Elkus Manfredi Architects creates “the world’s best shopping streets” in Abu Dhabi


Elkus Manfredi Architects and Gulf Related have commenced the implementation of “key design concepts” at Abu Dhabi’s $1bn Al Maryah Central.

In what is being touted as a departure from the “classic big-box mall designs”, the mall’s architect has set about recreating the “world’s best shopping streets”.

Al Maryah Central’s design will feature walkways, retail thoroughfares, and large open spaces, according to Elkus Manfredi.


Howard Elkus, founding principal of Elkus Manfredi Architects and chief architect of Al Maryah Central, explained: “Our goal from the start has been to design a destination that will weave seamlessly into the rich tapestry of Abu Dhabi life. Retail forms the social space of any mixed-use development. In this region, it is more important than ever.

“Connectivity is the driving concept behind the successful design of this development,” he continued. “It is crucial not only to connect the rest of the island to Al Maryah Central, but also to create streets of shops and pedestrianised walkways inside the development that allow visitors to move easily around the entire destination – from the entry points at street level, up to the rooftop terraces, and across the length of the complex.”

The design of Al Maryah Central aims to blend the outdoors and indoors, according to the architect. Both exterior and interior sections face an urban retail setting, with an emphasis on walkability and pedestrian access.

Commenting on the development’s architecture, Anthony Fioravanti, vice president of design and planning at Related Companies, said: “Instead of a singular town square, we conceived multiple, meaningful public spaces, each of an appropriate scale [and] each with a personality – from a playful rooftop children’s lawn to a sports-themed action park to a meandering dining promenade.

“This linked public space environment supports interest and discovery, like walking through a great neighbourhood,” he added.

Ultimately, the development will feature Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores, in addition to 300 retail brands and 65 dining outlets.

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