Architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) has designed the flagship commercial development for Al Hilal Bank in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island, formerly known as Sowwah Island. The new speculative office tower is located in the Emirate’s developing new central business district, with direct access to three main island roads and the nearby Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Sowwah Square, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange headquarters, and the Rosewood Abu Dhabi hotel.
The 24-storey tower totals 87,570 square metres overall, including 49,110 square metres of office and retail space, and 1,000 parking spaces for tenants and visitors. The building will be serviced by a multi-tiered transportation infrastructure, which includes a planned light rail station.
Challenged to define a distinctive image that would reflect the bank’s unique brand while also setting an international aesthetic, GP designed a bold, contemporary tower 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.
Conveying a timeless image, the elegantly designed 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. The building’s profile is a direct result of the desire to create a structure that would achieve high energy performance and synchrony with its surroundings through sustainable applications. The new tower offers maximum transparency, with floor-to-ceiling glass providing spectacular 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 new tower creates a distinctive architectural form, which is expected in the region,” said James Goettsch, FAIA, president of Goettsch Partners. “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.
Al Hilal Bank is owned in full by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, which is the investment authority of the Government of Abu Dhabi. The bank is working with an authorized capital of AED 4 billion, and is authorized to operate as an Islamic trading bank. Al Hilal Bank aims to become the leading financial institution in the region and to increase the growth of Islamic banking with a new direction, toward new technologies and special services. Al Hilal Bank has 21 branches strategically located across the United Arab Emirates as well as three other branches in major cities of Kazakhstan.
Goettsch Partners (GP) is an innovative architecture firm with a global perspective, emphasizing a singular design approach across offices in Chicago, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. Focused on combining exceptional design, technical expertise and unmatched service, the firm creates measurable value and environmentally responsible solutions. Services include architecture, interiors, planning and building enclosure design. Diverse projects around the world share a consistent emphasis on bringing bold design clarity to complex challenges.