Za’beel Park Competition

Solar-climatic studies on an alternative proposed for “Tall Emblem Structure” competition of Za’beel Park in Dubai, UAE was performed in Febuary 2009. The studies below illustrate remarkable effects of this structure.

Design Team: Kaveh Najafian, Hessamedin Fana, Sahand Ahmadian Tehrani

Structural Analysis: Babak Joafshan

Solar-Climatic Performance Analysis: Mojtaba Samimi

Collaborators: Babak Afshar, Maziar Tehrani, Mohammad Ekhlasi

The Solar-Climatic Analysis of an Alternative for Tall Emblem Structure in Za’beel Park Competition


The project is an entry to the open competition for a tall emblem structure to “promote the new face of Dubai and serve to ascend tourism and other recreational, scientific and cultural activities as well”. Architects in different parts of competition conditions were asked to design something “iconic” to “provide a meaning and symbolize the significant new face of Dubai and/or refer to its historical development”.
 We took that lead but in our own way:
First, Dubai is a city between two deserts: salty sea and a burning barren landscape have caused an undesirable humid and hot climate. The only way Dubai could grow this large was to technically push back these two dominant deserts. The city is leaning on a vast network of district cooling systems and clusters of desalination units; so we based our design upon this condition in which a city bubbles up on the borderline between two deserts, fights with them and deriving its form from them.
 Second, Dubai is the city of grand desires, city of “-est”s. The world’s largest artificial islands and off-shore settlements on one hand and the longest man-made canals on the other, have evolved the coastline into a dominant urban plan element; Also the urban sections have been swarmed by the tallest skyscrapers founded on the deepest pilings. This constantly refreshing illusion between desert and sea has been decorated with an arsenal of Guinness record breaking projects which seem to be the most convincing testimonials of respect to modern life.
 Third is the hollowness of whatever in Dubai we could think of; except that some people luckily – or unluckily – were born on the hot and humid rooftop of a huge oil tank and now have decided to develop it as their ancestral homeland, nothing else could justify the grotesquery of cultural and environmental harms being imposed. Of course if someday Eskimos try to develop their own homeland too, which has supposedly the richest oil and gas fields in the world, it is their right to do so, but that’s all. They should not expect everyone to “provide a meaning” for that, nor to “refer to its historical development”.
 The proposal is conceived as 80 fin walls standing at the height of 170 meters, erected around the site. Each fin, with two different faces of yellow and blue, connects from inside, a non-uniform curve on a free-form central void to an upright curve on the exterior, originating from the extrusion of the site perimeter.
 The whole exterior image of the structure is but an illusion caused by a parallax of the internal and the external edges of the collection of fins. The structure constantly reflects altering and ambiguous manifestations of what’s within to the city and tempts the spectator by its lure, asking to be inspected from within. Passing through the fins, the main source of ambiguity of the structure is revealed to the visitor: A monstrous 1.2 million cubic meter void space surrounded by now meaningless yellow and blue bodies. In the total absence of the dynamic shape-shifting form between the yellow and the blue seen from afar, what remains is an amorphous, static and out of scale emptiness and that is when Dubai, the tall emblem structure becomes the same as Dubai the city.