How has EDGE Architects shaped the design and architecture landscape in Dubai, and how has being based in Dubai shaped EDGE Architects?
IVAR KRASINSKI Despite being a young organization, we have won some major commissions working alongside big clients and operators. We have pushed a true sustainability agenda that requires claims of environmental responsibility to be backed by facts. We were one of the first firms to challenge the notion that this market needs arches and fussy detailing to be contextual. We were able to create an architectural expression that reduces noise and induces calmness through the judicious use of proportion and subtlety.
How is innovation and technology influencing your design process?
MARTIN BAERSHMIDT We are always working on cutting-edge technologies. We recently completed a competition for a sustainable business park in which we used solar radiation and energy modeling to optimize the master plan, saving 45% energy costs in the first phase. We further improved this performance by optimizing the façade to balance natural lighting against heat gain, adding active renewable energy sources, and using tried and tested thermal mass principles together with modern technology. The result is a true net-zero building that saves as much energy as it uses over its life cycle.
Looking at 1/JBR specifically, how has the project pushed design boundaries in Dubai?
IK 1/ JBR was conceived at a time when certain dogmas were dominant in the market. Among these was the notion that beachfront property should be low rise. Another was that the only acceptable expression of luxury in this context was an abundant use of ostentatious detail. We turned these notions on their heads with 1/JBR, creating a pure, clean, minimal building that created a feeling of luxury unmatched by its more ostentatious neighbors. The project became a hit and other developers started advertising new projects which had some features in common with 1/JBR. Undoubtedly, 1/JBR set a clear example of how design can drive sales.
With several awards and the upcoming opening of 1/JBR, in what ways do you see EDGE's projects influencing the region?
MB We do not want to produce architecture en masse; rather, we prefer to be selective with clients and projects. We have an ethical responsibility to maintain a certain standard of architecture, and we owe this to the city and broader community. We are committed to innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility. We do not engage in these activities to stand above others; we simply work this way because it is the right thing to do.
What other key projects in EDGE's portfolio will impact the Dubai skyline?
IK EDGE has worked on a number of significant projects, such as the Blue Waters retail area, Hilton Garden Inn and Embassy Suites in Business Bay, and Revier Hotel in Business Bay. There are, however, smaller gems of which we are quite fond, such as the Aston Martin showroom and the Tomini Classic Car showroom.
2019 marks 10 years for EDGE Architects. What are your strategic priorities and vision for EDGE Architects?
MB Our vision from this point forward is based in our ethical standards for the profession. We want to continue engaging with clients who have a broad agenda and who balance financial needs, social responsibility, and environmental conservation. We have the right technology, scientific knowledge, cultural understanding, and positive energy to help clients achieve their goals. Together, we will leave this world a better place for future generations.