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Tower in Deira, Dubai

Part 1 Project 2010
Talin Hazber
American University of Sharjah, UAE
I took this project as an opportunity to add a unique element to the site that invites a visual and physical curiosity within the local observers. It is a tower intended to make the site’s visitors’ eager to be engaged in the structure and the spaces it provides.

The site by itself is very inviting, welcoming and always crowded with people and their busy life activities; it was important to make sure the tower would not block or restrict individuals from their daily activities. Through this proposal the structure is the essence of the building that gives, contributes, breaths and influences the way the building is built, the spaces it supplies and the experience it presents. The structure consists of a unit system. Units are made of paper folded and stacked to create a rigid, strong structure with interesting patterns and different interior and exterior experiences. The concept is derived from interlocking, which is demonstrated in the way the units are stacked. The size of the openings is related to the degree of privacy needed by the program within each space. One of the most important aspects of the proposal is its form that maximizes the possible views to the adjacent surrounding. The result is an additional level of richness in the design.

The Tower is a sustainable building equipped with water recollection systems that save, generate and transmit energy. The units have a surface size that can store energy generated by water pressure accumulated in underground tubes. Whenever people or cars walk or pass nearby the tower they will create pressure which will affect the underground water tubes that are connected to water turbines that will generate the electricity. In this way, the tower will be lighted and when the pressure is increasing the light will be increased as well. Accordingly, the tower will act as a population activity detector looking at the amount of energy generated and light emitted that increases or deceases depending on the number of people and the amount of their activity.

Talin Hazber

Talin’s proposal responds to the design an infrastructural tower sited in Deira along the Dubai Creek in the United Arab Emirates. Her proposal integrates with the extraordinarily rich site, through strategies crossing with exchange [economy], diversity among nationalities and tourism. Her proposal represents a threshold into the Souq market area and serves as an iconic element of public infrastructure.

The design was to encompass the public and act as a landmark for the area, denoting the disappearing Souq’s existence, and serving as a revitalization of observation within the area. As a stated requirement, the tower must also hold a symbiotic relationship with the environment in the form of exchange [e.g. energy, solar, wind, pollution, etc.] While site analysis, social infrastructural, and environmental requirements were expected in the design, the assignment was also a fundamental exercise in structural and material performance.

Talin began her formal analysis through an extensive set of structural parti models, with a unique push towards material limitations. Her work from the onset included a holistic approach all programmatic concerns, including the environmental exchange. As the site is positioned along the Creek, the incorporation of water infrastructural resources were encouraged. Talin went beyond encouragement, and took on a vision of generating and collecting energy through water pressure.

The structural elements in her tower proposal began with a small obsessive unit, manufactured though an articulated fold. These folds became bonds and multiplied to form an enclosure with programmed openings, observations, and circulation strategies.

As an instructor, my personal fascination with Talin’s work was provoked by her tireless drive towards an understanding of structural and material limitations through various experiments. Her work included multiple scale [including 1:1] investigations of her folded structural unit. Cellulose based materials worked best with her structural tolerances, yet also began to include a composite material approach, with the incorporation of cementitious based layers.

Methods of construction were also designed and in various stages of Talin’s design, included the act of community participation in the construction of the folded paper material units.


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