MVRDV Begins Construction on Pixel a Community-Focused Development in Abu Dhabi

MVRDV’s Pixel, an 85,000-square-metre mixed-use development in Abu Dhabi, is now under construction following the appointment of construction company CNTC as the project’s main contractor. Featuring 525 apartments, shops, offices, and amenities situated around a lively communal plaza, the design enables a lifestyle based around outdoor living and community spirit – an innovative approach in the Emirates.

Pixel a Community-Focused Development in Abu DhabiPixel is envisioned as a development which embraces the outdoors and creates a sense of community
Image: ©MVRDV

Pixel is the first project under construction in Makers District, a new development on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island that is billed by developer IMKAN as the new heart of Abu Dhabi, providing a creative counterpart to the city’s cultural hub on the nearby Saadiyat Island. Capitalising on the innovative, cosmopolitan spirit of Makers District, Pixel is envisioned as a development which embraces the outdoors and creates a sense of community, deviating from the prevalent typology in the United Arab Emirates of disconnected towers.

Pixel a Community-Focused Development in Abu DhabiThe development's seven compact, mid-rise towers are pushed to the edges of the site to create a central plaza in between
Image: ©MVRDV

The development comprises seven compact mid-rise towers of varying heights for optimized views and shading, which are pushed to the edges of the site to create a central plaza in between. The outward-facing façades of these towers are simple, enriched with a 3D graphic pattern, but it is the façades facing the central plaza that truly bring the development to life; near the base of each tower, these façades “break down” into formations of balconies and bay windows, perfect for engaging with the lively plaza below and for embracing an outdoor lifestyle during the cooler months of the year. These balconies are further 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.

Pixel a Community-Focused Development in Abu DhabiShimmering, pearlescent ceramic screens provide shade on the project's balconies and beneath a number of pavilions in the central plaza
Image: ©MVRDV

“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. With Pixel, we wanted to show that a connection with the outdoors is not only possible in this city, but beneficial,” says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “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.”

Pixel a Community-Focused Development in Abu DhabiThe development enables creativity, learning, and sharing by encouraging a sense of community
Image: ©MVRDV

Pixel contains 525 apartments of varying sizes, ranging from studios to spacious three-bedroom homes. These apartments are 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.

Pixel a Community-Focused Development in Abu DhabiPixel contains 525 apartments of varying sizes, ranging from studios to spacious three-bedroom homes
Image: ©MVRDV

The pixelated form of the design also makes the towers wider at the lower levels, making them perfect for accommodating the development’s offices – which, with their flexible layouts allowing spaces as small as 50 square metres, are perfect for start-ups – as well as shops, cafés and restaurants, a clinic, and a wide range of amenities including a pool, gym, community spaces, and a children’s playroom. 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.

Pixel a Community-Focused Development in Abu DhabiThe central plaza is part of “The Artery”, a continuous pedestrian public space that connects Pixel to the nearby beach
Image: ©MVRDV

Construction of Pixel is now underway, led by CNTC as the main contractor. Completion is expected for the end of 2021. The project was designed by MVRDV for Abu Dhabi-based developer IMKAN, known for building communities across the globe with a research-led approach, 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.

Facts
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Year: 2017+
Client: IMKAN
Size and Programme: 85,000m2 mixed-use building with 525 apartments, retail, offices, makers and community spaces.

Credits
Architect
: MVRDV
Principal in charge: Jacob van Rijs
Director: Stefan de Koning
Design Team: Edina Peli, Ronald Hoogeveen, Mariya Gyaurova, Akshey Krishna Venkatesh, Kristin Schaefer, Katarzyna Nowak, Kevin Loftus, Luca Vacchini, Mirco Facchinelli, Meng Yang, Katarzyna Plonka and Ole Allin Egebaek
Visualization: Antonio Luca Coco, Paolo Mossa Idra, Costanza Cuccato, Davide Calabro, Pavlos Ventouris, Kirill Emelianov, Tomaso Maria Maschietti, Massimiliano Marzoli and Giovanni Coni
Strategy & Development: Willeke Vester
Images: © MVRDV, © IMKAN
Copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries)

Partners
Co-Architects: Dewan Architects + Engineers
Engineering and Project Management: Ramboll Middle East
Cost Control: Turner & Townsend
Landscape and public realm design: Bjarke Ingels Group: BIG
Artist: Nicole Martens

MVRDV was set up in 1993 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. MVRDV engages globally in providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues. A research-based and highly collaborative design method engages experts from all fields, clients and stakeholders in the creative process. The results are exemplary and outspoken buildings, urban plans, studies and objects, which enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

Early projects by the office, such as the headquarters for the Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO and WoZoCo housing for the elderly in Amsterdam lead to international acclaim. 250 architects, designers and other staff develop projects in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design process which involves rigorous technical and creative investigation. MVRDV works with BIM and has official in-house BREEAM and LEED assessors. Together with Delft University of Technology, MVRDV runs The Why Factory, an independent think tank and research institute providing an agenda for architecture and urbanism by envisioning the city of the future.
MGS Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture
NBM&CW

New Building Material & Construction World

New Building Material & Construction World
L&ST

Lifting & Specialized Transport

Lifting & Specialized Transport
II&TW

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week