Combined Entry by Bauer Dermel, AIA + myself.
Leap2 is an elegant icon that adds a functional and contemporary showpiece to the emerging cultural center of Dubai. Approaching the city along its major axes, the proposed structure frames Dubai’s attractive skyline, establishing a prominent entrance to the modern city. The materials, Glass and Titanium, transform through the day in the way it reflects the surrounding environment. The metal and glass skin exhibit a warped form evocative of the valleys and peaks of the surrounding desert. Leap2 represents the future of a country that continues to astonish the world with its bold and creative development.
Leap2 will become a destination in its own right, facilitating activity both within the structure and along the adjacent plaza. Inside Leap2, a visitors center, children’s library, café, observation areas, souvenir shops, and conference rooms provide a continuous stream of activity. A place-maker in the public realm, the structure welcomes visitors to explore inside and see Dubai from a totally new and unique set of panoramic views: looking out across the horizon for miles, straight down to the park and surrounding highways below, or above to the sky. Leap2 is built on two bases, anchor points where the structure meets the ground. Base One holds the two story children’s library, and vertical circulation. Fast moving glass elevators will take visitors to the Upper Plaza observation areas. Base Two sinks below ground to house an underground parking deck for at least 30 cars, and above ground contains conference rooms, souvenir shop, a two-story monumental entry, and circulation to the Upper Plaza. Both bases have soaring views up through the interior of the structure. The Upper Plaza, almost 150 M above ground, will provide space for a café, lecture halls, and tourist promotion. These levels float within the structure, surrounded by energy efficient glass. To connect the two bases and the Upper Plaza, moving ramps provide easy access for all ages throughout the entire structure. Observation platforms along the ramps offer several momentary glimpses of Dubai.
Outside the structure there are endless possibilities to use the park as a new and vibrant space for public activity. The area under the curve is well suited to serve as a concert stage or a gathering place for festivals. Portions of the building surface could be used as a screen for major public shows. The shade from the structure will extend into the adjacent park, creating spots of refuge throughout the day from the strong Dubai sun. Leap2 has been designed with much consideration for its site. Built with only two small (25M x 20M) footprints, every attempt is made to preserve the existing landscape. Most of the landscape will remain completely undisturbed, or if needed, temporarily relocated. The exterior experience of this Icon might be further enhanced through the use of artistic lighting or a water-wall feature. This simple but elegant design provides a dynamic vantage point from which to watch the rapid evolution of the endlessly energetic city of Dubai.