Abu Dhabi lacks quality office space says expert

Interviews and portraitof Steven M. Nilles, Partner, of Goettsch Partners, Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi

The highest grade of office space is in short supply in Abu Dhabi according to a top commercial architect that resides in the capital.

In an interview with Middle East Architect, Steven Nilles, partner in charge of Goettsch Partners’ Abu Dhabi office, spoke of the need for better quality.

Nilles said: “In terms of our assessment of the market here, there is very little of what we consider Class A Plus, international standard office space.

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“This is in terms of floor plate size, column-free lease spaces, category A finishes, environmental improvements, solar controlled lighting, thermal pillow double wall systems.

Goettsch Partners is behind the huge commercial development Sowwah Square, developed by Mubadala, which is due to house the Abu Dhabi stock exchange.

The architectural firm recently leased space in the project to set up an Abu Dhabi office.

Nilles outlined the details of the office design, including a technique to keep the glass cool.

“You know how hot it is out there today. If you were to sit in a typical Abu Dhabi office in an all-glass corner you are going to bake. We have discharge air going through this cavity before it goes out of the building. The glass is as cool as a cucumber.

Another key feature is the column-free corners. He continued: “A lot of thought went into these column-free corners. Every other office you see out there has a column near the corner – what do you do with the space behind it?

“We took everything that we know, from projects all over the world, and applied it in this marketplace.”

Nilles believes that companies should take a closer look at the design of their offices. “It affects absenteeism and productivity, even though it’s hard to measure. You just keep going in a good office with good daylighting.”

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