MVRDV designs mixed-use ‘Pixel’ development for Abu Dhabi’s Makers District

Rotterdam-based architecture studio MVRDV has unveiled its design for a new mixed-use development in Abu Dhabi, Pixel, complete with residential, working, and retail components.

The 76,000m2 development is set to become the firm’s first project in the UAE, and is located in the 18-hectare masterplan called the Makers District, designed by Danish architects BIG. The masterplan is developed by IMKAN Properties on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island, and is located opposite to Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District.

Pixel consists of seven mid-rise towers which will be home to retail, office, co-working and community spaces on the ground and lower levels, while a mix of 480 residential units are set on the upper floors.

“As part of the waterfront development Makers District, Pixel will offer contemporary living in a dynamic setting for future residents, as well as both local and international creatives”, says Jacob van Rijs, MVRDV co-founder.

“All of the towers façades combine concrete with luminous pearly ceramics on the inside, a nod to the region’s pearl diving heritage; and they will be a vibrant and engaging community for creativity, learning and forward living.’’

The towers appear as a “valley of erupted towers” that create a village-like atmosphere, with spaces and roof decks that expose the central plaza and heart of the Makers District.

“Far from being a traditional residential project, future residents and visitors will have access to amenities and services: retail, co-working, artisanal, community and commercial space surround the central plaza at the ground, first and second floors, with the smallest commercial units at 50m2 specifically targeting young start-ups and entrepreneurs. These lower level functions interlock with apartments on the upper floors,” stated a release by the architects.

The facades of all seven towers include a blend of natural ceramics and concrete to reflect local climatic conditions, taking into consideration local sun and wind conditions, as well as maximising waterfront views.

The heart of the project includes a fully pedestrianised plaza, around which all the seven buildings are arranged. The plaza is accessible from multiple points while maintaining a volumetric direction that steers a larger flow of people from the adjacent beach, as well as the waterfront promenade, marina and public event space “The-Artery”, towards the city.

MVRDV is working with engineering company Ramboll Middle East as lead consultant and local architecture firm Dewan on project management.

The project is scheduled for completion by 2020.

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