Case Study: Emirates Golf Club

The project
This is a revamp of Dubai’s Emirates Golf Club by Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf (BSBG), the firm that originally designed the facility some 23 years ago. The club house was originally designed to look like a cluster of Bedouin tents.

The concept
Asset management firm Wasl, which manages the facility, wanted BSBG to modernise the club facility but retain its iconic structure. “This is an iconic building for Dubai,” explained Alistair McMillan, BSBG managing director and Emirates Golf Club member for some 13 years.

“It is a building with lots of character so we were conscious of the fact that we shouldn’t tamper with the shell.” McMillan was able to see the weaknesses from both the perspective of an architect, and as a golfer and long-term club member.

The Details
One of those weaknesses of the original format was the arrival experience, McMillan said. “Previously, when you came into the front door, because of the nature of the design, there was a reception desk and you were almost over the top of it by the time you could orientate yourself,” he explained.

Meanwhile, and overhead mezzanine floor meant that you couldn’t appreciate the clubhouse’s tented structure – its defining feature. BSBG also introduced a double-height, spider-glass exterior wall, which offers uninterrupted views over the golf course.

Another priority was enhancing the flow of movement through the club. “We tried to make sure that the routes were much clearer and flowed through the building much better,” said McMillan.

Routes around the building also had to be reconsidered. In its former guise, the club’s members had to shuffle around the outside of the building in order to get to its sports facilities.

“We extended and developed the sports side of things as a separate entity,” he said. We also came up with a new route around the building.”

The club’s family restaurant has also been upgraded, as part of plans to make Emirates Golf Club more of a destination, particularly in the evenings.

The lower level of the club, which is home to the Pro Shop and additional food outlets, has also been extended, meaning that the output of the club’s hospitality operations has more than doubled.

“We wanted to add some value at the lower levels, which sit within a concrete parapet. We’ve tried to put a lot of glass in there, opened it up, and tried to give it a feeling of space. We tried to create more intimate spaces that people could identify with,” said McMillan.

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