By Orlando Crowcroft www.constructionweekonline.com
An iconic office tower has become one of the first completed projects at Dubai’s Business Bay since the financial crisis.
The O14 development took over four years to build and is one of few projects to be formally opened at the site.
It was originally finished in 2010 but a lack of infrastructure meant that offices have been running on generators for more than six months.
Developer H&H said that despite fears of an oversupply in Dubai’s commercial property market, the low quality of many projects enabled O14 to attract clients fairly easily.
Shahab Lutfi, CEO and founder of the firm, said: “In this building our buyers are law firms and trading companies. People who have been in business for 20, 30, 40 years. These companies will never go, they will never leave Dubai.
“They will suffer the ups and downs but they will continue. Even when we marketed this building we actually didn’t do any advertising, we just went through direct networks.”
The building has been labelled ‘the Swiss cheese’ in the months since its completion, due to its bold concrete facade which fulfils both structural and environmental roles.
The facade, which is includes over 1,300 different sized holes, contributes 30% to cooling and also allows floors to be supported without interior pillars, bearing most of the load on the exterior.
“One of the things that makes this building attractive is that it is completely different. You drive through Dubai and you see glass buildings everywhere. This is the only building that doesn’t have glass on the outside,” said Lutfi.