Marina Terrace — Dubai /// Architect: NORR /// Completion: 2005
By Yuha Scarselli…
A facilitated neighbourhood, plush living space, and picturesque surroundings. These are on the must-have lists for modern day homes. If the house has an identity of its own, it is only an added advantage. Marina Terrace in Dubai adds up these factors to a great extent. A tower, true to its spirits, Marina Terrace sits tall at 38 floors. It is stationed on the planned district of Dubai Marina, a man-made district turned into a waterfront development, which consists of its own artificial canal, i.e. the Marina. Geographically, it is situated along a 3.5 km stretch of the Persian Gulf shoreline. Taking cue from the many towers of Concord Pacific Place of False Creek in Vancouver, Canada, Dubai Marina is projected to define and form the skyline for Dubai, the Emirates, and in turn the modern day world.
The 38 stories of Marina Terrace contribute towards classifying the skyscraper as a ‘supertall tower’ in Dubai. Most of the towers in Dubai Marina are ‘supertall’, and Marina Terrace was one of the first among them all, with a construction height of 183 metres. Built as a residential tower, the design for Marina Terrace was chosen as a result of a competition won by NORR. NORR is a multinational architecture and engineering company, with its roots is Canada. They iconized a bullet-shaped tower developed by DAMAC – a renowned property development company in the Middle East – that came into being called the Marina Terrace.
Considering the notion behind the realization of Dubai Marina, Marina Terrace perceptibly had to be designed as a tower. The Dubaian context gave the designers an added challenge of ‘pomp’ appeal to the tower. The form of the tower resembles a longitudinally sliced cylinder. This seems largely dictated by the site. The curved surface of the building is oriented facing the Marina, while the ‘sliced’ – linear – surface faces the rear road. The context enabled the architects with the opportunity to provide a waterfront apartment for every user. Space planning ensures that each unit on every floor gets the Marina view. Design of the tower makes for one, two and three-bedroom apartments. All the apartments necessarily comprise of spacious balconies or terraces – a contributing factor to the name of the tower.
Approaching the uppermost levels of the building, the form of the tower encompasses an absolute angular slice, correlating the longitudinal sliced surface. These sliced elements make for the wholeness of the form, making the tower harmonic in character. With regards to space planning, the floor plates in the upper part of the tower, constituting comparatively smaller volumes, house the BMS components of the building that is Building Maintenance System components including chillers and maintenance house. Much of the other service control elements are housed in the lower levels of the building in the podium, including plant rooms, transformer rooms, garbage disposals units etc.
The podium section comprehends five floor levels including the main entrance lobby. The podium also integrates retails spaces and commercial office units along with parking facilities. Externally, the podium is wrapped by curtain walls, specifically for the retail areas. An eminent Entrance Ramp runs round the podium of the building from the street at the back of the building up to the top podium level for access to the Entrance Lobby, into the private residential areas of the tower. A leisure deck at the top level of the podium provides exclusive facilities to the residents of the building. These include swimming pools, children’s play area, residents’ lounge, luxury spa, gymnasium, dedicated area for Barbeque and furthermore for recreation and relaxation. The lush landscaped gardens provide a serene opulent atmosphere.
The system of double-glazing, used throughout the tower surface – curved as well as vertical – ensures that the desired thermal efficiencies are achieved. This also helps achieve a synchronized finish to the form of the tower. The interiors of Marina Terrace are righteously designed from a theme abstracted to its name – Marina. The marine theme is explicitly expressed throughout its interiors.
Adopting a definitive approach to luxury living, NORR helps redefine the concept of Hotel Apartments in Marina Terrace. On the one hand, the luxe and the posh appeal are reminiscent of the occupant in a frill Hotel. And on the other hand, the pampering expressed through conveniences such as round-the-clock security, professional housekeeping, day care centre and valet parking bring the superfluity of a Hotel into the residential tower. The tower is thus essentially ‘terraced’ to make for a luxe life.
Yuha Scarselli is an architect and interior designer from India, living in Dubai