Architects behind the design of Sowwah Square made a conscious effort to include pedestrian-friendly zones in the development.
Steven Nilles, partner, Goettsch Partners, said in an interview with Middle East Architect, that the firm decided to create “something very special” at the plaza level of the Mubadala development.
“Everybody seems to be fascinated with the tower at the top of the building; we look at that, but we’re also fascinated and focused about the base of the building.
“Not only in terms of how you create a presence for your project, but also it’s the ‘spaces in between the spaces’ that are very special on this project,” explained Nilles.
The stock exchange centre on Sowwah Square is surrounded by Class A-grade office buildings, along with two five-star hotels and two parking garages.
“Sowwah Square is the heart of the Capital’s new Central Business District, and is a key component of the vision to create a truly urban community that adheres to the highest standards of quality and functionality. A fundamental aspect of this vision has been to deliver a pedestrian friendly environment,” said Abdullah Al Shamsi, vice president, Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality.
Nilles said Goettsch Partners knew that the stock exchange would be a four-story building, so they used the concept of core supportive building design and elevated the stock exchange on “four legs”.
“We have worked very closely with Goettsch Partners and Martha Schwartz Partners Ltd to make this ambition a reality, and features such as the innovative integrated network of climate-controlled pedestrian corridors and the indoor flora and fauna which connect the inside with the external environment, exemplify these efforts,” added Al Shamsi.
Nilles added: “We opened it up below in terms of public space and the retail concourse. In a lot of the projects we designed recently, we have in different ways focused on creating an urban environment, and really special exterior and interior spaces.”
The pedestrian area has also benefited from landscape architecture by Martha Schwartz, which Nilles said complemented the architectural elements nicely, with a lot of dynamic created on the plaza level. Al Shamsi agreed and said: “With the landscape architects – Martha Schwartz Partners Ltd we have created a powerful but relaxing environment at Sowwah Square that offers a peaceful retreat for office workers and visitors alike.”
Nilles added there is almost no transition between the outside and inside. “All we have is a glass non-reflective cable wall enclosure that functions like an exterior space. Even though these lobbies are small, they feel quite open and dramatic.
“They’re not tall buildings, compared to Dubai. But yet this composition of office towers really creates a setting for the exchange building and that’s really the crown jewel of the project,” Nilles concluded.