A 150,000 sqm mixed-use complex designed by Foster + Partners in Amman, Jordan.
Description from Foster + Partners:
Living Wall is a 150,000-square-metre mixed-use complex set on an excavated rock shelf at the base of a sheer cliff face in the centre of Amman. The place, its geology and history have been strong influences on the scheme’s design. As well as occupying a strategic position in the city, it presents physical challenges that echo those faced at ancient Jordanian sites such as Petra, where the buildings were carved out of the rock itself.
Six inter-connected towers, with an average height of twelve floors, are grouped together on a seven-storey terraced podium of rough-hewn rock. The towers have sculpted forms with slender bases that seem to have been eroded, as if the rock around them had been scoured away by the wind. Within each tower, the functions are divided laterally, echoing the horizontal rock strata. Together they contain a boutique hotel, serviced apartments, a variety of residential units and offices, while the podium contains shopping and leisure activities. The solidity of the podium cladding forms a counterpoint to the transparency of the towers and blends the development into the surrounding landscape. The deep spaces between the towers house a variety of sheltered public spaces, including a sunken amphitheatre and a large sheltered piazza.
The towers are configured to minimize solar gain and maximize natural ventilation. They have double-skin facades with screens whose function is to provide shading and stimulate air circulation. This ‘cloak’ increases in density where the exposure to solar gain is greatest. Spaces behind the screens form sheltered balconies and terraces where people can socialise, rest and enjoy life out of doors, thus animating the facade as a ‘living wall’. At both the higher levels and at the base of the towers there is an emphasis on transparency. Views across the city are unimpeded; there is a distinct sense of place and, with so much permeability and connectivity, both laterally and vertically, the scheme aims to create a strong spirit of community.