In Dubai, United Arab Emerates, a new office building by renowned architectural design firm, Reiser + Umemoto, is under construction. Jesse Reiser, architect and associate professor at Princeton University's School of Architecture, presented the O-14 project at Solid States.
The 22-story, 300,000-square-foot commercial building breaks the mold of Dubai's typical office towers. Its load-bearing concrete shell has the look of a lace veil, created by 1300 holes of varying sizes. Although they appear artistic, each opening is strategically designed to meet structural requirements and sun exposure needs, and provide the best views.
To create this effect, concrete is poured over a meshwork of rebar surrounding circular polystyrene void forms, sided with modular steel slip forms. The shell will sit 1 meter from O-14's main glass enclosure. It will be connected to floor slabs by tongues to relieve the building's core from lateral forces and allow column-free spaces inside.
In addition to a stunning visual effect, the exoskeleton provides critical shade and ventilation in the desert climate. The space between the shell and main enclosure allows hot air to rise in a chimney effect, cooling the glass windows. This passive solar technique can reduce the building's energy consumption by up to 30%.
The first eight floors of O-14 have been finished, and it is scheduled to be completed in spring 2009.
At Solid States: Changing Time for Concrete, Reiser and Ferrier were among many architects who showcased projects and concepts that push the limits of concrete. Designers and engineers agreed it was their job to explore the material's boundaries. They also urged concrete producers to respond with new technologies.
The conference was hosted by Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and sponsored by Lafarge. It was part of the Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials series, which explores the boundaries between materials science, engineering, and design.
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