Dubai Gateway by Coop Himmelb(l)au

“Two Iconic Structures Across Dubai Creek”, Dubai, UAE (2008)

coop_himmelblau_dubai_gateway_03All images and information courtesy of Coop Himmelb(l)au – all images © Armin Hess, ISOCHROM. See full post for detailed credits.  Copyright by desMena

Coop Himmelb(l)au have provided us with detailed information on their design for “Two Iconic Structures Across Dubai Creek”, Dubai, UAE (2008). The following text from the architects features “Dubai Gateway”-  the first of the 2 structures.

Dubai Gateway – Event Bridge

Our proposal for Two Iconic Structures across Dubai Creek re-defines the concept of “Bridge” and thereby creates entirely new and unmistakable icons on the skyline. These new paradigmatic designs create never before experienced urban conditions connected to their locations on Dubai Creek. The new and memorable, iconographic structures offer unique functional, spatial and view conditions in landmark architectural forms that ensure the new bridges will become the most well known destinations in Dubai.


Image © Armin Hess, ISOCHROM
Urban design strategy

The new Dubai Gateway is understood as a generator for a future urban development of the waterfront areas Cornish Deira and Al Shandagha at the entrance to Dubai Creek. It is a place for shopping, cultural entertainment and recreation 24 hours a day. The New Dubai Gateway creates tension with the surrounding urban structure, mediating and connecting the urban fabric and flows and establishing a new urban model for this location in Dubai.
The promenade along the waterfront of Cornish Deira defines the Shopping Pier in the east bank. A cultural mixed used shopping and entertainment centre – Event Cone – forms the bridgehead on the west bank of Dubai Creek. Both figures are linked by an Observation Path and merged into one hybrid form.


The new Dubai Gateway is located at the entrance of Dubai Creek and links the two precincts of Cornish Deira and Al Shandagha.


The new Dubai Gateway not only connects and integrates physically and visually with the surroundings, but also creates a lively new cultural hub in a future urban development area. Using the potential of the site our proposal shows a mixed use program for tourists and residents. Indoor activities such as retail, event and art gallery spaces, cafés and restaurants create an attractive mixture used complex. The new Dubai Gateway will be a vibrant place over 24 hours a day.


Access ways on both sides of the bridge are designed to ease and shorten movements. A navigation clearance of 16 m in between the river and the bridge structure is required and the main connection level is established at +18.00. Two alternative routes are designed to connect the zero level with the bridge level. A fast connection is guaranteed by talking the elevators or escalators up. They are positioned directly adjacent to the main entrance. A contemplative but varied pedestrian panoramic ramp offers an unforgettable experience for tourists and visitors.
Respective parking spaces for the new Cultural City Gate are located in the underground parking lots on the west side and outdoor parking areas on zero level are located next to the main entrance plaza on the east side of the river.
Delivery trucks for the shopping and event facilities access the site via a service road which connects to underground loading areas.
Car and taxi drop off points are located next to the main entrances on each side of the bridge.
A ferry station is proposed on the west bank.


Image © Armin Hess, ISOCHROM
Facade design

The façade design is driven by the sustainability concept of generation of energy. The second skins of the façades are shaped by climate conditions and inner functions. These skins include photovoltaic cells to generate electricity and also cells to reduce excessive wind pressure, shade the sun and create multi media displays. They are fixed onto a standard metal construction system. The orientation of the individual panels will be generated and optimized by a computer driven scripting program. The density of these varies according to orientation and tilt angle, thus creating a visually interesting pattern in the building skins. Strategies employing the form of the building to assist natural ventilation together with the use of renewable energy sources (wind and solar power) assure an energy efficient design and reduce energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.

Structural description

The main part of this structure consists of a box girder that spans a distance of approximately 240 m. On one end the bridge is simply supported. In order to reduce vertical deflections the other end is rigidly connected to a truncated cone which has a base diameter of 75 m. At its top at a height of roughly 60m the diameter is 35 m.
The crosssection of the Bridge varies both in height and width. At the abutment that is made up of the truncated cone the height is 40 m. This is to provide sufficient bending stiffness at the fixed end. Along a distance of 80m the sectional height gradually reduces so that a rectangle of 9 m by 9 m results. This part is clamped by the cone building. The crosssection further on increases so that in the middle of the remaining length of 160 m the crossection grows to a rectangle of 20 m by 20 m and then again reduces to a height of 2 m and a width of 6 m at the simply supported abutment.
In the groundplan the axis of the bridge is not straight. At the fixed end it smoothely connects to the hull of the truncate cone. This results in a deviation from the shortest path between the given end supports of up to 25m and thus gives rise to torsional moments along the box girder which are carried by two doubly curved arches that curl around the main bridge girder. These two arches are simply supported in the vicinity of the abutment and connect to the bridge girder by a series of tension elements that are directed in such a way that they counteract the torsional moment in the main structure due to dead weight. In order to reduce weight and give the impression of lightness the supporting arches which are in effect doubly curved shells are furnished with large openings at their apexes and at one support respectively.
The truncated cone and the structure that makes up the other abutment are envisaged to be made of reinforced concrete. In order to reduce the contribution of dead weight to the overall load the bridge girder as well as the two supporting arches will be trussed steel frameworks.

Environmental, energy and building services concepts

Strategies employing the form of the bridges to assist natural ventilation together with the use of renewable energy sources (wind and solar power) assure an energy efficient design and reduce energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.


Excessive wind pressures are reduced via an additional outer metal façade construction, which is a sun blocker as well as a solar screen formed in a pattern optimized to orientation. The density of these varies according to orientation and tilt angle, thus creating a visually interesting pattern in the building skin as well as in the roof surface. Dubai enjoys some of the best climatic conditions in the world for the generation of electricity employing photovoltaic cells.

Wind energy

The bridge design also enables wind energy to be captured and employed via a wind generation plant to generate renewable electrical energy.
Ventilators are integrated in the façade on the top. The total bridge length is used to generate energy.

Alternative Energy Sources

Biomass or possibly gas fueled combined heat and power generators provide the building with both heat and electrical power. This solution has both ecological and economic advantages compared to more conventional alternatives (c. 60% less CO2 emissions), and also provides a major advantage with regard to security of supply. In warm weather the heat is used to drive an absorption chiller that supplies chilled water to cool the building.

Plant rooms

Plant rooms for technical equipment are connected via vertical shafts and risers to the individual floors to provide an efficient technical infrastructure.

PROJECT DATA (01/2009)

Wolf D. Prix / W. Dreibholz & Partner ZT GmbH
PROJECT TEAM Anja Sorger, Vincenzo Possenti
Jenny Chow, Francesco Testa, Elena Valcheva

LOCAL PARTNER Woods Bagot, Dubai, UAE

CLIENT Dubai Municipality, Dubai, UAE

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING B+G Ingenieure, Bollinger und Grohmann GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany


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