Credit: SOM


Skidmore Owings & Merrill has been picked to add a new distinctive element to the Dubai skyline—one to which the firm has already given the Rolex Tower, Cayan Tower, and Burj Khalifa. The new design is a 32-story tower that will serve as the headquarters for Mashreq Bank.

"We designed the building to act as a quiet sculptural form within Dubai's skyline," said SOM design director Ross Wimer, FAIA, in a release.

While the building stands shoulder to shoulder with several of the tallest skyscrapers in the UAE, it may have more in common with several buildings elsewhere in the world. The central cavity that gives the building its L-shaped floor plate is a hallmark of the CCTV Tower in Beijing. There's a kinship between the new SOM building and Hong Kong's Hysan Place, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and featured in ARCHITECT's August issue.

No doubt, the horizontal and vertical shading devices that grace the building's façades are classic SOM. The building is another example of the performance envelope design that earned SOM an R+D Award in 2011.