In a clear homage to traditional Arab architecture, twin towers with state of the art design will emerge as transformational icons, thanks to a system of retractable umbrellas that block the sun.
By Heike Söns
Apparently, no project is too ambitious for the acclaimed New York firm REX architects. Comprised of 25 brilliant designers and led by Joshua Prince-Ramus, the firm is known for embarking on extremely risky and cutting-edge projects. It is not surprising then that REX should have been recently commissioned to develop one of the most transformational buildings in the Middle East. More trendsetting buildings.
The project consists of two majestic skyscrapers that will hold the offices of two of the region's most important media outlets. At first glance, the REX proposal seems simple and even conventional, with two striking and elegant structures that rise above the horizon. Each of the towers will include recording studios located in the basement, modern common areas on the first floors and general offices in the upper floors.
Clearly, one of the main objectives of the twin towers' design is to honor traditional Arab architecture by incorporating symbolic elements, which will make the buildings stand out in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
The project features a system that will display a host of umbrellas on the facade to block the sun when needed. Once opened, these umbrellas create a 700-foot tall curtain, and the design clearly refers to the decorative window louvers so characteristic of Arabian architecture. The resulting effect makes the buildings come alive with an undeniably original look.
These retractable umbrellas will be placed both in the front and the back of both towers, but only deploy on one side at a time. Thus, at specific times of the day, the building will retract the sunshades on one side to open them on the other, a process that should take no more than 60 seconds.
Not content with creating a chameleon building, REX architects have incorporated millions of LED lights into the umbrellas to form a giant screen.
For now, the name of the architectural firm`s client, the projected cost and potential construction site are confidential. However, we know that for this project REX had to compete with several firms from different countries.
REX architects are responsible for many iconic buildings around the world, including Dee and Charles Wyly Theater in Dallas, Texas; the Central Library of Seattle, Washington, and the Vakko Fashion Center in Istanbul, Turkey.
Internationally acclaimed and recipient of multiple awards, REX studio is currently working on the premises of the Campus Extension and Future Center of Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany, and a new luxury residential tower in Seoul, South Korea, designed to optimize the use of the available resources and the surrounding natural landscapes. ■
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