Suites in the Skai is a residential project comprising 267 apartments and 234 serviced apartments in a 60-storey tower. It provides a vertical extension to the residential villa community of Jumeirah Village Circle in Dubai. The sky gardens, living wall and 360-degree panoramic views of the Dubai skyline are the key features that offer a uniquely tranquil indoor and outdoor high-rise lifestyle.

As well as responding to the need for a more ‘rural’ lifestyle in the city, the tower incorporates new features and technologies for better building performance in the harsh climatic environment.

The living wall acts as an air purifier and noise pollution dampener, as well as offering sun protection

The design process started with exploring various alternatives for the plan configuration, the floor rotation and the different components of the core. After selecting the rotation angle as 30 degrees and fixing the plan on a tri-star shape, the architects defined the design parameters of the floor plan, taking fire safety and apartment size into consideration. Both the architectural and structural planning are fixed on a radial gridding system, allowing the floor plans to incorporate the structural columns without distraction.

Sky terraces are carved out of the building’s form, providing shading and developing stack-effect ventilation from the heightened terrace spaces. Most of the indoor spaces are separated from the sky gardens with foldable doors that open up to create a free-flowing internal and external space.

The tower’s uniquely carved form was largely driven by sustainability concerns. By deeply cutting the building mass, shaded gardens were formed in the negative space. In addition to providing more shade, the form dictates the air flow through the building and maximises the potential for natural ventilation. Studies showed how the sky gardens and living wall would reduce the building’s cooling load. The living wall acts as an air purifier and noise pollution dampener, as well as offering sun protection.

Sky gardens

The sky gardens are a key feature of the project, helping to combat the isolation that can arise from high-rise living by providing an outdoor social area.

A multidisciplinary collaborative design approach enabled the team to define the project’s challenges in the early stages and overcome them holistically. Rotating and floating the sky gardens was a conceptual idea that has been patented and registered as a trade mark in 186 counties for Skai Holdings.