Atkins has won ‘Project of the Year’ and the ‘Best Public Building’ Awards for the stunning Dubai Opera at the Identity Design Awards 2016. The results were announced at a Gala awards dinner which celebrated and recognised the GCC’s growing design scene.
The Identity Design Awards 2016 took place at La Cantine du Faubourg, Emirates Towers. The Atkins team was represented by Janus Rostock, regional design director and head of architecture and urban planning and Mohammad AbuFarha, principal architect, who were also accompanied by representatives from Mirage Leisure Development, the turn-key developer on the project.
Dubai Opera, which was conceived by Emaar, is a world-class venue in Dubai designed to attract world-class performers. Chief Executive of Dubai Opera, Jasper Hope, said: “Our goal is to be the definitive cultural entertainment destination for the region and Atkins’ stunning design gives us the perfect start on our journey to achieving that.”
Simon Moon, CEO of Atkins in the Middle East and Africa said: “I am very proud of the team’s achievement. These prestigious awards represent a great recognition to the efforts of everyone who has worked on the project. It also demonstrates the unique value that Atkins is bringing to the city by helping to transform it into a cultural hub. This building with its fantastic architectural and engineering design promises to become a major landmark in the city of Dubai and it has already started to grab everyone’s attention.”
Janus Rostock said: “I am delighted and proud that we have won these two awards, which are a testament of the dedication, excellence and innovation we as a team have put on this project. The project is a great example of co-creation and shows what can be achieved with very challenging timelines when clients, consultants, authorities and contractors are working together towards a common goal. The Dubai Opera has already attracted significant international attention due to its design as well as its fantastic program of events and we feel privileged to have been working on such a transformational project which reaches far beyond the Dubai Opera District, Dubai and the Middle East”.
The design of the building is a response to its site, its function, spatial programme and the overarching inspiration of the dhow. The Downtown area of Dubai is a high quality and very well planned and maintained development. Its architectural themes are bound together through a limited colour and material palette, which makes the development feel like a whole. The Opera House is designed within this context and its use of self-shading using optimal roof overhangs, external louvres and mashrabiya reduce cooling needs and make the public realm more comfortable.
The building is like a dhow within a dhow. The lobby is very much an extroverted and public space which is enclosed by a transparent, white glass screen, only broken by the external horizontal wooden louvers that provide protection from the sun. The lobby and public realm is seen as one – a space where the audience becomes the performers for the residents and visitors of the neighbourhood.
They make all levels of the lobby come alive when arriving for the performances and during the interval. The opportunities for alternative lobby activities during the day, combined with the location of the building and the constraints of the site, led to the creation of a 360 degree lobby which is accessible from all 4 sides.
The arrival experience through the plaza is an important part of the “theatre of people” surrounding the Opera House. The processional walk across the plaza is “a see and be seen” opportunity. It is a chance for the audience to become the performers, which animates the public realm and makes the Opera House district a unique experience. The plaza is also a general performance space and has dynamic, choreographed WET TM water features.
The Dubai Opera, a complex state-of-the-art venue, will bring another dimension of culture to the heart of Dubai – combining the cultural heritage of the design of the building with the culture it will bring to its visitors.
These awards are exclusively celebrating excellence in the design realm. With a strong focus on creativity, the awards are a chance to showcase projects that are examples of innovative and outstanding architecture that have successfully responded to the development brief, and have also taken into consideration the full impact and contribution they will make on the communities around them.