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marjancolletti, 2009

Pinnacles: Selected Work


Client (DAMAC) concept design proposal for the Bahria Springs Development, a Residential Towers and Commercial Retail in Islamabad Pakistan, 2009

Programme: plot size 26,060.2 sqm, height 18 floors, far 5.0, total GFA 176,500 sqm, residential GFA 76,883 sqm, retail GFA 50,817 sqm, parking 48,800 sqm

Design: Marjan Colletti; Collaboration: Kasper Ax, Luis Reis, Sara Shafiei, Jason Chan

The point of departure for the project was to reinterpret elements of Pakistani landscape and culture: the pinnacles and canyons of the Karakoram, as well as traditional tensile structures.

The strategic approach towards the commercial and retail areas was to avoid the mall-as-shed typology and to design a shopping district with strong urban spatialities and experiences. Open streets on ground floor split the site into 4 sectors (North, South, East, West), making it penetrable from all sides. Such division into sectors generates an urban streets and passages matrix that facilitates orientation and circulation. The layout of diagonal streets maximise the shopping interface. Counting only the internal facades on ground floor, the shopping window front results more than double. Taking in account the upper floors, this strategy seems very efficient towards maximising the shopping interface.

Retail units on the groundfloor are accessed from the main streets and plazas (such single sided entrance units have maximised window areas), whilst retail units on the first and second floor are accessed from the main circulation loops. Larger showrooms have access from 2 or more streets, with duplex units being accessed on various floors. The second floor is characterised by large skylights and views of the towers, and is hence dedicated to restaurants, entertainment and lounges.

The residential GFA is divided into 4 towers for easy orientation. These residential highrise buildings are pushed to the limits of the site to gain maximum distance between each other. Such positioning protects the apartments' privacy and at the same time facilitates generous panoramic views. Variable exposure to sunlight is granted. The morphologies of the towers are based on similarity yet multitude. Different lofts are constructed based on the outline of each shopping sector and the position of its related tower. Whilst the core of each tower is equal, the balconies change shape on each tower and on each floor. This, combined with different skin-morphologies creates change in shapes based on one structural and material-based solution. The towers are draped with the related shopping sector, generating morphological variety yet at the same time a sense of togetherness and community. This setup generates magnificent internal 3D open void between the towers – the canyons. In general, lower floors are granted more balcony space, whilst upper floor can appreciate a better panoramic view.

The ornamental skin is provided by a laser cut metal veil that is draped around the towers and the podium roof. It filters light, creates privacy and provides the buildings with a very strong identity. The skin would be parametrically optimised for CAD/CAM manufacturing techniques. Also, it is controlled in relationship to the interiors of the apartments and the exposure to sunlight. The skin would be treated with multicolor varnish. It will reflect and refract sunlight and artificial light in various hues and colorations depending on intensity and inclination angle.

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