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Designer, activist, academic,
and author of Lo—TEK,
Design by Radical Indigenism.
A leading expert of Lo—TEK nature-based technologies for climate-resilience.
Her eponymously named studio brings creative and conceptual, interdisciplinary thinking to urban projects and corporate clients interested in systemic and sustainable change. Julia regularly teaches urban design at Harvard and Columbia University.
Dubai CBD Master Plan
Location: Dubai, UAE
Project Team: Julia Watson + Woods Bagot
Julia as Studio Rede led the landscape and urban design team for the JET Dubai Master Plan, which adopted a narrative of the journey of an alluvial diamond through the topography of the site.
In the center of the earth, time, pressure, and heat, hyper-compress black, soft, powdered carbon into raw crystalline diamonds. Alluvial diamonds, found on the surface of the earth, have traveled through ancient cooled lava tubes called kimberlite pipes, which have eroded over millions of years to deposit raw diamonds in the alluvial fans of riverbeds. Found in their natural state, diamond surfaces have been smoothed over by the flow of water and their shapes tumbled on their journey down. Once gathered, these natural diamonds are cut into multifaceted gems. The Landscape Concept Plan for the Dubai CBD Dubai Master Plan adopts a narrative of the journey of the alluvial diamond through the topography of the site.
The site sloped significantly and was conceptualized as a high plateau surrounded by low plains, while the iconic Emirates Towers formed the kimberlite pipes that contain the earth’s rare diamonds. The master plan was designed for both daytime and nighttime experiences, as the evening is often the most inhabitable time in the arid climate. Green canopies were prevalent throughout the design to reduce ambient air temperature by up to 5 degrees Celcius and reduce urban heat island effect.
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