Dubai International Financial Centre

 

Dubai - UAE

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Enclosing over 20 million square feet of mixed-use space, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) represents the Gulf’s most integrated development proposal to date. Drawing together residential, hotel, and hospitality elements, it combines them seamlessly with retail, leisure, and cultural amenities to build a self-sufficient community living under one roof. Serving the daily routines of the 60,000 people who will live and work on site, the DIFC is designed to accommodate a further 60,000 visitors predicted to arrive each day. They will be drawn here by an unparalleled service culture and the most elegant suite of public rooms and gardens to be found anywhere in the Emirates.

 

A precious resource in a parched land, water remains the central element of Arabian garden design. Inspired by the legendary palaces of Isfahan, the roof gardens of the Dubai International Financial Centre employ a constant stream of water as their central axis. This single, shallow channel flows a full 800 metres, its rippling waters and reinforced glazed bottom filtering light into the malls below. Threaded along this continuous skylight like charms upon a bracelet are a collection of interpretive Arabian gardens that weave all the office towers together. Open to all, this tapestry of outdoor rooms is the heart and soul of the centre’s civic experience.

 

Centuries of Muslim craftsmen have left a legacy of applied art that is the envy of the Western world. The majority of Islamic patterns may be applied in two dimensions, but the inherent structure of their design holds three-dimensional possibilities. When translated into physical architectural components the layers of intersecting lines become yet more complex, sumptuous, and intricate. The Dubai International Financial Centre exploits this potential to the full, crowning its kilometre of arcades and gardens with nine exquisite domes based on precedents collected from Granada to the Ganges. Together, they form a procession of modern monuments that celebrate the genius of Islamic geometry.

 

An elegant addition to this Gulf nation’s skyline signature, the towers of the Dubai International Finance Centre explore the artistry of the slender aspect ratio in their quest for timeless beauty. Their elongated plans are defined by the Diamond Arcades at their feet whose three floors contain some 80 per cent of the total retail in the scheme. Flanking the grand Western Gate like lofty sentinels, the two tall office towers cast their shadows away from the arcades’ crystal lanterns to preserve the quality of natural light that has been achieved within. The towers themselves are wrapped in a delicate steel lattice, derived from a traditional Arabian pattern with accentuating panels of contrasting coloured glass. With these dynamic forms as their architectural signature, the DIFC will have no need of signage.

 

Client: DUBAI PROPERTIES / DIFX