Built in the heart of an active industrial and infrastructure center in Dubai, UAE, this cost-effectively built housing complex offers hotel staffers a bright and friendly place to call home. The structure is a fully self-sustained living environment with 320 residential units to house employees for a local corporation.
When designing the buildings, the architect was determined not to let cost containment get in the way of creating a beautiful space where people would want to live.
Originally, the design featured cast-in-place concrete columns and cast-in-place post-tensioned slabs with external concrete block walls. The project consisted of two buildings connected at the middle to establish an H-shaped structure. The time and cost of the cast in place design didn't appeal to the owners, though.
The architect redesigned the structure using a precast concrete solution to achieve the desired vision and quality within a tight time frame and budget.
The new design features repetitive precast concrete modular elements that suggest a massive Tetris-like pattern with symmetrical squares stacked in varying repetitions. The all-precast concrete structural design consists of precast concrete load-bearing walls, columns, beams, hollow-core slabs, and cladding.
The insulated sandwich panel cladding delivers continuous insulation with no thermal breaks, which is critical in the hot Dubai climate. The use of precast concrete cladding also reduced maintenance costs compared with painting over masonry or plastering masonry, which are the two most common alternatives for this type of project.
This harmonious design delivers an aesthetic look and feel for residents while achieving the cost-effective qualities of a modular precast concrete solution within the tight schedule, which were crucial for the owners. The total project duration was just 13 months, including the redesign time.