The Chameleon

Dubai, UAE - with WWF Architects



The Chameleon is a mixed use building winner of a competition for the well known Design District in Downtown Dubai.

The design process departed from a combination of 6 main principles regarded as the core of the concept:

  • Biomimicry

  • Responsive Architecture

  • Smart Technology

  • Wellness

  • Sustainability 

  • Adaptability

Utilizing Biomimicry as a tool, we looked into a model in nature that could serve as inspiration and that could respond to similar conditions to those on site. 

We chose the Chameleon, which is a specimen that can adapt to climatic conditions by changing its color to white during the day to reflect the sunlight and regulate its body temperature (desert chameleon). Similarly, this reptile can also change color as a reflection of its mood (tropical chameleon).

The abstraction of these key characteristics of the chameleon resulted in the translation of these strategies into the building's facade; a series of hexagonal shaped units covered with self-cleaning fabric that will mechanically adapt to the sun's trajectory; closing to reflect the unwanted heat from the sun and opening to allow more daylight when/where required.

The building will also harvest solar energy during the day and will use it to illuminate the facade at night, mirroring the building's dynamic activity of its users. Illumination pattern is regenerated every day as an analogy to the Chameleon's change of color due to its mood variations.

Understanding that the wellbeing of the users has a direct relationship with their productivity, our design proposal aims to provide a variety of zones and spaces that cater and promote a more comfortable, attractive and healthier workspace.

Through conscious selection of materials, the spaces within the building will offer a well balanced atmosphere surrounded by a handful of green elements such as terraces, green walls and indoor planters.

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