UK practice HKR Architects reaches final for International Design Competition
Leading architecture and design practice, HKR Architects were recently credited as the only UK practice to be a finalist in an open International Design Competition for DEWA’s new office headquarters in Dubai.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) competition brief was to prepare a design for a building of International standing to meet the needs of its various departmental stakeholders within an over-arching principle of delivering a net Zero Energy Building.
HKR’s initial response was to challenge DEWA’s own brief on overall size of development and the hierarchical needs of the business to deliver a ‘smarter’ building. HKR’s initial questioning sought to reduce the building volume by 30% by reducing the associated area of work space per person down to a more standard BCO provision, thus reducing significantly both capital cost at the outset and annual running costs – a smaller building is more efficient to build and manage.
The practice also examined inter-departmental connectivity and associated building uses with the aim to ‘compartmentalise’ the building by department and activity to ensure functionality was not compromised during ‘compression’ of the brief. In addition to this proposed spatial reduction to the brief, the design also incorporated the ability to ‘shut down’ large sections of the total building during significant parts of the working week to further reduce overall energy consumption, principally in the form of cooling.
The final submission comprised an impressive atrium office building delivering a genuine sense of arrival and prime connectivity to key departments with inter-linked building elements to accommodate ancillary activities such as public auditoria, conferencing, health and fitness facilities and staff well-being. This commercially astute approach to design also incorporated best practise basics – office spaces which are flexible and sub-divisible to ensure the building has the adaptability to meet the future needs of the owners or any subsequent tenancy.
Kola Ojeyomi, Associate Director at HKR Architects comments, “As lead consultants, the team at HKR produced a fully brief-compliant scheme design to meet the net Zero Energy Building demanded by the client. We are delighted the design was short-listed against some of the most well-known and influential architectural businesses across the globe.”
HKR’s design also focused on introducing high quality public realm, social space and a strong element of genuine place-making to the development, attributes often found lacking in large developments within cities undergoing ‘artificially’ accelerated growth.