North Barrier is a currently undeveloped sand island to the west of Abu Dhabi, with an approximate area of 2300m x 400m. The client’s brief calls for the creation of a 5-star boutique resort of pure escapism, catering to 3 types of guest: day guest, hotel guest and private guest. The island is accordingly divided into 3 zones: public, semi-private and private. The maintenance of appropriate levels of privacy is a key consideration in the design and planning of the project.
To preserve the serenity of the immaculate desert island environment the development is conceived as a landscaped reserve. Buildings are low level, their plan form derived from the starfish and defined by curved timber screening reminiscent of the skeletal structure of a traditional Dhow. These diaphanous timber screens, used throughout the development at varying scales, camouflage and filter the appearance of buildings - blending them into the landscaping and providing privacy from one building to the next. Further separation is provided by semi-burying the buildings as if overcome by shifting sand dunes. Likewise, water bungalows take the form of semi submerged Dhow wrecks lodged in the sand just off shore.
The interior design is a direct product of the architectural form and materiality, characterized by timber framing and filtered light. Emphasis on immersion in the landscape conjures the romantic notion of being marooned on a desert island – a feeling reinforced by the preservation of privacy.
Arrival is via a small marina with bustling cafés, restaurants and retail outlets. Via the marina, day guests gain access to a public beach and supporting facilities. Hotel guests are afforded deep immersion into the central oasis and spa centre, and access to private beaches. Owners of private villas can arrive by boat to private jetties leading to secluded gardens and an exclusive residents club. A helipad is provided for VVIP patrons.
The Island will be new build and will feature a total of 40 boutique resort keys and 38 private Villa plots.
JT & Partners is an energetic, collaborative, creative team of innovative individuals providing architectural design and master planning. Their bespoke designs reflect the cultural diversity, experience and understanding of its team. They always strive to go above and beyond the call of duty to explore, research and innovate as part of the design process. The company encourages a collaborative workshop environment wherein their collective expertise, and that of their carefully selected sub-consultants can ‘cross-pollinate’ projects, improving quality and productivity. Their balanced, holistic approach to the environmental, social and economic considerations of each project ensures that the full potential of every opportunity is realized in a sustainable manner. They are currently working on 15 destinations, from Morocco to Seychelles, Lebanon, India, Sri Lanka, North Africa, KSA and UAE, spanning residential, hospitality, mixed-use and master plan developments.
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