Case Study: Dubai’s O14

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The project This office tower in Dubai’s Business Bay was completed in 2010 after four years under construction. It was opened more than six months later due to a delay in connecting the building to mains electricity.

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Designed by US firm RUR, the building is the first project by developer H&H and provides 22 floors of office space, with a floor plate of some 6,000ft2. It is supported by a concrete facade which contains more than 1,300 individual holes and cuts cooling costs by up to 30%.

The site The development is on the waterfront at Business Bay, opposite the currently empty site set aside for Zaha Hadid’s dancing tower project.

O14 is one of very few finished buildings in the area, which was hit particularly hard by the financial crisis. Infrastructure was a problem for the architect and the developer, and led to a delay in the opening of the project.

The concept Developer Shahab Lutfi said that the key aspect of O14’s appeal was its uniqueness. “It is completely different. You drive through Dubai and you see glass buildings everywhere. This is the only building that doesn’t have glass on the outside,” he said.

RUR architect Jesse Reiser added: “The model was almost biological. It’s an exoskeleton, like bone. Instead of having the traditional curtain wall, the structure shades and building a also holds it up.”

Reiser said the ‘Swiss cheese’ moniker has stuck, although there have been other interpretations. “There are all kinds of names for it. The Russians say it is derived from Konstantin Melnikov’s house and others have said it’s indigenous Arabic architecture,” he said.

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