By Sneha Satyan…
Little did the Montreal business scholar Victor Vroom, who developed the worldly ‘Vroom-model’, know that the title of his famous theory would define the way of life for uptown residents of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. More a Model than a City, MotorCity in Dubai is all about Vrooming. Victor Vroom’s theory is named after him, while the ‘Vroom’ in MotorCity can be abstracted to the ‘Vrooming’ of cars – the governing idea behind Motorcity.
On starting at the entrance of MotorCity, one immediately perceives its vastness. Designed as an ‘Automobile themed-development’, MotorCity was established in the year 2004 . Projected to be completed by the year 2009, the development was planned to be a localized one, housing residential as well as business units. The themed concept was brought to the fore by including eloquent functional zones dedicated to Motor-sports, Motor-themed park, and several other Motor related entertainment hubs, in addition to ancillary precincts for Restaurants, Supermarkets, Retail outlets etc… As an impact from the Global Economic Crisis, several parts of the project were put on hold. With the resumption in construction, the development is heading towards a promising completion.
Designed by Amercan firm Burt Hill, which is owned by Edmonton-based Stantec, MotorCity is spread across an enormous area of about 3.5 square kilometres. It is articulated architecturally as a mixed-use development of residential, commercial, retail etc. The scale it possesses is put to prominence by means of interlinking spaces that are characteristically self-reliant, yet functionally independent . This is achieved in-keeping with the foremost aim of addressing the theme well. Circulation patterns and flow of movement are left to the users to determine, which create interesting perceptions. The site of MotorCity houses Residential Villas and apartments in ‘Green Community MotorCity’ and ‘Uptown MotorCity’; Office spaces within ‘Business Park MotorCity’; and Motorsports Centre called ‘Dubai Autodrome’. It was also purported to include a dedicated Formula1 themed park named ‘F1-X’. This however still remains ‘work in progress’.
Like any other large scale development master plan in Dubai, essentially named a ‘City’, MotorCity too forms an integral part of the city of Dubai, designed with the Dubai-an principle of uniqueness. Despite facing a downfall due to the Global Economic Crisis, MotorCity attracts visitors in large numbers, in addition to housing inhabitants. Functional spaces are designed in a way as to attract crowd, such as in the case of Dubai Autodrome. Boasting to be the region’s first ‘designed’ motorsports centre, it houses the Kartdrome, over 5 km long circuit that is facilitated for several Car Championship races. Another significant fragment of the campus is the Control Tower, belonging to Business Park MotorCity. Space planning of the tower is done in a way so as to achieve four quarters on each floor, which could be separated or interconnected. Comprising of 38 floors, it is designed to sustainable efficiency. HVAC principles are applied by the smart design of openings, which are located responsive to the prevailing wind direction. Sustainability in this regard is achieved to an appreciable level, especially considering the hot-desert climate that the region is prone to.
F1-X, a major constituent of MotorCity, is a theme-park that boasts of exclusive entertainment facilities. When completed, it will include roller-coaster rides, an F1 gallery, and a museum, in addition to a demo racetrack fully equipped with 4D racing simulators.
The entire campus of MotorCity is designed in-keeping with the futuristic need for entertainment. Without making the spatial units functionally redundant, the theme of motorsports is applied architecturally. Chief building complexes are designed as curvilinear forms, reminiscent of the wheels of the automobile. Freestanding towers are kept linear in form, and are connected by the integration of streetscape structures. Sustainable design is articulated into space planning as well as building design. This contributes also to larger aspects of resource efficacy by means of saving in energy consumption.
The campus is vast, sure. However, even a first-time visitor would be comfortable within the expanse, thanks to the parts of the campus which are all legibly connected, making MotorCity ‘The Vroom Model’ in a sense.
Sneha Satyan is an architect who graduated in Bangalore, India, with double Masters Degree in Interior Design from Milan, Italy. She lives in Dubai.