Heritage Crossing by Coop Himmelb(l)au

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

coop_himmelblau_heritage_crossing_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 “Heritage Crossing”-  the second of the 2 structures.

Heritage Crossing – Hotel 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.

Urban design strategy

While the new Dubai Gateway defines the skyline along the waterfront the new Heritage Crossing becomes a distinctive urban icon in the heart of old Dubai. An urban pattern of souks and residential areas form old Dubai. Therefore the new bridge is not only a pedestrian link in between Old Bur Dubai Souk and Old Deira Souk, but also houses an exquisite small boutique hotel. Two entrance lobbies raised above ground level are located in the heads of the bridge. The pedestrian promenade and hotel are merged into one hybrid form crossing Dubai Creek. The new Heritage Crossing will improve the urban quality of the area for tourists and visitors and will become a new sight-seeing attraction.



The new Heritage Crossing is located in the heart of Old Dubai at the narrowest area of the creek and links Old Bur Dubai Souk and Old Deira Souk.


The new Heritage Crossing connects and integrates physically and visually with Old Bur Dubai Souk and Old Deira Souk. The new Heritage crossing will be a new sight-seeing attraction for tourists and an orientation point in the heart of Old Dubai. It will become one of the hippest places in Old Dubai and therefore we propose to integrate a boutique hotel floating above Dubai Creek. Not only the fantastic views and atmosphere of old Dubai makes the hotel special but also the strong relationship to the river guarantees a unique and unforgettable experience.


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. Old Bur Dubai Souk and Old Deira Souk end in two public plazas partly covered by the new Heritage Crossing. Elevators and escalators on the plazas connect to the main bridge level linking the two souks.
The two hotel lobbies raised above ground level at the two ends of the bridge can be either accessed directly from the public walkway or by individual elevators connecting the public plazas on zero level and the underground parking lot with the lobby level.
Car and taxi drop off points are located next to the main plazas on each side of the bridge.
A ferry station is proposed on the south bank close to the Abra stop and a private marina is provided for water taxis.

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 structural element of Bridge B consists of a tube that spans a distance of 130 m. At one end the bridge girder is rigidly connected to a cylinder with elliptical ground plan and a height of 35 m. This is to reduce vertical deflections. On the other side the bridge rests on a mega-column with a height of 22 m. Beyond this support the bridge cantilevers another 45 m.
The tube cross section significantly changes along the bridge axis: At the fixed support it is a rectangle with a height of 28 m and a width of 8 m. Within a distance of 70 m height the width reduces to 16 m and 2 m respectively. From this point on the upper side of the rectangle further reduces so that a triangular cross sectional shape results. The base of this triangle gradually widens so that at the end of the cantilevering part of the bridge it measures approximately 30 m.
coop_himmelblau_heritage_crossing_01In plan view the bridge axis is initially tangential to the hull of the cylindrical abutment. This results in a deviation of the bridge axis of about 30 m from the straight connection line between the two end-supports and thus causes torsional moments under dead- and live-load.
The large cross sectional area and the fact that the tube has a closed circumference makes it stiff with respect to torsion. Inside the tube up to four levels of horizontal slabs divide it vertically and further enhance the structures torsional stiffness.
The cylinder that forms one of the abutments is envisaged as a reinforced concrete structure. The bridge-girder is intended to be a trussed steel framework whereas the floors inside the tube will be composite floors.

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


SPAN 125 m

COMPETITION 12/2008 (3rd prize)

1 comment to Heritage Crossing by Coop Himmelb(l)au

  • muneer ahmed

    Super exquisite B- spline forms ,if our ancestors are proud of their pyramids, taj mahal etc, then we 21st century people can definitely be proud of this super great breath taking architecture.

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