ERASURE is additive. ERASURE, sited in Abu Dhabi, uses Dubai’s rapid speculative real estate development as a reference and counterpoint. Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi feels an urgency to develop, but looks to Dubai’s growth for reflection on a more gradual approach to nation-building involving Emirati tradition and based in ecological and cultural sustainability. Dubai is a Potemkin corridor, whose primary purpose is visual affect. ERASURE is an inversion of this. In Abu Dhabi, the prototype of erasure regains waterfront views from the corniche. From the shoreline, ERASURE appears as the sea.
The prototype employs ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) to project a sustainable form of public space on the waterfront. The conventional OTEC system uses temperature extremes in ocean water to produce electricity and fresh water. The building consists of two long segments joined by the seawater roof with a water corridor running through the center and providing access to six levels of pool and air spaces. The pools of one floor displace the dry space on the floor below.
The structure of the building is held up by the buoyancy of water. The relationship of the weight of water in the building to the amount of air within the building affects the height above sea level. Because the system automatically intakes more water when the surface is hot, the building’s submersion level changes on a seasonal and daily basis.
In Abu Dhabi, malls are the predominate form for public space. ERASURE seeks to reinvent the mall, but through an erasure of a conventional commodity economy. The result is a series of dry and wet spaces (pools). Mallness stems out of productive dualities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi; where shopping is a main program of Dubai’s development desires and Abu Dhabi ‘s development is not always consumption-oriented. By erasing the commodity, the building becomes closer to original goals of public space. In departing from the conventional mall typology, the idea of experience is promoted. Here, there is value in the emptiness of space and the containment of nature (water). In this experience, the premise is the process of erasure.
Collaboration with Greta Hansen