The architectural office ZJA have won the competition for the design of the new headquarters of the Road & Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai. RTA HQ is being built in an artificial lake at Al Garhoud on Marrakech Road, adjacent to the new Ras Al Khor Bridge and next to the new interchange of Rabat Road and Marrakech Road.
The site is an excellent location for the headquarters of an organisation responsible for traffic. RTA HQ will stand as a watchtower overlooking a landscape of infrastructure embedded by the natural beauty of the Dubai Creek and the green zone of Festival City. The crossing of waterways, highways and subways has been a key-factor in the development of both the architectural concept and the landscaping.
RTA HQ is a glass crystal with Venetian blinds. The angled surfaces of the building derive from the site. The reflection of sunlight changes the appearance of the facades during the day. The façade facing the new Ras al Khor Bridge will be covered with a grid of LED-lights: a ‘billboard’ showing images, animations or information to the flow of traffic crossing the creek.
RTA HQ will be built in an artificial lake. During office hours, different features will make the water swirl and turn, in the evening the surface will become quiet. The light-effects then take over, reflecting the building and the city's traffic. The level of the lake is slightly above that of the surrounding area. Underneath it are a publicly accessible exposition space and a congress facility.
Access to the building is provided in three different ways. The congress facility and exposition space are accessible by descending stairs that run over the full length of the northern part of the plot. Staff and employees enter the building through the car park. Taxi drivers drop off visitors on an eye-catching fly-over crossing the artificial lake, right in front of the elevators in the entrance hall.
Winner: 1e & 2e Prize 2007