Perkins+Will’s award-winning Dubai building ‘stands out by blending in’

Perkins+Will’s new boutique residential development launched in Dubai’s Business Bay by Ellington Properties has already won two awards for its design because it ‘blends in’, said David Lessard, director of hospitality.

Featuring a façade reflecting the desert landscape which allows for plenty of natural sunlight inside, DT1‘s understated luxury marries contemporary design with modern art, using high-quality materials.

“In a city where every building tries to stand out, we took a counter-intuitive approach,” said Lessard. “Our suggestion was we can stand out by blending in. The silhouette of Dubai’s skyline is highly diverse, in terms of building shapes, but what we found is that the material approach of most buildings are quite homogeneous, comprised of mainly pre-cast concrete and composite aluminium panels.”

With its upmarket positioning in the downtown area, the architects felt the design should be refined and they used bronze ceramic cladding, insulated glass and up-lit decorative louvers. And, instead of enclosing the car park and roof terraces, they opened these up with the use of louvers, which allowed them to reveal hints of the interior while maintaining privacy for the residents.

“By day natural light permeates the interior, while in the evenings the artificial light projects outward giving the building varied character between day and night,” said Lessard.

He added, “The brief was to design an upscale luxury residential building with unique amenities. Ultimately amenities included provision for a concierge, art gallery, kids play area and infinity pool. We sought to provide residents with experiences that blur the line between hospitality and residential without technically being considered a serviced residence. Sun-shelf in pool, covered cabanas and private lounging areas on the roof deck are reminiscent of a five star hotel and the art gallery on the ground floor provides a layer of cultural sophistication.”

Each apartment in DT1 has been developed to enhance the lives of its residents through design. Flowing spaces that maximise the utilisation of floor space was a key consideration in Perkins+Will’s approach, allowing maximum flexibility for furnishing. Living areas are located on corners to magnify natural light and the perception of engagement with the city, while the neutral colour palettes of the facade and interiors convey a sense of calm within a busy urban context.

“We wanted to go over and above the compliance of the building with the latest green building regulations, so within the landscape design for DT1 we will promote xeriscaping to limit water consumption and to express the natural flora of the region,” said Lessard. “Passive shading elements such as balconies and canopies also encourage the time one spends outdoors, potentially cutting the requirement for time spent in air conditioned environments.”

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