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21 Aug 2019

MVRDV-designed Pixel looks to introduce community-spirit concept to Abu Dhabi
BY Tom Walker

The development aims to provide residents with a lifestyle based around outdoor living and community spirit

The development aims to provide residents with a lifestyle based around outdoor living and community spirit

Construction work has begun on Pixel, a new residential-led, mixed-use project in Abu Dhabi's new Maker's District.

Designed by MVRDV, the development aims to provide residents with a lifestyle based around outdoor living and community spirit – an innovative approach in the Emirates, as it deviates from the prevalent typology of disconnected towers.

The 85,000sq m (915,000sq ft) development features 525 apartments, shops, offices, and amenities situated around a lively communal plaza.

The central plaza also forms a part of “The Artery”, a continuous pedestrian public space through Makers District that connects Pixel to the nearby beach.

Located on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island, Pixel is billed as the "new heart of Abu Dhabi, providing a creative counterpart to the city’s cultural hub on the nearby Saadiyat Island".

"The weather in Abu Dhabi is very pleasant for about eight months of the year, yet most housing there doesn’t really encourage people to spend time outside," said MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs.

"With Pixel, we wanted to show that a connection with the outdoors is not only possible in this city, but beneficial.

"The values of Makers District – creativity, learning, and sharing – are all at their core about people. So our design creates outdoor spaces with the pedestrian plaza and 'pixel' balconies to encourage a sense of community spirit, enabling this social and creative atmosphere."

The development is based on seven compact mid-rise towers of varying heights for optimised views and shading, which are pushed to the edges of the site to create a central plaza in between.

The outward-facing façades feature a 3D graphic pattern, while the bases of the walls facing the central plaza "break down" into formations of balconies and bay windows, designed to engage with the lively plaza below and for embracing an outdoor lifestyle during the cooler months of the year.

The balconies are shaded by ceramic screens which, in a nod to Abu Dhabi’s pearl diving heritage, are given a shimmering pearlescent finish. These screens also adorn a number of matching pavilions which MVRDV positioned in the central plaza to provide extra shade.

The 525 apartments range from studios to spacious three-bedroom homes and will be arranged in a way that celebrates diversity, mixing more expensive units and more affordable spaces together – instead of the typical model in which the most expensive units are placed on the highest levels.

This is enabled by the development’s central pedestrian plaza, which with its vibrant atmosphere offers a benefit to living on the lower levels. All the apartments further benefit from fully equipped interiors, with the interior design also led by MVRDV.

Construction of Pixel is now underway, led by CNTC as the main contractor, with completion is expected for the end of 2021.

The project was designed by MVRDV for Abu Dhabi-based developer IMKAN, with Dewan Architects acting as executive local architect of record and Ramboll Middle East and Asia as Engineer and Project Manager. The landscaping of Pixel’s central plaza, along with the rest of The Artery, was designed by Danish Architects BIG.



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