The agenda for the third-semester core comprehensive studio was integration. The assignment called for a multi-program urban building consisting of a gymnasium, thermal baths, and a hotel. Situated in Dubai, along the Sheikh Zayed Road, this project sought to produce exterior public space; something quite lacking in the region. By activating and celebrating the ground plane, this project provides a space for cultural, social, and economic interaction amongst hotel guests, gym goers, and bathers across multiple levels that are distributed in sections throughout the building. While I questioned the principles of exclusion synonymous with existing luxury hotels along this road, the building nonetheless needed to satisfy the requirements of a first class hotel in the United Arab Emirates. In this light, my project embraces the Dubai “bling” in an attempt to reconcile the city’s social, cultural, and economic polarities. Situated along the Sheikh Zayeh Road, which runs parallel to the coast, the site strategy for this project questioned the nature of the surrounding buildings, which align themselves to this predominant axis. Instead, the building realigns itself to follow a north-south orientation, establishing a series of parallel structural walls and two circulation towers carved with arched openings. The building is thus grounded in a subtle acknowledgment of Arabic motifs but does not depend on any pattern for the genesis of its form.
About The Designer
Joshua Feldman is in his 4th and final year of the M.Arch 1 program at the Harvard GSD. He is currently working on his thesis prep, which is investigating vacuous architecture in an urban environment. Joshua is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied at the University of Cape Town before transferring to Yale University where he completed his bachelor of arts degree with a major in architecture. He has worked at Robert A.M. Stern Architects, nArchitects, SHoP, and Snohetta in New York City as well as a small landscape architect in Singapore. Joshua is also the head TA for the first-year architecture studio.