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Vertical Village

Project type: Urban Planning, Highrise, Hotel


Location: Dubai, UAE


Time: non-disclosed


GRAFT with Brad Pitt

Vertical Village is a residential, hotel and entertainment development that harnesses the most powerful renewable energy source in the desert: the sun. Arranged to reduce solar gain and maximize solar production, the buildings are massed as self-shading slabs at the north end of the site on the east-west axis to reduce low-angle sun penetration. At the southern end of the site, a vast array of solar collectors is optimally angled toward the sun, facing the main public strip as a potent gesture of the developmentā€™s sustainable aspirations, which are confirmed by its LEED Gold rated performance.


The solar roof behaves much like a leaf, with veins that divide the solar field into serviceable units and also transport energy, in this case hot water, back to the building where the energy is used to significantly reduce the need for air conditioning and to provide hot water. Beneath the roof lies an urban-scale entertainment district of cinemas, restaurants, shops and a theatre. The scale and degree of privacy transitions from the main entertainment strip to the south and the residential and hotel towers to the north.


The sculptural inclined sliced wedges of the residential and hotel buildings give each building a unique, identifiable appearance, and together form a distinctive skyline that shifts as one drives by. As one approaches the complex, the spaces between the slabs are revealed, then meld together, disappear and reappear, creating a theatrical effect, a subtle and poetic reference to the entertainment functions within the complex.