The facility includes a Chelation Clinic, Integrated Dental Domes, a Healing Clinic and individual Bungalows for patient’s private residence. Overlooking Al Ain Lake and the oasis surroundings the tower rests to the ground on pilotis which minimizes impacts on coast line. Likewise, offshore bungalows frees the littoral from construction.
Planted with a wide variety of reeds and papyrus, the shore attracts all types of aquatic birds, fish, frogs, reptiles and many others insects’ species. This alternative medicine center combines wild life discovery, nature conservancy and outdoors activities as part of patients’ healing process.
Until Sheikh Zayed's death in 2004, Al-Ain's municipal code forbade over four storeys constructions (except for the Hilton and Rotana hotels). In 2006 the goal for the municipality was to create a flagship image embodying progress (science (medicine), high-technology) at the service of nature preservation and/or recovery.
An external textile veil shelters the entire tower like a loose cap. This shielding layer generates a buffer air zone protecting the building facade from the outside heat. This zone inflated by constant air flows circulation allows natural cooling control and additional shading protection. The parachute veil is layered over a super-pressure balloon which crowns the tower. The size of the balloon changes according to needs, allowing the buffer air zone to increase in size or retract (the expanded air zone between the veil and the façade grows when more air is insufflated into the super pressure balloon). Air coming from underground cool thermal mass allows to refresh the air contained by the veil, to temperate the building temperature which reduces air conditioning consumption and maximizes patient comfort. At night the veil may be lifted up and the balloon deflated.
The early version of the project where using the concept of a spinnaker functioning as a headsail protecting the building from direct sunlight and rotating around the building with the sun trajectory. Ascending hot air keeping the spinnaker up in the air (see early renderings). For practical reasons a parachute covering an insufflated balloon was easier to control under wind storm and to manage since it has a constant position throughout the day.
Philippe Barriere Collective website: www.marrackeh.philippebarrierecollective.com
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