KOA Canvas by T.ZED Architects is a flower in the desert

Published by
September 3, 2020

In the desert landscape of Dubai, T.ZED Architects has created KOA Canvas, a modern urban property development that showcases contemporary design through the use of timber.

As a unique new residential community in Dubai, KOA Canvas is the transformation of an existing office building and two new-built structures into a thriving urban space for the community.

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The development comprises a collection of 86 residencies; a member’s only workplace and social club (Nasab); a photography studio and multi-purpose amphitheatre; café; restaurant; fitness facilities; spa treatment rooms; and two infinity pools.

To highlight the design and showcase the architecture, T.ZED Architects has used more than 750 square metres of thermally modified (TMT), American tulipwood to clad the façade that then transforms into an outdoor shaded walkway and elevated public balcony. The existing raw concrete structure has been incorporated into the new builds and there is a continuum of design that is enhanced by the use of the timber. Cleverly the materiality has also been used to shade and cross ventilate the building and timber has also been employed within the interior of some public spaces to bring the outside in and achieve material flow. 

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“The eco-system and the site, the diverse set of expectations for a non-typical mixed-use development and last but not least the client’s passionate vision were the greatest influences. From an architectural perspective, embedding nature into modern residential areas was also the most compelling driver. This level of accessibility, integration and ‘seamless indoor-outdoor living’ was a great design motivation and inspiration to us. This attractive prospect to redefine the modern language of buildings fits with our practice’s ambition to develop a contemporary architectural framework that is relevant and contextual to this region,” said Tarik Al Zaharna, Founder and Director, T.ZED Architects.

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The use of tulipwood in this quantity is a first for the region and the architects partnered with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) in order to make their design a reality. The timber was chosen for its durability and beauty, colour and aesthetic value, as the patina will gracefully change over time. The timber itself is a prolific hardwood species from the U.S. hardwood forests and is unique to North America. The trees are immense and can be identified by their tulip-like flowers that give rise to the name tulipwood. For this project thermally modified timber was required and so the tulipwood is subjected to high temperatures in a controlled environment that alters the chemical and physical properties of the timber so that it becomes TMT.  

Dubai has been known for its embrace of architecture within its region and with KOA Canvas there is another purpose-built, design-crafted project on the skyline. T.ZED Architects has designed this development to enhance the lifestyle of those who reside within just as the beauty of the form and façade will enhance the city and surrounds. 

Photography by Anique Ahmed and Mark Goodwin

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