In developing the new region of Al Zorah in Ajman, one of the emirates of the UAE, Solidere International divided the development into sectors to be planned by various parties. Sectors 7 and 8 consist of a necklace of four residential islands. They are located on the southern end of the Al Zorah development along a stretch of the ring parkway that links the different sectors of Al Zorah with each other. As the first district to be seen from the Sheikh Zayed Road, these sectors represent the face of Al Zorah to Ajman and to the Emirates. Following the general design principles of Al Zorah, the proposed sectors maximize their relationship with the surrounding natural environment, particularly the mangroves that stretch the whole northern length of the district. Each of the four islands has a distinct character designed around a distinct lifestyle and determined by the size, density, character of the public spaces, and typology of buildings. While almost exclusively residential in use, the public aspect of each of these islands is also enhanced by additional commercial and service land uses.
The Canal Towers island, Sector 7, is separated from the mainland by a 1- kilometer-long canal that serves as a recreational space for this exclusive development and as the passage of water transportation through this Sector. The island includes a diversity of residential neighborhoods differentiated by types of collective living: high-rises, court buildings, and mid-rise buildings. This Sector also includes some mixed-use buildings, an area for hotels, and several service, retail and leisure activities. It benefits from different frontages towards the mangrove, towards the canal, and towards the old city of Ajman to generate a variety of open spaces that enhance its edges, the canal, and the block interiors. In that sense, Sector 7 represents a microcosm of the Al Zorah development and provides a strongly representative face for the city.
The three islands of Sector 8 are conceived of as an extension of the mangroves and are fully embraced by landscape, immersed in the mangroves and integrated with the water edges. These islands consist primarily of single family residences and small multi-family units. Each island presents a different type of small scale community. The first is a village, the second a hamlet, and the third a township. The islands are defined around typologies of outdoor spaces and groupings of multi-family dwellings around these spaces. They each enjoy expansive views of the waterfront and Al Zorah’s skyline in the distance. In general, all the villas have direct views of the water and all townhouses and apartment buildings look out onto public spaces that are linked to the water and to direct views.
Client: Al Zorah Development And Solidere International
Project Team: Hashim Sarkis, Ezra Block And Cynthia Gunadi (Project Coordinators), Scott Hagen, Dan Spiegel, Ted Lin, Christopher Karlson, Miaoyan Huang, Alykhan Mohamed
Landscape: Laura Gornowski, Anne Vaterlaus, Theodore Hoerr