ADIA HeadquartersAbu Dhabi, UAE Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Corporate 940,000 ft2 / 87,000 m2 Excellent Cityscape Middle East Real Estate Awards Best Commercial/Office Building (2008); ULI Awards for Excellence: , Europe, Finalist (2008)
Taking inspiration from regional elements such as billowing sails and shifting sand dunes, the dramatic form of the corporate headquarters for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) transforms the city’s waterfront skyline.
The design of the facility, which symbolizes the bank’s mission and values, emphasizes transparency and openness by folding the structure’s vertical plane three times to create two outstretched “arms” in an inviting gesture. Designed to represent contemporary commerce and culture in Abu Dhabi, the ADIA Headquarters building also subtly echoes themes found in age-old Islamic architecture. Its slim stair tower creates a dialogue with the slender minarets of the adjacent mosque: an intriguing juxtaposition of modernity and tradition.
Cellular and open-plan office spaces were required, as were zones for interaction and meetings. The building’s two wings provide well-lighted cellular offices and allow for intimate, open-plan work areas. Informal meetings take place within central landscaped atria and their sky gardens—recalling the Islamic tradition of planted interior spaces. The atrium, which soars 492 feet (150 meters), also serves as an extract chimney for stale air. In the lower ground floor, a grand auditorium can be combined with the adjacent reception area to provide a formal gathering space for ADIA’s employees.
The building is responsive to natural forces. Its “active” façade comprises three layers: a low-e-coated, double-glazed outer skin; a single-glazed internal skin; and a solar-controlled blind in the cavity. This composite provides a high shading coefficient and U-value and lowers the cooling load on the building.