Standing on the site of Precinct 3, Palm Jebel Ali, centered about the Spine of this powerful symmetrical & unique urban form, one is immediately aware of the immense scale of this powerful proposition and the opportunities for long water views that will inform an approach to the development of the site. This proposition accepts the strength of the symmetrical solution and develops the Eastern and Western zones accordingly. This scheme generally responds to the prescribed zonal envelopes to locate the various elements of the composition. The scheme is structured to provide clarity in the relationship of the eight towers and the statement of their address to the surrounding street structure, and the transparency of their entry sequences to the various Public / Private internal areas of the site. The site sections illustrate the vertical organisation of the proposition with the eight towers set well above a stepping three level podium over the ground plane with one subterranean basement.
The edges of the Eastern and Western sites establish a low rise G + 2 pedestrian scale to the surrounding streets with the towers set back from their street edge addresses. Car parking is distributed in the Basement, Ground level and Podium level 1, with Podium level 2 and 3 locating the residential community amenities. Public access is restricted to the main retail and food & beverage outlets on Ground and Podium level 1. The overall simple site organisational structure develops distinctive site linkages from the Palm Spine through to landscaped zones towards the beach and related amenities. The diagonal pedestrian routes generate a contained sequence of minor retail souk type experience that activate the routes & provide security through use of the developed narrative.
The master plan concept incorporates ideas about appropriate contextual form and use for zones SP10 & SP44 that may be considered in due course, but does not form part of the official brief for this competition. The various layers of the podium, public and private areas develop a fine grain of access and route options which brings a range of experiences and formal richness to the inhabitation and movement within the site, and connection to public amenity beyond the precinct. The approach to the tower forms considers the objective for expressed ‘thinness’ that can break down the required tower bulk , providing extensive water views to all apartments and establish appropriate urban separation. The proposed tower forms are visually set well above the podium levels to articulate the vertical and horizontal vectors and provide transparency & visual connections from the entries to the varying podium functions above.
The tower cores form the armature, about which the slim apartments are attached, with balcony forms developing vertebrate expressions to corners. The palette of materials are influenced by the objective to develop a ‘resort feel’ to the project and its ambience. The use of natural materials such as, stone, timber, and oxidized metal expression are supported by extensive, planting, pergola shade structures, moving water and reflective pools that with the urban furniture of the public / private areas will result in a rich terrain. The organic pattern expression to the tower cores extends this idea to the vertical substance of the scheme, juxtaposed with the understated expression of light coloured masonry surfaces, tinted & clear glass, and metal screening devices.
The roof planes to the Terracehouse Villas become an important aspect of the overall landscape viewed from the towers and would be treated as urban art through the use of selected stone & pebbles of varying colour and pattern. Overall the proposition will address sustainability and responsible environmental outcomes through the detail development of water retention and reuse, consideration of energy efficiencies, material selections and surface shading, all in pursuit of, and commitment to, a LEED or equivalent rating. This proposal is elegant in its understatement, and rich in its pedestrian experience. A development that does not rely on structural gymnastics’, but commits to a refined expression and an enjoyable livability, that can be realised as a positive contribution to the ideas and objectives of the Palm, Jebel Ali.