to the tower. Roofs are valuable spaces in Dubai and a special set of skygardens are formed at the very top of the building where they organize a set of smaller floor plates.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation