Media Zone Master Plan
Abu Dhabi, 2008
As opposed to traditional master plans which focus on scale and densities but remain relatively abstract in their implementation, the master plan for twofour54° combines an intricate play between urban design, architecture, and complex programmatic requirements. From the onset, designing a new media zone in Abu Dhabi meant inventing a precise programmatic mechanism that could simultaneously work as a dynamic urban concept and read as inspiring architectural expression.
The project’s programmatic specificity suggested a clear configuration. With triple-height production studios on nearly every block, the most coherent strategy involved a “deck” three stories above the street, and then individual towers giving character and interest to each block.
A common denominator animating the space below the deck at street level is the connector, a horizontal, enclosed pedestrian avenue with retail, performance spaces, restaurants, cafes, and interactive stations. This linear street becomes the interface for media and its public, a rapidly growing audience in the Arab world. Interactive installations broadcast content but also become generators for interest in media, its production, and its cultural impact on Abu Dhabi and the region.
Above the deck, the climate of Abu Dhabi mandated an innovative strategy to reduce energy consumption for such a massive project. The desert sun gives an environmental attitude to the urban design; we chose to turn the orientation of the main towers away from the city grid so that the smallest area of the facades would get direct sunlight. The effect gives a consistency and identity to the complex, which anchors a busy entertainment district on a pier that overlooks the city skyline.
At the urban scale, twofour54° acts as a catalyst for the redefinition of the Mina Zayed waterfront area. At the regional scale, the Abu Dhabi Media Zone provides an unprecedented site for next-generation production and distribution of media in the Arab world. back
Master Plan completed 2009
526,615 sq. meters
Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Kim Starr, Kate Scott, Chris Lee, Joel Rutten, Nefeli Chatzimina, Remy Cointet, W. Y. Frank Chen, John Eastridge, Julien Jacquot, Thanasis Manis, Ciro Miguel, Mitch McEwen, Colin Spoelman, Laurence Sarrazin, Danny Thai, Paula Tomisaki, Micheal Young.
Consultants: Buro Happold, Yves Dessuant.