The showy skyscrapers that established Dubai's identity in this hot, humid, desert site on the Persian Gulf have been overshadowed by the towering Burj Khalifa. Yet one short office building ' a mere 22 stories' holds its own against Skidmore Owings & Merrill's 2,717-foot-high glass-and-steel behemoth. The diminutive office tower (347 feet high), designed by New York architects Reiser + Umemoto, stalwartly rises from a white, sandy lot in this instant city in the United Arab Emirates. It makes its mark by original means: with a holey, curvaceous outer shell.
Called 0-14 after the site number of the Business Bay district, the slim structure's dominant feature is a poured-concrete exoskeleton gouged with 1,326 blobby holes in five sizes. The architects intentionally sought to create an alien presence in the melange of banal towers. 'We embraced the radically abstract terrain of nowhere and its artificiality,' says Jesse Reiser.