The Contemporary Area of Al Seef

THE PROJECT:  Stretching 1.8 km along the creek, Al Seef  is located in the historic heart of Dubai adjacent to the Al Fahidi Cultural Historical Neighborhood.

The contemporary area of Al Seef, designed by the nominated design architect, spans around 670m of the creek, covering GFA 85,000m2.

The site has been developed in 2 phases:  Phase 1 accommodates the retail, F+B, and marina spaces while Phase 4 accommodates hospitality and F+B spaces along with the car parking structures for both phases.

CLIENT’S VISION: Dubai-based holding company, Meraas, is committed to playing a vital role in developing key Dubai touristic projects in line with Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020. Al Seef is set to enrich Dubai’s vibrant tourism industry by complementing and also rejuvenating the bustling trading locale along Dubai Creek as a hospitality, leisure and retail destination that will appeal to residents and tourists alike.

Whilst, the Heritage District of Al Seef embraces the past through experiences that are deeply rooted in Emirati culture, the Contemporary District designed by the nominated architect is conceptualized to shape the new memories of Dubai and revitalize the tourism experience around Dubai Creek, one of the UAE’s most popular destinations.

THE DESIGN : Phase 1 accommodates standalone retail and F&B pavilions looking out toward Dubai Creek and the new marina. The pavilions enhance the destination lifestyle experience incorporating building elevations that are allowed to fully open out, blurring the distinction between internal and external spaces.  External dining terraces are incorporated into the design solutions, extending outward the internal tenant spaces, providing the canvas for exciting, active and bustling retail and hospitality concepts. Private roof top terraces affording exclusive dining experiences with raised views over the waterfront and creek side promenade.

Phase 4 accommodates a 150-key Zabeel House Mini and a 200-room Zabeel House both by Jumeirah.  Public amenities and pool decks are elevated to the roof top as exclusive destination facilities benefiting from elevated viewpoints across the waterfront and back over the whole development

Extending from the hotels, intricate structures create separate F&B water pavilions that spill out and into the creek, stepping across a terraced, cascading landscape for a distinctive take on waterfront dining opportunities.

The retail and F&B element within this area of the development draw inspiration from the traditional arcade and souk typology in a contemporary adaptation. The meandering pathways between small stacked pavilion structures create an intimate scale and alternative shaded environment to add to the variety and richness of the visitor experience.

SUCCESS OF THE DESIGN: The design solution brings together multiple different elements of different scale and function into a cohesive district through a common design vocabulary and palette of materials.

The hospitality functions have been broken into clusters of smaller architectural massing, the variated plan geometry referencing the Al Fahidi Cultural Historical Neighborhood setting. The breaking down of the physical mass allows the scheme to visually step down to the smaller scale retail F&B pavilions. The individual pavilions are of varying sizes, creating comfortable human scale experiences while offering differentiated tenant solutions.

The individual design personalities of each retail and F&B pavilion incorporates crafted and layered façade solutions, resulting in a rich variety framing the visitor experience. Beneficially each pavilion has a distinctive identity, however a common palette of materials and consistent approach to the precision of detailing ties together the separate elements to form a coherent solution across the whole district.

The separate pavilion buildings are sited and orientated to maximize the physical and visual connections to the waterfront and to help define the external spaces and interconnections between lifestyle concepts.

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