Dubai has a problem. 12 years ago Dubai changed the law to allow non Emeratis to own property this resulted in a property boom. Private residential developers began to develop large areas of the coast that focussed on the top 20% of the market, largely the rich western consultants. This building boom was spurred on by labour who came over from the Indian subcontinent, the workers are housed, fed and transported between sites.
This has led to a ‘forgotten middle’ of teachers, carers and taxi drivers who work hard to send money home but struggle to find accommodation. An important group that support the functioning, education and growth of this prosperous city.
SOUL (Single Occupancy Urban Living) is a new typology built to resolve this issue. The design features small apartments in large numbers and a focus on communal activities, sports and leisure facilities. The result will hopefully provide a great quality of living at 1000 dirhams per month.
HTA was the runner up in this important competition but has since forged links with Hopkins Architects who was another runner up in the project. The SOUL housing project is the first project within this masterplan and therefore highly strategic in nature.
The project entails 125,000 m2 gfa of which 118,000 m2 is dedicated to residential and 7,000 m2 is retail and community enhancing facilities and/or amenities. The total plot size is roughly 25,000 m2 of land (divided into 4 plots).
SOUL and the residential units are envisioned to be compact in size targeting bachelors who in the current urban fabric struggle to find affordable living space. Affordability is of the essence for this project, but because it is the first of its kind for Dubai an elegant urban solution is sought.