LAVA – Laboratory for Visionary Architecture
Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser, Alexander Rieck
Sydney – Stuttgart – Abu Dhabi – Shanghai
NAME OF PROJECT
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Europe, Asia, Middle East
Feasibility study/concept design
GFA 106.550 m2; Height 240m (57-storeys)
Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher presented the design for The
Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower, the first in a series of
seven towers planned worldwide, at Dubai Cityscape in 2008.
Inspired by the geometrical order of a snowflake and the
aerodynamics of a Formula 1 racing car, the tower encapsulates
speed, fluid dynamics, future technology and natural patterns of
organization. Rather than purely mimicking shapes in nature for
their elegance and unpredictability, the architects learned from
nature’s own geometrical orders creating highly efficient structures
and intriguing spaces.
LAVA let the design unfold as a result of the project’s needs:
optimal natural light and air distribution, maximum views, minimal
structure, user comfort and an unrivalled water experience.
The project brings together LAVA’s previous experiences, the
Mercedes-Benz Museum, a brand-owned museum with an
extraordinary spatial concept exploring the latest digital design and
fabrication technologies with the Watercube Beijing, an example of
the highest performance of both the building and the athletes,
creating by a stunning atmosphere developed through the
deliberate morphing of molecular science, architecture and
The organisational principle of a minimal surface allowed the
optimisation the facade/floor area ratio and each apartment in the
59 storey luxury tower has unobstructed ocean views.
The lower levels of the tower, traditionally the most difficult and
least attractive area, were reinterpreted as a series of prestigious
wharf apartments, terraced similar to that of cruise ship decks. By
widening the base, the tower is anchored into its surrounding water
basin similar to the surrounding mangroves and nearby canals. The
top sky villas offer 270-degree views opposite the new cultural
district on Saadyiat Island.
The building features an iconic silhouette and a facade characterised
by vertical slots with private balconies. A series of reflective fins
generates vertical dynamic and gives the building a constantly
changing appearance. The fins track the sun, control the solar
shading and dissolve the rationality of the plan into a continuously
evolving building volume.
The facade’s continuous surface enables curvature with a lot of
repetition and the potential for standardization in the building
process. State-of-the-art engineering and innovative materials will
be used to achieve a fully sustainable performance.
For all the giant leaps in technology in recent years, outdated
modernist high-rise towers continue to dominate our cities. The
branded tower will be their successor redressing the ecological
balance. With intelligent systems and skins, it can react to the
external influences such as air-pressure, temperature, humidity,
solar-radiation and pollution. New materials and technology will be
used to create robust, lightweight structure that adapts to and
harmonizes with its surroundings.
Developed as a prototypical building translating brand values into
an iconic architecture, the series of branded towers will be located
at strategically chosen locations around the world.
The basic development principle will be adjusted to every specific
location generating a mix of local and global values. Collaborations
with renowned furniture manufacturers will contribute to a unique
luxurious environment creating a new type of brand experience.
The unique collaboration with Michael Schumacher gave LAVA new
insights. Technology, precision, speed, elegance are paired with
human intuition and extraordinary performance. Similar to the
Formula 1 operation, construction is a team sport with a lot of
highly skilled experts. In this sense the architects take the driver
seat in the process, taking the project to the physical limits of
The Tower marks a departure from traditional architectural thinking.
Concept: PNYG, Dubai
with Wenzel+Wenzel, Abu Dhabi