International architecture firm OBMI has developed a concept for a vertical resort named Aera.
With more than 85 years experience and roots in Bermuda, where it has perfected the art of working in sensitive environments such as the Caribbean, OBMI is dedicated to creating sustainable solutions. It recognises that vertical architecture minimises the footprint of a structure in areas where land is in short supply, while reducing its environmental impact on the surrounding area.
So, for Aera, instead of designing a horizontal concept, as is more common for resorts, OBMI opted for a vertical structure that aims to recreate the feel of a private island in the midst of urban centres such as Dubai. Unlike many of the more outlandish concepts proposed for the UAE, Aera is designed to actually be built.
“Designed to seamlessly integrate into the skyline of major cities like Dubai, Aera Vertical Resort was conceived to reimagine the notion of domestic tourism,” says Tareq El Zayat, managing director, Dubai, OBMI.
“Without sacrificing the indulgences typically found on remote and exclusive destinations, guests of Aera can enjoy transformational experiences through imaginative architecture that celebrates culture, community and environment."
Aera is composed of seven distinct districts: dining, art, fashion, drama, garden, wellness and family. A transparent outer membrane encases a tree and vegetation-filled interior set over various levels. Walking trails lined with greenery will be home to vegetables and herbs that will be used in the resort’s farm-to-table dining concepts. And a sky deck with a pool will offer a bird’s eye view of the city.
“With Aera, we want to integrate the biophilic relationship into the design and increase the functionality and psychological benefits,” says Islam El Mashtooly, the project’s senior lead designer.
“It would be exciting to see local visitors and guests enjoying the immersion in nature while they’re on-site — utilising the running trails that loop through the internal forest, climbing walls and ziplines through the landscaped atria, all with views out over the city. This would be an entirely new hospitality experience in the city.”