Architecture, Dubai, Skyscraper, United Arab Emirates, UNStudio, Wasl Tower

UNStudio to build skyscraper for Dubai with world’s tallest ceramic facade

Dutch firm UNStudio is set to design a ‘breathing’ skyscraper in Dubai, which features a 300-metre-tall ceramic façade – the world’s tallest, according to the architects. It was announced earlier this year, that the tower is already set for construction.  

Located on Sheikh Zayed Road, in close proximity to the Burj Khalifa, the Wasl Tower is conceptualised in collaboration with German engineering company, Werner Sobek, with a completion date set for 2020.

The building will be clad in glazed clay tiles that will be interlaced to form a curving shape- and illuminated at night to appear as if it is ‘breathing’.

The mixed-use tower is designed with an aim to provide a sustainable and low tech solution to creating tall towers in a region with a hot, desert climate like Dubai.

The architects achieved this with the use of fin-shaped tiles on the façade that are planned to be angled in order to provide shade for the interiors.

Nigh time illumination will be achieved by lighting up the façade in a rhythm programme, where the lights are placed behind the finned part of the tiles. Developed and engineered by Arup, the lights will be solar powered through photovoltaic panels which will be installed on a car park rooftop.

According to the architects, the twisted shape of the building is inspired by the idea of a form in classical sculpture called the counterpose, or contrapposto.

The hotel arm of the building will be operated by the five-star Mandarin Oriental, housing over 250 rooms, as well as containing offices, private apartments, and public spaces.

The building will feature an open seam which will run from ground to top level, forming a ‘vertical boulebvard’ that features balconies and greenery, with an infinity pool at the top.

The four main lobbies at ground level as well as a spa, skydeck and a rooftop will all be vertically connected by three high-speed lifts.

A subordinate building located on the side of the tower will house the car park as well as a ballroom and a roof top pool, all connecting to the main building via a bridge.

The ground floor lobby will include a ‘walled garden’ to be used during the summer months.

“As the project strongly relates to and interconnects with Dubai’s urban experience, the aim is to make a visit to the Wasl Tower as attractive and contemporary as possible,” said UNStudio founder Ben van Berkel.

“As such, a dedicated concept of health, comfort and well-being throughout was developed for the building.”