Meet Dubai’s Twisting Residential Supertall: Ocean Heights

Ocean Heights is a supertall residential skyscraper in Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE. The tower stands 310 m (1,017 ft) tall with 83 floors. Currently Ocean Heights is the fifth-tallest residential building in the world, and fourth-tallest residential building in Dubai, behind The Marina Torch, and HHHR Tower.

The tower is designed by Andrew Bromberg of Aedas and developed by DAMAC. When ground works and piling began on site Ocean Heights was to have been a 50-storey building . But when the developer saw taller buildings receiving planning permission in the Marina they began to think taller. DAMAC gave the architect two weeks to produce a 72-floor, 60,000-sq m tower design. Then they said they wanted an 82-floor building rising to 310 metres high, and wanted its design completed in a week because they had already sold apartments off plan.

The building has a dramatic twist which is both a kind of visual metaphor and physical reality. It is as if a giant hand has grasped the top of an originally square-planned tower and rotated it, forcing the column to deform all the way down. One of the client’s major requirements was that the building’s apartments had to be consistent. That was not obviously possible with the building’s feature twist. Bromberg’s way of dealing with this was to establish a system of standard four-meter-wide modules. Their sides stack up all the way down the building, with only the front part of the module changing to produce the exterior twist. This simplified the structural system and reduced the number of construction materials.

The tower’s front elevation that faces the ocean is clad in glass sounds counter-intuitive in this very hot climate. But the glass comes as insulated panels with a lowE coating which provides shading from the sun. Both insulation and coating reduce the need for mechanical cooling and allow natural daylighting. The twist itself allows for fantastic views of the marina from the 50th floor above.

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