Pupil, by Atkins
The British architectural firm W.S. Atkins has designed a 170-meter 32-story tower called ‘Iris Bay’ for Dubai. The construction of the building has started last week. The building is sited in the Central Business District of Dubai; a zone of towers called Business Bay that folds around the Burj Dubai, the 808-meter tower designed by SOM.
The iconography of the project is – as the name ‘Iris Bay’ seems to indicate – the pupil of an eye. The elliptical form refers not to the round human pupil however but to something different. It could be the pupil of a cat’s eye. The eye of the Tiger? After the Asian Tiger, now a Middle-Eastern Panther? If we would stretch it the blue Dubai-sky could be the blue iris, while the building acts as the pupil.
Another reading might suggest the correspondence to the Eye of Sauron of Peter Jackson’s movie-trilogy Lord of the Rings. And more ironically one could suggest Iris Bay looks like the eye of a crocodile or a snake, whose (imitated) skin is used for the exclusive purses that the wealthy Dubai buy. The references to the eye of a panthers, tigers, snakes, and crocodiles gives the building a positive charge of exclusivity and exoticism that fits Dubai.
Is this reading too far ‘out there’, and am I overlooking a more obvious reading? Leave a comment if you have an idea! A friend of me suggests it looks more like a seed or nut (such as an Amandel), a flower (like an iris) or even a vulva. That would make the third vagina-building then.
Eikongraphia features another project by Atkins with a similar shape: Burj Al Arab.