Following the successful completion of a design competition, the Dubai Studio of LWK + PARTNERS has been appointed as the lead architect of DIFC Living and Innovation Two, DIFC’s first mixed-use development in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), one of Dubai’s most sought-after lifestyle destinations. The development is a response to the ever-evolving nature of workspaces and lifestyle choices and features more than 170 upscale residences embracing the future of living in Dubai’s financial hub. The project broke ground in November 2022 and is expected to be completed by 2025.
DIFC Living and Innovation Two is a vital component of phase three of the region’s largest innovation community – DIFC Innovation Hub – with the residences expected to be highly sought-after. Hong Kong-based LWK + PARTNERS’ Dubai studio was successful in winning the international design competition and took on the challenge of creating a mixed-use, live-work-play destination with independent yet seamlessly connected residential and commercial spaces. The team devised creative and innovative solutions to facilitate multiple access points that prioritise security without hindering the connectivity and flow of the existing DIFC masterplan.
The new architectural landmark aligns with DIFC’s vision to enhance its proposition as a leading lifestyle destination and global financial centre and is set to become one of the most desirable addresses for residents and businesses alike in the heart of Dubai’s business and financial hub.
“We are thrilled to have been entrusted to design the first mixed-use development for DIFC,” said Kerem Cengiz, MENA Managing Director of LWK + PARTNERS. “DIFC Living and Innovation Two will offer residents the very best in luxury living, with an emphasis on sustainable design and high-quality amenities that will set the benchmark for integration across the GCC, an expertise that we are uniquely placed to offer our valued development partners.”
Saleh Al Akrabi, Chief Real Estate Officer at DIFC, said: “DIFC Living and Innovation Two responds to people’s evolving demands for wider choices in how they live and work. The development will provide high-quality amenities and an exceptional urban living experience in a setting primed for success. Seamlessly integrating into Gate Avenue, the new project also builds on what DIFC already has to offer.
“With a strong emphasis on sustainable design, the new development offers 170 contemporary apartments with best-in-class residential amenities, including a stunning infinity pool, a fully equipped gym, play area for kids, a café, residents’ lounges and a variety of upscale retail stores and a signature restaurant. The flagship project comprises 144,155 square feet of offices and co-working spaces and an additional 38,303 square feet has been earmarked for retail use. The state-of-the-art conference centre is expressed architecturally through a distinctive curved extrusion that cantilevers out from the building façade, offering exceptional views of the district.”
The building form, composed of interlocking geometries, carefully responds to the programmatic functions and site’s various characteristics, offering breathtaking city views. Building functions encompass residential, commercial and retail spaces and a conference centre and each corresponds to the unique geometry. The articulated form supports biophilic design offering external terraces, multiple outdoor green spaces and a sky garden making this a vibrant new lifestyle hub.
Kourosh Salehi, MENA Design Director of LWK + PARTNERS, who has been at the forefront of cutting-edge architectural design for more than 25 years, said: “The team is honoured to have been given the opportunity to design DIFC Living and Innovation Two. The main challenge as set out by the project brief was to create a distinctive identity for the building, which is set amongst two imposing neighbours, as well as establishing a pedestrian flow from Al Mustaqbal Street to the Gate Avenue podium.”
The pedestrian connection across the stepped podium introduces a series of cascading gardens and public plazas, which are activated with retail and F&B outlets and an amphitheatre for events and public performances. LWK + PARTNERS together with the DIFC’s design team felt the inclusion of a vibrant public realm that seamlessly threads through the edge of the street to the top of Gate Avenue would encourage the much-needed connectivity.
The twisted cube at the top of the tower, like a lantern, will define the new destination and will become a landmark for the Dubai skyline. Housing a signature restaurant, it will place the new development at the forefront of exclusive dining and leisure experiences.
Technology has been a key research tool that was employed by the design lab unit team and the design was fully developed in a virtual reality environment to test the design components and facilitate efficient and swift approval process to ensure smooth project delivery.
The concept of sustainability is ingrained in the building design with environmental impact measurement in place throughout every phase of construction and post-handover. The team, including H2R Design, BG&E, Zutari, Hyland Edgar Driver Landscape, ZKLD Lighting Studio and Climatize, among others, all designed to LEED standards – the global green building rating system – a design standard that has been championed and consistently used by DIFC across its entire footprint.
The completion of the DIFC Living and Innovation Two occurs at a crucial juncture for sustainable landscape changes in Dubai as the city prepares to host the 28th session of Conference of the Parties (COP28) in November 2023. Sustainability is at the centre of every DIFC development, and the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region is in a unique position to lead the way in setting global design standards for financial centres with its DIFC Living and Innovation Two.
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