THE FONTANA

Dubaï, United Arab Emirates | 2017 | Lodging
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The skin of a building can be architecture

  • Client : Private property developer
  • Design : AREP Dubai 
  • Phase : Concept Design
  • Programme: Housing (160 flats), fitness club, pool, retail outlet, garden, car park + mixed-use real estate programme, restaurant, Programme: Housing (160 flats), fitness club, pool, retail outlet, garden, car park + mixed-use real estate programme, restaurant, outdoor cinema, offices, cultural facilities
  • Total area : 27,780sqm
The Fontana project, a 29 storey tower in downtown Dubai, took as a starting point Fontana's incisions. The facade design - the skin - thus literally becomes the defining architecture of the building as well as the contextual acknowledgment of its siting, defining the user visual and spatial experience.
The facade: defining architecture as well as visual and spatial experience
The project creates a facade enclosure that was both a 2 dimensional surface and a three-dimensional space defining both the exterior appearance and the interior user experience. Cladding a stacked series of volumes with an anodized gold screen, we applied on two faces various vertical cuts, creating a void behind, a depth that reminds of Fontana's canvasses, and providing unique spaces within each floor plate.
Defined on only the East and West facades, the "Fontana Taglis" provide from the interior directional views towards the landmark Burj Khalifa - the tallest tower in the world.

The podium: opening public space up to the city
The Fontana tower also addressed an all too common weak point in most tower construction in Dubai. Unlike towers in all shapes and manners - in blue glass and aluminium - on a large nondescript white podium of parking, our design proposes a new type of podium. A single ramp brings the resident from the street to the roof top, which accommodates an extensive sheltered green space. This greening of the roof provides a much needed transition from the hardscape of car road traffic to an oasis before entering an elevator to a resident's floor.The Fontana tower also addressed an all too common weak point in most tower construction in Dubai. Unlike towers in all shapes and manners - in blue glass and aluminium - on a large nondescript white podium of parking, our design proposes a new type of podium. A single ramp brings the resident from the street to the roof top, which accommodates an extensive sheltered green space. This greening of the roof provides a much needed transition from the hardscape of car road traffic to an oasis before entering an elevator to a resident's floor.
The form of the podium is also unique: taking cues from folded Bedoin tents, the mineral facade is folded to provide a recess and shaded corridor around the ground level retail and food outlets, allowing for public space at the street level rather than a car park.This is a shaded public space offered back to a city that lacks it greatly and defines the identity of the tower.