O14 Tower; Reiser + Umemoto

Dubai's O14 Tower is a beautiful icon of innovative office tower design, stretching traditional limitations we place on these structures.  The 22-story tall commercial tower comprises over 300,000 square feet of office space for Dubai Business Bay.  It is located along the extension of Dubai Creek, occupying a prominent location on the waterfront esplanade.

Typical office towers today are identified by curtain walls of glass often paired with a grid work of masonry in between.  O14's bold design is sheathed in a forty centimeter-thick concrete shell perforated by over 1,300 openings that create a lace-like effect on the building's facade.  The concrete shell of O14 provides an efficient structural exoskeleton that frees the core from the burden of lateral forces and creates highly efficient, column-free open spaces in the buildings interior.  The future tenants can arrange the flexible floor space according to their individual needs.

The shell of the building is not only the structure, it acts as a sunscreen open to light, air, and views.  The openings on the shell modulate depending on structural requirements, views, sun exposure, and luminosity.  The overall pattern is not in response to a fixed program, rather the pattern in its modulation of solid and void will affect the arrangement of whatever program comes to occupy the floor plates.

A space nearly one meter deep between the shell and the main enclosure creates a "chimney effect", a phenomenon whereby hot air has room to rise and effectively cool the surface of the glass windows behind the perforated shell.  This passive solar technique essentially contributes to a natural component to the cooling system for O14, thus reducing energy consumption and costs.

The holes are achieved by introducing computer numerically cut polystyrene void forms into the rebar matrix, and sided with modular steel slip forms prior to the concrete pour.  Super-liquid concrete is then cast around this fine meshwork of reinforcement and void forms resulting in an elegant perforated exterior shell.

This concept has received international attention in the architecture and construction world, admired by many, expect to see expanded innovation in this form of concrete construction.