Goettsch Partners designs new Abu Dhabi tower

Al Hilal Bank Flagship Commercial Development Overall

Architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) has designed a 24-storey commercial development for Al Hilal Bank in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island, formerly known as Sowwah Island.

The speculative office tower is located in the capital’s new central business district, next to the GP’s huge Sowwah Square project for Mubadala.

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Totalling 87,570m2 overall, the tower includes 49,110m2 of office and retail space with 1,000 parking spaces for tenants and visitors.

Challenged to define a distinctive image that would reflect the bank’s brand while also reflecting an international aesthetic, GP designed a bold form that shifts in massing as it rises.

The podium contains a retail banking facility as well as a dramatic three-story transparent lobby to the north, with pedestrian arcades on the east and west. Three cubical masses sit atop the podium, stacked like shifted blocks.

Designed to set the building apart from other towers on Al Maryah Island while also providing optimally efficient, column-free spaces within, these forms derive their interest from a ‘push-and-pull’ effect at the corners. In addition, the building’s façade changes at the created voids to accentuate the shifted aesthetic.

The façade consists of an aluminum-and-glass curtain wall system with glass and notched metal-spandrel elements and vertical glass fins that enhance the building’s verticality while also providing shading.

It offers maximum transparency, with floor-to-ceiling glass providing clear views for occupants while significantly increasing the amount of natural daylight inside. The project is designed and scheduled to receive an Estidama 1 Pearl rating.

A landscaped park and reflecting pool along the building’s western façade will draw traffic to the retail and main building entry by creating an inviting, shaded urban space. Café seating for tenants and visitors will further help activate the setting.

The tower will be serviced by a multi-tiered transportation infrastructure, which includes a planned light rail station.

James Goettsch, president of Goettsch Partners, added:  “The new tower creates a distinctive architectural form, which is expected in the region. At the same time, the building offers very efficient floor plates that are atypical in the local market.”

Completion of the development is scheduled for the last quarter of 2013.

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