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Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

United Arab Emirates Architecture News - Aug 20, 2019 - 06:16   1435 views

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Construction work has started on MVRDV's community-focused mixed-use development in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District, United Arab Emirates

Called Pixel, the 85,000-square-metre mixed-use development will comprise seven compact, mid-rise towers that are pushed to the edges of the site to create a central plaza in between.

The design's permeable and gridded towers are envisioned as "open and perceivable structures" which embrace the outdoors and creates a sense of community. Public space and landscape of the project will be designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). 

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Image © IMKAN

MVRDV's Pixel features 525 apartments, shops, offices, and amenities situated around a lively communal plaza, the design enables a lifestyle based around outdoor living and community spirit – an innovative approach in the Emirates. 

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Pixel is the first project of MVRDV under construction in Makers District, a new development on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island that is billed by developer IMKAN as the new heart of Abu Dhabi, providing a creative counterpart to the city’s cultural hub on the nearby Saadiyat Island. 

Capitalising on the innovative, cosmopolitan spirit of Makers District, Pixel is envisioned as a development which embraces the outdoors and creates a sense of community, deviating from the prevalent typology in the United Arab Emirates of disconnected towers.

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

The outward-facing façades of these towers are simple, enriched with a 3D graphic pattern, but it is the façades facing the central plaza that truly bring the development to life; near the base of each tower, these façades "break down" into formations of balconies and bay windows, perfect for engaging with the lively plaza below and for embracing an outdoor lifestyle during the cooler months of the year. 

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Image © IMKAN

These balconies are further shaded by ceramic screens which, in a nod to Abu Dhabi’s pearl diving heritage, are given a shimmering pearlescent finish. These screens also adorn a number of matching pavilions which MVRDV positioned in the central plaza to provide extra shade.

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Image © IMKAN

"The weather in Abu Dhabi is very pleasant for about eight months of the year, yet most housing there doesn’t really encourage people to spend time outside. With Pixel, we wanted to show that a connection with the outdoors is not only possible in this city, but beneficial," said MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. 

"The values of Makers District – creativity, learning, and sharing – are all at their core about people. So our design creates outdoor spaces with the pedestrian plaza and ‘pixel’ balconies to encourage a sense of community spirit, enabling this social and creative atmosphere."

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Pixel contains 525 apartments of varying sizes, ranging from studios to spacious three-bedroom homes. These apartments are arranged in a way that celebrates diversity, mixing more expensive units and more affordable spaces together instead of the typical model in which the most expensive units are placed on the highest levels. 

This is enabled by the development’s central pedestrian plaza, which with its vibrant atmosphere offers a benefit to living on the lower levels. All the apartments further benefit from fully equipped interiors, with the interior design also led by MVRDV.

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

The pixelated form of the design also makes the towers wider at the lower levels, making them perfect for accommodating the development’s offices – which, with their flexible layouts allowing spaces as small as 50 square metres, are perfect for start-ups – as well as shops, cafés and restaurants, a clinic, and a wide range of amenities including a pool, gym, community spaces, and a children’s playroom. 

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

The central plaza also forms a part of "The Artery", a continuous pedestrian public space through Makers District that connects Pixel to the nearby beach.

Construction of Pixel is now underway, led by CNTC as the main contractor. Completion of the development is expected for the end of 2021. 

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Image © IMKAN

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

The project was designed by MVRDV for Abu Dhabi-based developer IMKAN, known for building communities across the globe with a research-led approach, with Dewan Architects acting as executive local architect of record and Ramboll Middle East and Asia as Engineer and Project Manager. The landscaping of Pixel’s central plaza, along with the rest of The Artery, was designed by Danish Architects BIG.

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Construction work begins on MVRDV's Pixel boosting outdoor living in Abu Dhabi’s New Makers District

Project facts

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Year: 2017+
Client: IMKAN
Size and Programme: 85,000m2 mixed-use building with 525 apartments, retail, offices, makers and community spaces.

Architect: MVRDV
Principal in charge: Jacob van Rijs

Director: Stefan de Koning
Design Team: Edina Peli, Ronald Hoogeveen, Mariya Gyaurova, Akshey Krishna Venkatesh, Kristin Schaefer, Katarzyna Nowak, Kevin Loftus, Luca Vacchini, Mirco Facchinelli, Meng Yang, Katarzyna Plonka and Ole Allin Egebaek
Visualization: Antonio Luca Coco, Paolo Mossa Idra, Costanza Cuccato, Davide Calabro, Pavlos Ventouris, Kirill Emelianov, Tomaso Maria Maschietti, Massimiliano Marzoli and Giovanni ConiStrategy & Development: Willeke Vester

Co-Architects: Dewan Architects + Engineers
Engineering and Project Management: Ramboll Middle EastCost Control: Turner & Townsend
Landscape and public realm design: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Artist: Nicole Martens

All images © MVRDV unless otherwise stated.
Copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries)

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