Unlike the traditional high-rise building, the design for the Ras al Khaimah Convention and Exhibition Centre accommodates all primary functions, such as the convention centre, hotel rooms, apartments, offices and retail space in a giant sphere.
A low-rise building adjacent to the sphere
hovers above the ground beside the exhibtion centre, retail and additional hotel rooms.
Access to the new buildings is provided by a new road system linking it to the city creating a direct connection between the new buildings and the exisiting urban structure.
What is left to be invented when it comes to the creation of a landmark?
So far the 21st century in a desperate effort to differentiate one building from the next has been characterized by a manic production of extravagant shapes. Paradoxically, the result is a surprisingly monotonous urban substance, where any attempt at difference is instantly neutralized in a sea of meaningless architectural gestures.
RAK is confronted with an important choice: Does it join so many others in this mad, futile race or does it become the first to offer a new credibility?
This project represents a final attempt at distinction through architecture:not through the creation of the next bizarre image, but through a return to pure form.
Invented long ago, both the sphere and the bar explicitly abandon claims to formal invention or originality. (The sphere even existed before man itself ) Yet both geometries still continue to feed the architectural imagination: perfectly autonomous shapes, within their bounds the promise of a perfect world made possible only by the seamless integration of engineering.
In spite of their apparent simplicity the sphere and the bar could come to represent a milestone in the construction of the new RAK and provide it with a powerful universal symbol: Western and Eastern, futuristic and primordial, contemporary and timeless.