Landmark Lookout


MEA previews the high-profile schemes that are set to be completed this year

In terms of flagship projects, it could be said that 2011 was a quiet year, certainly in the UAE. The Emirates gained a number of low-key gems yet there was nothing on the par with Burj Khalifa, Dubai Metro or The Palm, to really capture the world’s imagination – either positively or negatively. However, it could be argued that 2012 will see a greater number of landmarks opening their doors.

The first of these is Abu Dhabi’s much-anticipated Capital Gate – the world’s most inclined structure – which is preparing for its grand opening.


Capital Gate has already picked up a brace of accolades at the Cityscape Awards for Architecture in Emerging Markets 2011. Designed by RMJM for ADNEC, the 160m mixed-use tower claimed first prize in the categories of ‘Commercial/Mixed use Future’ and the most prestigious prize, ‘Overall Project of the Year’.

From an engineering perspective, it rivals projects such as the Burj Khalifa and SOM’s twisted Infinity Tower in Dubai Marina. When viewed from the foot of the structure, peering up at the gob-smacking 18 degree lean, it’s a wonder how the building actually stands up.

It will house the five-star Hyatt Capital Gate hotel, as well as around 15,000m2 of office space. Client ADNEC is certain that the building is a bona fide classic. “Capital Gate is an icon for Abu Dhabi. The global acclaim the project continues to attract pays tribute to the team work and outstanding commitment of all those involved in making this visionary project a reality,” said HE Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, ADNEC’s managing director.

On the exterior, a sculptural stainless steel ‘splash’ flows up the tower.This provides solar shading to the most exposed façade and forms a new shaded canopy to the historic grandstand that is used for outdoor events. A free-form internal atrium with a dynamic glass roof brings natural light deep into the tower. External lighting is designed to minimise both light pollution and energy consumption.

This year, Abu Dhabi will deliver another landmark tower project, which, although not as technically challenging or as pioneering as Capital Gate, will receive worldwide attention simply due to its famous designer, ‘starchitect’ Norman Foster. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect is months away from completing the imposing Trust Tower in the Central Market scheme by Aldar, which is scheduled for a Q2 delivery date.

Standing at 278m it is one of the largest and tallest office towers in Abu Dhabi, with a third more space than MZ Architects’ landmark Aldar headquarters building.

It is part of three planned towers featuring smooth reflective façades intended to require little maintenance despite the dusty climate. While the towers are grouped together, they have different appearances and sizes according to their respective functions, whether office, residential or hotel.

The development was designed with layers of internal shading on the towers to minimise glare and utilise solar energy.

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One Response to Landmark Lookout

  1. Tafline Laylin says:

    Can you tell me about the lead image? What building is that?

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