Horizontal and vertical homes stand side-by-side on The Palm

Low-level contrast with high-rise in the forms of the Horizontal Home and the Vertical Home – which are the names of two villas set to be built on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah.

The two complementary designs sit on the waterfront of the man-made island and are the work of a studio founded by Omid Rouhani, an expert in desert architecture who used his experience to provide as sustainable a living space as possible – while also giving the properties the best views possible out across the Arabian Gulf.

Both properties have been moved slightly around the original axis in order to fully give residents the benefit of their location – with its urban cityscape skyline and natural marine environment.

“The homes are next door to one another and provide a contrast,” said the architect who runs his own practice OmidRouhani Architectural Design. But they both have similar factors in common – such as an emphasis on sustainable design with the use of natural features such as running waters and trees.

“In my view the most important factor when designing in this region has to be addressing the extreme climatic conditions by maximising the orientation to achieve the most desirable results.

“Passive design solutions such as, thermal mass, use of shading devices – artificial or natural – and the correct orientation is always at the forefront of our design solutions.

“Most of these are drawn from our regions rich traditions architecture and in my opinion is always the best and most effective solutions.”

The Vertical Home – with a floor are of 1,288m2 is located on one of the fronds of the palm and looks out over the plush Atlantis Hotel.

Access from the street is via a series of concrete stepping-stones located on top of decorative pools which link the structure with the street.

The entrance consists of a triple-high atrium space which allows for both city and sea views with a linear-wooden staircase and a rooftop gymnasium and infinity pool.

Rouhani said: “Some parts of the exterior are extended while other are push into the structure. Cascading pools naturally cool the basement area, while automated shutters based on the regional traditional Arabic Mashrabia designs open and close according to the direction and position of the sun.”

Omid Rouhani studied architecture at University of Arizona, Tucson, USA and achieved his Master’s degree specialising in designs for a desert environment.

In 1996 he moved from the USA to Dubai and was among the first wave of architects who helped to direct the growth of the city and was an influential member of the design community.

Rouhani joined the academic world in 1998 and worked at the American University of Sharjah and Zayed University where he is still a full time faculty member.

“I was also working with clients on projects at the same time,” he said.

“And there was so much demand that in 2010 I decided to form my own company and business has increased ever since.” His business currently works on projects across the entire Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Horizontal Home – with its 920m2 floor area – incorporates many similar features and also includes a roof-top pool. But it also has a hanging garden over the basement and its parking ramp.

“The client also required a roof-top lap pool and gym as he is interested in athletic pursuits and he wanted them where they would command the best views,” said Rouhani.

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