Al Habtoor City
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Best Project

Owner Dubai National Investment Co. (DNIC)
Lead Design Firm, Civil, Structural and MEP Engineer Khatib & Alami
General Contractor HLG Contracting
Theater Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Structural Steel Design-Build Cleveland Bridge

To handle the massive scale of this $1-billion, 3.8-million-sq-ft mixed-use project, the multinational and multifirm construction teams split the project into two phases designed and built concurrently. Phase one included three hotels, an aquatheater and a 1,000-person, two-story lounge and nightclub on the 32nd floor of the W Dubai. Phase two included an expansive residential development featuring an open-air running track, gym, pool and gardens.

The site team comprised 5,000 workers from 36 countries. The international project team overcame challenges posed by the multitude of languages spoken by utilizing in-person meetings, video conferencing and workshops.

The 1,300-seat La Perle aquatheater is one of only three in the world to include automated staging, high-tech overhead rigging and cutting-edge technologies for water shows. All performances revolve around a 5-meter-deep pool with an overall capacity of 2.7 million liters and a stage covered in perforated flooring enabling a fill depth of 30 centimeters. The stage area can be submerged and drained in 90 seconds thanks to two 300-horsepower pumps capable of pumping 1,000 liters of water per minute through four 60-cm pipes.

Another challenge of the theater was contrasting thermal comfort demands of the audience and performers. Since the performers are wet during performances, they require a temperature of more than 30° C and 80% humidity. The audience, seated approximately one m from the stage area, requires a temperature of 24° C and 50% humidity.

The project team reached the specifications by blowing air upward from the edge of the pool to promote separate thermal zones without a physical barrier. Within its separate thermal zone, the audience space is air-conditioned by two air-handling units that pump air to outlets mounted horizontally and vertically below the seats.

There are six dehumidifiers in the performance area, and air handlers are in the basement. All air-conditioning units and dehumidifiers in the theater building are controlled through a centralized management system.

The project also includes a boulevard and promenade featuring boutiques and restaurants.

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