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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.


April 18th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: REX

Image Courtesy © Luxigon

Two sister Middle Eastern media companies sought to create conjoined headquarters buildings. Aside from the companies’programmatic and area requirements for the headquarters, their demands were few: propose two elegant structures that make reference to traditional Arab architecture. The companies also provided a long, slender precedent structure—approximately 100 m (330 ft) long x 22 m (72 ft) wide—for consideration that could simultaneously accommodate offices and the relatively small broadcast / news studios. REX took this slender precedent as its starting point.

  • Architects: REX
  •  Photography:  Luxigon, REX
  • CLIENT: Confidential
  • PROGRAM: Headquarters buildings for sister media companies, including offices, studios, and common facilities (agora, amphitheater, auditorium, café, canteen, employee lounge, executive lounge, fine dining, gallery, health club, majlis, and theater)
  • AREA: 240,200 m² (2,600,000 sf)
  • STATUS: Invited competition, 2013
  • KEY PERSONNEL: Alberto Cumerlato, Tomas Janka, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Roberto Otero, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Aude Soffer, Alex Tehranian, Cristina Webb.
  • CONSULTANTS: Barker Mohandas, Front, Magnuson Klemencic, !melk, str.ucture, Transsolar

Image Courtesy © REX

To efficiently accommodate the two media companies’ program within the precedent footprint, offices are stacked over broadcast and news studios, which in turn are stacked over each company’s common facilities. The large studios which could not fit within the thin towers, and for which permanent blackout is desired, are organized below grade.

On the given site, a typical podium would compress the common facilities into an undifferentiated mass with limited views and daylight. To avoid this condition, the common spaces are amassed into the lower body of the narrow towers, creating an X-ray effect that reveals the unique components, provides them with commanding views, and preserves the design’s desired sobriety.

Image Courtesy © REX

Image Courtesy © REX

Tower 1 common space, Image Courtesy © REX

Lobby, Image Courtesy © Luxigon

Lobby, Image Courtesy © Luxigon

Cafeteria, Image Courtesy © Luxigon

To shield the headquarters from the unrelenting Middle Eastern sun, both sides of each tower incorporate 14.5 m (47.5 ft) diameter, retractable sunshades., Image Courtesy © REX

Movement of 14.5 m (47.5 ft) diameter building sunshades, Image Courtesy © REX

eastern sunshades deployed, western sunshades retracted, Image Courtesy © Luxigon

western sunshades deployed, eastern sunshades retracted
…the entirety of the buildings’ western facades “blossom” as their eastern facades simultaneously retract, within the span of a minute. The headquarters’ instantaneous transformation forges a new kind of powerful iconography, one that rejects the tired—and ephemeral—pursuit of being the tallest.
, Image Courtesy © Luxigon

From afar, the towers form a jumbo television screen, broadcasting the companies’ content to their environs in real-time., Image Courtesy © REX

The simple tower slabs also effectively create a huge sun screen for their adjoining landscapes. The shadow path on the Summer Solstice defines the extents of inhabitable courtyards, which are exposed when in shadow and covered by 6 m (20 ft) square, retractable umbrellas when in sunlight., Image Courtesy © REX

select western courtyard umbrellas retracted in response to building shadows, eastern umbrellas deployed, Image Courtesy © REX

Site plan, Image Courtesy © REX

Image Courtesy © REX

Image Courtesy © REX

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