Landmark Building, Abu Dhabi, UAE
|Location||Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates|
|Commission||UAE Government. Restricted competition: 4 invited teams, second place|
|Client||Department of Urbanism of the UAE|
|Program||Congress centre, business centre, offices and residential complex|
Islands are often the settings for the world’s most mythical places. The building site along the Corniche of Abu Dhabi on Breakwater Island presents one of these exceptional opportunities. This project aims to participate as one of a series of remarkable and symbolic monuments such as the Presidential Palace, the Mosque, the Marina that line the coast.
This particularly unique design contributes in reaffirming the new identity envisioned for this distinctive area that in turn, will represent the Emirates to the Gulf Region and to the World. The Eternal and the Contemporary merge into a distant mirage-like building resonating equally day and by night. Lines and curves reminiscence of the desert landscape, form simple fluid volumes that flow together forming a distinctive singular character expressing both a sense of place and a cultural identity. With the creation of a distinct identity comes the promise of the development of future tourism.
Our first intension responds to the demands of the overall urban context. The conception of an urban Plaza as a new an exclusive meeting place for the visitors and inhabitants, establishes the emblematic centre for Breakwater in Abu Dhabi.
The Plaza is covered by a horizontal solar shade composed of geometric patterns that soften the sunlight and express a new sheltering sky. The geometric configuration of the canopy is diffused intermittently with plants and palm trees manifesting the fusion and continuity of what is manmade and natural.
When passing through the urban plaza, an oasis of roses and palm trees accompany pedestrians towards the monumental building entrance. This area also serves as a forecourt to the boutiques, and zones for exhibition and events, encompassed within comfortable air-conditioned spaces composed of transparent glass walls. This transparency reinforces the sense of complete openness of the entire plaza level and with visual connections in all directions: a constant sense of orientation is achieved.
By looking upward, the sky is rediscovered through the foliage from a forest of palm trees positioned within the central interior garden. 25meter high curved reflective glass walls distort the limits multiply the greenery within a large ovular space while concurrently allowing for garden views from the interior apartments, offices and lobbies.
On the roof terrace a new experiences awaits. From the many roof top functions the sculpted forms of the building’s roof-scape echoes the topography of desert dunes accompanying the distant views towards the city, the Corniche and the sea. The undulating roof surface is also expressed internally. Curved forms spatially enrich and individually distinguish the living areas in the apartment levels.
Like nomadic encampments extraordinary roof top volumes compose an artificial landscape: the cantilevered swimming pool reaches towards the ocean; the panoramic restaurant, topped by a prominent golden dome, becomes one of the major icons of Abu-Dhabi; the Health Center is carved into the dunes; while lateral openings offer specific views on the landscape, its precious cupolas affirm the heritage of Hammam tradition and create this particular atmosphere of damped light.
As a night in the desert, everything stops in the beauty of all that is eternal: in searching the stars for direction, in watching the sea.