Design inspiration: ICD Brookfield

Norman Foster's latest project rises in the Dubai International Financial Centre with intent and a touch of grace

20 Jun 2021, words by Saul Taylor in Design & Architecture

ICD Brookfield Place

He’s done it again. At 86, British architect Norman Foster is showing no signs of letting up. And thankfully so. There are few architects who design buildings of colossal proportions that somehow become their surroundings and offer tenants a sense of awe and wellbeing in equal measure. In ICD Brookfield Place, his practice recently delivered an office and retail development at the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre district intended to make a positive change to the neighborhood. At a heady 53 floors and 282m, the Gateway Avenue property is solid Foster: ice-like shards of rectangular glass are interwoven with gaping diagonal strips of steel that bulge precisely and geometrically. The interior space provides minsterish sanctuary, no more so than in the five-storey summer garden, a public rendez-vous to the north of the site. Somehow dappled in ambient light, the “garden” — in reality, a cavernous lobby with trees, raised beds and a very good café from the guys at Bull and Roo — is designed to inspire calm. It achieves the desired affect with muted acoustics and a flattering daytime glow. As such, conversations and human interaction feel intimate, a welcome sensation in an otherwise imposing neighbourhood. Foster’s lifelong fascination with the creation of space (and the resulting spaces within that space) is bound out in ICD Brookfield. A visit to the tower is recommended to any resident or visitor to Dubai with an interest in design, architecture or simply experiencing the work of a contemporary master. If we are to build gleaming monoliths in the name of commerce, then let them rise surely and with conviction to those who populate them and according to a considerate design code. And as for Foster himself — hats off to a British institution that understands the true meaning of globalisation. icdbrookfield.ae, fosterandpartners.com

ICD Brookfield Place
ICD Brookfield Place
ICD Brookfield Place
ICD Brookfield Place
ICD Brookfield Place
ICD Brookfield Place

All images courtesy Chris Goldstraw / Brookfield Properties