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Ajman Municipal Headquarters UAE : Information
Architecture Competition : United Arab Emirates by a-lab
Ajman Municipal Headquarters
Location: Ajman, United Arabic Emirates
The Norwegian architectural practice a-lab, in collaboration with migrant (urban planning), ZINC (interior designers) and 13.3 Landscape architects Multiconsult, won the 1st prize in the international competition for the design project of the new Municipal Headquarters in Ajman, UA, which was awarded to the Norwegian consortium by H.H. Sheikh Rashed bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the Chairman of Ajman Municipality and Planning Department.
The project ambition is to create a public landmark in Ajman and creating an icon of public service.
The brief’s 15000 m2 are divided between a sixteen storey high-rise building housing the municipality administration, and a single storey public building with reception, public service plaza, exhibition, conference hall, and caf facilities grouped around a courtyard, an inner garden with water, trees and palms. A line of open counters, meeting rooms and offices in the back, function as service stations and become the interface between the public and the different departments.
A sail-like curved screen binds the project together, serving to shade both the entrance forecourt area and the sunny side of the building. The space between the screen and the high-rise building is planted to create 'hanging' gardens. The screen itself derives its pattern from traditional Arabic decoration.
Water levels in the ground are high and easy accessible. Interior water canals connected to the exterior ‘moat’ separate different public functions. The facades around the courtyard are 'clad' in screens of flowing water, modulating both the interior and exterior light.
The sail construction
The canopy provides shelter from the sun over the entrance plaza. Sun is filtered through it to dramatize light. It also gives direction to the lobby, curving up and covers the other side of the tower, leaning outwards before curving slightly over the roof, providing semi-covered space for balconies, hanging gardens etc.
The effect transforms through the day, - a sail in the sunrise, a green mesh in daylight, ablaze when illuminated from inside at night, with greenery filtering light through the mesh. The architecture of the office tower is distinguishable from all angles.
The “sail” will be formed as a dia-grid structure, - the individual elements being made of advanced structural membranes with varying properties of translucency, transparency, colour and reflectivity.
These membrane materials are highly durable and have been successfully used by Hightex over several decades in projects worldwide and in all types of climates; this includes several notable projects in the Gulf region. Fluoropolymer membranes have excellent longevity and are very inert, making them particularly resistant to sunlight and other extremes of weather.
With the use of these state of the art materials, individual areas of the sail can be designed to have different properties of light transmission, shading and thermal characteristics in order to give the required optical and thermal environment beneath.
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Ajman Municipal Headquarters - Building Information:
City, country: Ajman, United Arabic Emirates
Designer/architect: a-lab in collaboration with migrant (urban planning), ZINC (interior designers) and 13.3 Landscape architects Multiconsult
Date/expected year of completion: 2009
Status of project (spring 2007): Design development
Photo credit: 3d-model by Placebo Effects, plans and sections by a-lab
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