Dubai is experiencing an explosive growth and has been transformed into an immense tourist attraction, receiving an average of 6.3 million tourists per year. The coast is the major selling attraction of the city and therefore the strategy has been the exponential multiplication of the waterfront, reshaping and creating new urban coastlines involving substantial land reclamation and also diverting water channels inland. This topographic change has generated a segregated growth of the city and caused a major impact on the environment. The proposal consists of an alternative topographic configuration and strategy of growth for the coastline of Dubai. The aim of the project is to define the spatial configuration of the coastline in relation to the ecological demands and its articulation with an urban development that responds to the urban dynamic.
This will inform the relationship between the coastline and an integrated urban fabric. To test this proposal the case of the Palm Deira will be used, which is the third and biggest of the three Palm islands along the coastline of Dubai.
Pneumatic stabilised platform technology
In terms of construction technique of the islands, a hybrid system of land reclamation and floating structures was developed. The existing reclaimed land will be expanded with a pneumatic stabilised platform that allows additional coastline and developable land to be added while allowing the marine life and the local currents to maintain their natural status. The pneumatic stabilised platform is composed of a number of cylindrical-shaped components packed together in a rectangular pattern to form a module. Each cylinder is sealed at the top, open to the ocean at its base, and contains air at a pressure slightly above atmospheric pressure. This system utilises indirect displacement of water for its flotation, in which the platform rests on trapped air that displaces the water. The primary buoyancy force is provided by air pressure acting on the underside of the deck. The assembly process produces a series of enclosed interstitial regions between cylinders, which may be filled with air, foam or other material. These regions are isolated from the air pockets within the cylinders to provide additional buoyancy and righting moment. In comparison to conventional floating platforms, the pneumatic platform allows the distribution of the flotation force to be modified as needed to minimise the hogging moment or in response to large concentrated loads on the deck.