Thursday, December 16, 2010

HYDROPOLIS

1. INTRODUCTION

Construction of the Hydropolis Underwater Hotel is expected to  start within the next months.

The Hydropolis Underwater Hotel and Resort is a proposed hotel, designed by Joachim Hauser and Prof. Roland Dieterle which would be the world's first underwater luxury resort. It's situated 66 feet below the surface of the Persian Gulf, just off Jumeira Beach in Dubai. Reinforced by concrete and steel, its Plexiglas walls and bubble-shaped dome ceilings will enable guests to see fish and other sea creatures. It is basically divided into three sections: the land station, where guests will be welcomed; the connecting tunnel, which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel; and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex. It will cover an area of 260 hectares, about the size of London's Hyde Park, and will cost an estimated 550 M USD.The hotel was scheduled to open in late 2006; however, due to the engineering and environmental difficulties of constructing an underwater hotel, the project was delayed. Architects working on Hydropolis have had some difficulty selecting a suitable position for the complex, as concerns have been repeatedly raised about the displacement effect of building a 260-hectare underwater structure. Tides and sea levels off the coast of Dubai could be severely affected, rendering vast tracts of coast uninhabitable due to chaotic tides, flooding, unpredictable wave patterns and a high possibility of whale and other sea-mammals.

2. Hydropolis Proposed Concept

Hydropolis is structured in three elements: the land station, the connecting tunnel, and the submarine complex. The land station is the reception and welcome centre for the hotel's guests. The connecting tunnel is the lifeline of the complex and not only provides access for guests, but also enables provisioning of the hotel with all the necessary goods. And finally, the submarine complex is the hotel itself with its wide range of unique additional facilities.

2.1 Biogenetic Architecture

As all life has evolved in water, mankind is elementarily and inseparably connected with water.The concept of Hydropolis offers the unique opportunity of reproducing the human organism in an architectural design.

There is a direct analogy between the physiology of man and the planned architecture.The “Lemniscate” – the figure eight lying on its side – is the key symbol for worldly wisdom. The spaces thus created can be regarded as the spatial correlation to the essential systems of the human organism: The nervous system, the motoric functions, and the cardiovascular system.Offset and brought forward from the centre is the “sinus knot”, the pulse generator for all life.

2.2 The Land Station

The land station is the stage for the arrival and descent into the underwater world, and, respectively, the return to land.A characteristic feature is a woven, dynamically narrowing and expanding semicircular cylinder over a length of about 120 m which arches over a multi-storeyed building and an ample shadowed area.Visitors and guests will be welcomed and received through a large gate-like opening in the form of a semicircle with a diameter of over 35 m. A bridge over the desert sand leads to the “island”, which offers facilities for the most diverse of functions. As guests of Hydropolis enter the welcome lounge they catch a first glimpse of the silhouette of the underwater construction;on the lowest level of the multi-storied building they then access the cabin of the noiseless transport system. Guests requiring special privacy and security can access the embarkation facility by means of a spacious ramp.Also situated on the lower levels of this site are the staff rooms, goods storage and loading, important technical centres securing the maintenance and logistics of the underwater hotel, as well as parking areas for guests, visitors, and staff.A special highlight for visitors at this location is a restaurant and a high-tech cinema in which the history of underwater architecture as well as the evolution of life in the ocean will be shown. A viewing platform at the front opening of the spanning roof structure allows stunning views by day and night of the architecture and the light shows of Hydropolis.

The upper stories provide space for other important facilities such as a cosmetic surgical clinic and a marine biological research laboratory. This is also the location of the business centre with conference facilities – its situation here avoids potential hustle and bustle which might disrupt the calm and relaxing atmosphere preferred by the hotel guests. This is also the location of the hotel’s management and administration offices.

2.3 EDUTAINMENT

Hydropolis will a landmark in Dubai‘s skyline. But it is not the physical property that creates the attraction, it is the concept of water. Visitors and especially non-divers will be able to catch a glimpse of the submarine life and will be informed about man‘s last frontier. People will also be able to learn about the history of Hydropolis, ist development and construction The Cinema is oriented towards the beach and has an openable screen allowing a real life „finale grande“ of a show by opening the screen and creating a picture frame with Hydropolis in its centre.

2.4 TUNNEL CONNECTION AND CONNECTING SYSTEM

All transports – guests, visitors, staff and goods will be facilitated by a single, highly efficient and safe train system. There will be a station in the landside building and a station in the underwater hotel – connected by a double track tunnel. There will be different types of cars for different kinds of persons to be transported.Hotel guests and visitors will be transferred by a separate type of car, specially fitted with a high-spec interior. Staff and goods will be transferred with a second type of car, which allows to load palettes, which will be pre-packed in the logistics center on land to minimize waiting time and storage space in the hotel. A just-in-time and on-demand logistical system will facilitate efficient supply and disposal of the hotel.The system is envisaged to be a fully automated cable propelled transportation system. The system consists of the following main components. A modular, self-supporting steel guideway designed for tunneled application. Vehicles (operated and monitored from a central control room and run on rubber tyres for a smooth and quiet ride). A fail-safe electro-mechanical system. Automatic platform doors. Propulsion and traction for the train is provided by the cable, instead of relying on friction between tires and guide way. A secure and detachable grip assembly forms the mechanical connection between the train and the cable which is accelerated, decelerated and stopped by a stationary machine drive system. This means that there is no motor, drivetrain or other oil-dependant devices on the train, creating a top level of security. The design of the station will allow the separation of different people flows. The system will have a flexible capacity, with a max. capacity of up to 1000 persons/hour/direction.

2.5 Security

Security plays a central role both for the concept and the operation of the entire facility.This primarily concerns the subjective feeling of security – and this depends mainly on whether the guests expose themselves to the thrill of this experience, and whether the dream of living and experiencing under water overrides potential inhibitions. Experiencing daylight in the public areas plays just as important a role as the language of design with its subjective and “reliable”constructions. Both major and minor dome and arch constructions (e.g. arched windows) support this requirement.

Apart from the subjective security requirement, which must be taken very seriously, it is in fact thetechnical and verifiable security which minimises risk and guarantees security. This includes double-layered construction as appropriate as well as redundant technical systems (pumps,power supply, etc.), an excellent system of easy to understand emergency exits in the event of evacuation for safety reasons, highly effective control and fire-fighting systems in case of fire and smoke to minimise danger and damage.

A further security aspect makes Hydropolis to a unique location worldwide: Both with respect to discretion as well as optimally controllable accessibility, Hydropolis will be a desirable location for people requiring protection. The multilevel security system includes:

1. Protection from aerial threats by aircraft or missiles.

2. Protection from threats from the water surface or from under water.

3. Protection from unauthorised access.

4. Control and monitoring of access of personnel, hotel guests, day visitors, banquette guests,

membership guests, suppliers, maintenance and service personnel, etc.

5. Monitoring and control of parking facilities.

6. Monitoring and control of the premises.

2.6 Prominent Silhouette in the Dubai Skyline

The roof constructions are organically formed from the organising power line system and the areas below, especially the hall, the ballroom, and the spa.The form-giving construction is supplemented with constructions to provide shade for the exterior spaces – shadow is a valuable commodity.

An important motto gives occasion for further significant design elements: Hydropolis will be the first and only location in Dubai, where staying out in the open even at the summer temperature levels will be a delight;This will be brought about by artificial clouds of fog, by setting air in motion over the surface of the water in connection with the mild shade of bloating sails and artificial clouds of pneumatic constructions.

These constructions make Hydropolis a dynamic and alternating landmark, and will be enhanced at night by projections and luminous effects:

2.7 Geometric System between Symmetry and Complex Dynamic

The basic geometric element is an eight inscribed in a circle. This is supplemented by various asymmetric pathways from the basin and the hall which also serve to connect the storeys in a ramp-like manner.The ballroom (nerve centre) is integrated into this endless loop of circulation.Positioned next to the asymmetric pathways are spaces in the basin which contain special functions such as restaurants,bars, meeting rooms and theme suites.Special attributes of these areas is the three-dimensional moulded shaping with interesting upward, downward, and sideward views.These elements also act as an identity-giving visual focus into the basins which compliment the surrounding suites.The underwater structure is not merely a vertical structure; the subtle inclination of the primal vertical section relate to a spherical centre still to be defined. This design also defines the horizontal offset of the two facing room levels as well as the slant of the fa├žade of the hall.

2.8 Earth, Water, Sky, Cosmos, City

References to famous buildings from various eras can enrich the calendrical and cosmic impressions: specific staging of predefined solar and lunar positions, incorporation of the stars at night. The ballroom will have a spectacular retracting roof which, climate permitting, will enable the staging of “open sky” events. Smaller rooms can be spectacularly located above the surface of the water thus providing a unique feeling of height and overview.A sunken city, sunken garden landscapes, a view of the facing structures, dominated by the fact that visibility under water does not extend more 15 m and that beyond a depth of 15 m darkness sets in.

2.9 Spa

The spa area imparts the breathtaking and ample atmosphere of a Roman thermae. The spa area will provide new wellness methods and facilities especially developed for Hydropolis – these therefore will be unique worldwide. The health areas will be supplemented and enhanced by methods of hydro-therapy, i.e. healing with and through water. High quality compounds made based on special ocean pharmacy will be used in the beauty areas. The individual beauty and health areas are arranged as galleries which project far out of the domed area out over the surface of the water.The liquid-sound-pool is situated in the centre, from which guests can enjoy not only the panorama view, but also the projections onto the calotte-shaped overhead structure. The pool is surrounded by sculptured objects of crystal glass which create spectacular visual impressions.

The interior of the spa area has ramp-like gangways which connect to the overhead outdoor area including beach locations. Sail constructions provide shade on the beach which is also cooled by clouds of fog; these are also a visible landmark from a distance and will be illuminated by colourful projections at night.

2.10 Ballroom

The ballroom is situated in the most public area of the hotel. This will allow the realisation of events in which visitors who are not also hotel guests can participate. Aside from the spa, this large domed room is the only one which in addition to its reference to water also strives towards the sky. On beautiful nights, a large petal-like skylight can be opened (even at high exterior temperatures th cool air will remain within the volume). Thus, sound and light from outside can be experienced.

A further unique characteristic of the ballroom is the panorama window to the underwater stage which allows for special performances and also constantly visualises the underwater experience. In addition, this area has a further large “eye” to the central hall which can be opened for suitable events. Amply dimensioned staircases, elevators, and ramps, provide access to the ballroom which make entering and leaving the ballroom a theatrical experience in itself.

The ballroom is ideally suited for banquettes, theatre performances, or large congresses. Amply dimensioned flanking catering areas ensure that even the highest catering requirements can be fulfilled. An elaborate acoustic system provides ideal conditions for any variety of events. This also applies to the lighting. Smaller scale lounge-like area are allocated to the ballroom; various bar areas in the hall, above the domed construction, and on the beach can be accessed from there.

2.11 Hall

The hall is the backbone of the entire facility – the central area of encounters, of orientation, and of circulation. It represents the visible and feasible connection between the sky, the water, and the earth. Day and night moods can be experienced here.This space is characterised by its impressive height, the mild penetration of light through the membrane of the roof, and the powerful dynamic of the skeletal stone structures straining against the water – the latter also form the roof structure. Galleries and pathways with bridges and water tubes apparently intersecting at random animate the space. Amply dimensioned staircases, elevators, ramps, and lounges provide access to an apparently floating ballroom. A multi-storey narrow slit the intersection of the “eight” allows the anticipation of the fascinating spa-dome in the background.Water basins and fountains are integrated into the floor area. A two-layered glass construction with kinetic lighting elements facilitates alternating projections of arabesque ornaments and gives this space the impression of an indefinable depth.

At night, alternating motives will be projected onto the roof membrane which can be perceived not only from the inside, but also from quite some distance on the outside. In the direction of the spa, the floor level gradually ascends and thus effects a tapering off perspective.

2.12 Restaurants, Bars and Shops

The culinary experience has a direct connotation with the Hydropolis experience. Not only the range of food and beverages corresponds to a great extent to the subject of water and the allembracing concept of mental, physical, and spiritual relaxation, but also the moulding of the architectural hull as well as the interior architecture. Three restaurants, each with 150 seats, provide a harmonic diversity of culinary theme worlds: the Oriental flair of the Lebanese kitchen, the diversity and lightness of maritime delicacies, and ayurvedic life which addresses all senses. The Nautilus bar arouses reminiscences of Jules Vernes’ vision of life in the deep sea, the Havana bar with its exquisite cigars and fragrances of water pipes and heavy leather armchairs is situated close to the water line, the Sky bar permits a view not only into the depth of the Hydropolis organism, but also of the breathtaking skylines of Dubai and Palm Island. Another attraction of Hydropolis are the exclusive shops in the central hall. Most of the items for sale have a direct reference to the subjects of the flora and fauna of the ocean: jewellery, beauty and health products, fashion.

2.13 The Suites

The heart of well-feeling in the underwater world are the suites. Here, for a few days, guests can literally experience diving into another world, the life elexir of water, an element with which we are both familiar with but also strangers to. Far away from the world of the right angle, dominated by an atmosphere of absolute lightness of colours and materials, light and transparent fabrics, leather, fine woods, discreet illumination with biodynamic light which adjusts itself to the moods and the time of day.

The interior architecture stages the view into sunken garden landscapes and a sunken city – both by day and night the contours and the lights of facing dynamic building structures can only just be diffusely made out. Light objects, and their slow, wavy movement impressions have both a fascinating and soothing effect. For people still needing to feel comfortable with living under water, there are suites adjoining the hall with windows opening onto the familiar world of a “street”, with daylight and the generous proportions of a multi-storied complex. Individual and external “ocean-villas” in the upper area of the exterior ring have been implemented as pressure-resistant “bubbles”; theme-suites in the elliptical island provide a number of varying spatial experiences.

3. Construction

Floating caissons towed to the site enable the construction of the facility in dry surroundings.

The cavities in the caissons provide the required space for piping and tubing, decentralised air conditioning systems,storage and preparation rooms, restaurants and staff rooms.

As the building gradually increases in height and weight during the construction process, it will be gradually lowered until it reaches its final position and will then be firmly anchored.

For reasons of weight the construction within and above the caissons will consist predominantly of concrete – the visible areas will consist of high-quality fairfaced concrete and will be moulded dynamically and naturally along its power flows.

This type of construction will be especially prevalent in the grid-like skeletal structure of the dome above the hall which will be spanned by an extremely thin translucent membrane.

4. Multimedia atmospheres in the interior

Motifs from traditional Arab architecture, ornamental decoration and landscaping are interpreted using modern means, with maritime themes rounding out the overall arrangement. The different atmospheres alter during the course of day and night, such that the building seems to be a living organism. Varying light patterns, relaxing sounds and pleasant aromas result in an intense experience, liberating guests from their day-to-day structures of perception and evoking multi-layered sensual impressions. The suggestive atmosphere calls for a contemplative attitude, of being immersed in your inner self. The attendant spiritual clarity and enhanced sense of perception have a beneficial effect on the physical and psychological regeneration of the hotel guests as well as on their powers of judgment and self-reflection. The architectural design and multimedia setting in the foyer appeal to all the senses at once, meaning that on arrival hotel guests feel they have been transposed into a completely different world. Along the central axis of the hall runs a walkway of illuminated water fountains controlled interactively by motion sensors. The movement of the water and light follows that of each person walking along the path. During the night, ornamental projections dance on the inside dome of the foyer’s roof. All the hotel rooms have a window offering a magnificent view of the underwater world. The control panel in the room enables guests to change the multimedia setting in front of the window and thus give their environment a personal touch. Moreover, the spatial atmosphere of the suites can be altered via a selection of lighting moods, sound compositions and aromas. The sea stage is a visual eye-catcher even when there are no performances. The floating platform is surrounded by a ring of water fountains that temporarily shroud it. During the day, the sunlight dances in the dense screen of water, and at night the latter serves as a screen onto which images and colored/moving light is projected.

5. CONCLUSION

HYDROPOLIS is the Beginning of a New Era of Hotels. Among the latest of the prestigious real estate projects in Dubai, the most wonderful and the most exciting will be the construction of the $500 million underwater hotel. Evidently, projects like this don't come easy. Construction has been moving in fits and starts and is currently on hold. But HYDROPOLIS will be presenting a new type of structure technology and it becomes very useful for future projects. However an underwater structure that will actively be in use requires a lot of attention to detail, because it deals with people underwater, and also deals with the underwater environment, habitats of underwater creatures, and the rates and patterns of tides and currents. But the reasonability for such construction projects is questionable. So much money is put into the projects, resulting in the service being unattainably expensive.

6. References

1. http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/06/18/10047703.html

2. "Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down" article by Robert F. Worth in The New York Times February 11, 2009

3. "World's largest Hotels". Emporis. 2006-06-01. http://www.emporis.com/en/bu/sk/st/tp/ty/ho/. Retrieved 2006-06-21.

4. http://www.emporis.com/en/bu/sk/st/tp/wo/

5. http://www.dubaimaritimecity.ae/

6. Oqyana - Asia Travel Tips

7. Dubai Road and Transport Authority, UAE

8. The Dubai Mall brochure collects three awards at Summit Creative Awards 2005, AME Info, May 24, 2005, retrieved March 12, 2006.

9. http://www.globalvillage.ae/Home.aspx

10. http://www.jumeirahvillage.com/

11. Website

http://www.crescent-hydropolis.com

No comments:

Post a Comment