Inspired by the shifting sand dunes and billowing sails of its locale, the dramatic form of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) headquarters transforms the city’s waterfront skyline with a gesture of transparency and welcome.
The design creates an emblem of the bank’s mission and values, emphasizing openness by folding the structure’s vertical plane three times to create two outstretched “arms” in an inviting gesture. Representing contemporary commerce and culture in Abu Dhabi, the building juxtaposes modernity with tradition to echo themes found in Islamic architecture. Its slim stair tower creates a dialogue with the slender minarets of the adjacent mosque.
In response to the brief, the 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. 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.