New Master Developer Meraas Development commissions Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture to design $15 billion development in Dubai, including several of the world's tallest towers

October 2008

Meraas Development, a new Dubai-based master development firm, has commissioned Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture to design four new projects worth approximately $15 billion. The projects--1 Dubai, 1 Park Avenue, Park Gate and Meraas Tower--are part of the new Jumeira Gardens master plan, now under construction and set to be completed over the next 12 years. Among the world's tallest buildings, the towers promise to redefine the skyline of Dubai, a city that already has the most supertall buildings in the world.

"We're incredibly excited to be collaborating with Meraas Development on these fantastic projects," Adrian Smith said. "Any one of these projects is a dream commission for an architect. We're deeply gratified by the confidence that Meraas has placed in us, and look forward to playing a role in realizing its vision of Dubai as one of the most important and architecturally spectacular cities of the 21st century."

Gordon Gill praised the sustainable principles of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. "We are impressed by His Highness' far-sighted commitment to sustainability and quality architecture as core principles for the built environment of Dubai," Gill said. "His leadership in this area will inspire a new surge of interest in sustainable architecture and building practices throughout the world, and we are thrilled to contribute to and be a part of that."

1 Dubai, set to be one of the tallest and largest buildings in the world, is the centerpiece of the Jumeira Gardens development. A trio of supertall towers of staggered heights (each at least 6oom /2,000 feet), it will be one of the first megastructures in the world. The three towers, connected at their base and by occupied skybridges, are accessible by land and sea and rise up over a central canal. Grand arched entrances allow boats to travel underneath the buildings into an oasis-like space between the three towers, where a virtual "fourth tower of light" lances up through the atrium at night. The oasis will transform into one of the world's most unique event and performance spaces, featuring a floating stage and state-of-the-art sound and light shows. A true vertical city, 1 Dubai includes two world-class (five- and six-star) hotels, office and retail space and some of the world's highest condominiums and luxury facilities, for a total area of 13 million square feet.

1 Park Avenue is a 550 meter/1800 foot, 116-story tower with a trio of podium buildings at its base. The tower's undulating sculptural form celebrates both Dubai's historic relationship to water and the city's pearl trading heritage. The approximately 4 million-square-foot mixed-use complex houses premium offices, condominiums and service apartments, along with the world's highest luxury hotel.

The 4.7 million-square-foot Park Gate complex includes six mid-rise towers linked together by soaring vaulted canopies. The towers, arranged in facing pairs, create a shaded garden space reminiscent of traditional Middle Eastern covered markets and a microclimate unlike any other in Dubai. The six towers are designed to share energy; energy generated from one building can be passed to another--a unique concept that will be implemented for the first time in the development.

The projects are designed to the highest environmental standards and represent a significant step forward in high-performance building design. Each project is carefully oriented to limit solar exposure and allow circulation of gulf breezes. Building-integrated photovoltaics and wind turbines harness the natural energy of the sun and wind, while light shelves, sensor-activated shades and shading fins allow for more transparent curtain walls and an abundance of natural light. Landscaped parks and sky gardens in each of the complexes offset carbon emissions and provide access to natural vegetation.

1 Dubai and 1 Park Avenue also feature systems that have never been utilized on supertall structures, including an air redistribution system that can naturally cool air in a building's lower levels. The projects will save 40-60% more energy than comparably sized buildings, and could come close to "zero energy."

AS+GG is collaborating with engineering firms Environmental Systems Design, Halvorson & Partners, Syska Hennessy and Thornton Tomasetti on the projects.