After exiting off D94 onto Palm Jumeirah’s main road that carries drivers across the island, a large new luxury resort crowns the view to the left. Designed by P&T Architects and Engineers, the Five Palm Jumeirah is a colossal gateway structure that frames the sea views beyond, as well as presents the hotel’s glass cube that marks the arrival space.
While the hotel consists of floor-to-ceiling windows that maximise views of the environment for end-users, protruding white, angled balconies in a stacked arrangement break the glare of the glass, making the structure appear white.
“Everything started after the client saw the site on Palm Jumeirah with a beach that faces the Marina and the sunset over the Arabian Gulf,” said Stephan Frantzen, group director at P&T. “The client imagined a resort hotel with residences and this was developed into a design by P&T, which was the lead consultant handling the architecture, as well as structure and MEP engineering.”
While the brief originally called for a boutique hotel with serviced apartments, today, it’s a 477-room five-star resort with 221 apartments.
“P&T’s goal was to design a building that was perfect for Dubai’s climate and that would live up to the aspiration of the city,” added Frantzen. “The design had to be inspirational as a hotel destination and a great place to live.”
According to Frantzen, the beachfront and island setting inspired a design that nurtured an island lifestyle, which encouraged the use of natural materials, like wood and stone wherever possible, as well as plants and water features.
The waterfront views are the main source of inspiration for the design of the hotel’s beach-facing side, which led to large windows and wall-to-wall balconies and terraces. Providing a vantage point
for views of the waterway, the balconies and terraces also shade the spaces beneath them.
A special design feature of the project includes the glass cube that welcomes visitors to the resort. Measuring 15m in each direction, the arrival space houses a large wooden art structure before views of the expansive 80m pool just beyond settles into sight.
“The gateway idea came up early as a way to break up what otherwise would be a huge wall and to make a grand arrival to the resort,” said Frantzen.
“The gap also preserved views of the water for people living across the street, and it was developed as the brief changed. The two elements create a spectacular arrival experience enhanced by the shiny metal ceiling above the cube that reflects the pool, beach and the Arabian Gulf.”
The hotel includes a 1000m2 ballroom that sits in the 25m volume spanning above the cube in the gateway building.
“Normally, two metre high beams would be needed to carry the ballroom, but we turned the structure into a steel truss system where we also fitted a business centre with meeting rooms and a lounge bar benefiting from the great views. Thus, we didn’t lose out on the views to the structure,” said Frantzen.
Parking structures were designed with landscaped voids along both sides of the building to allow daylight on both levels, while also tunneling through fresh air. The voids are lit at night to provide drivers with easy orientation.
“Our biggest challenge was our own success in achieving 100 percent efficiency, making the built up area very extensive,” said Frantzen. “The client bought additional area so the more open garden areas shrunk and outdoor passages narrowed, however, with large trees and lush vegetation, the passages received more shade and are more intimate providing a welcomed contrast to the huge open beach.”
Walking across Five Hotel creates various experiences for the end-users. As one approaches the pool and walks toward the beachfront, a series of small openings offer access to different parts of the hotel, such as the spa or hidden smaller pools. Shaded by different palm tree species, the passageways feature landscaped paths that recall island living.
Frantzen added, “The layout was entirely driven by optimising views of the beach and gross floor area. All apartments have views of the water and a few can see private pool gardens.”
This article was originally published on designMENA.com. Image credit: P&T Architects.