Sheikh Zayed Bridge / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Christian Richters

Archtitects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: , UAE
Design: Zaha Hadid
Project Architect: Graham Modlen
Project Team: Garin O’Aivazian, Zahira Nazer, Christos Passas, Sara Klomps, Steve Power
Completion: 2010
Photographs: Christian Richters

© Christian Richters

The UAE has a highly mobile society that requires a new route around the Gulf south shore, connecting the three Emirates together. In 1967 a steel arch bridge was built to connect the fledgling city of Abu Dhabi island to the mainland, followed by a second bridge built in the seventies, connecting downstream at the south side of Abu Dhabi Island. The location of the new (third) Gateway Crossing, close to the first bridge, is critical in the development and completion of the highway system.

© Christian Richters

Conceived in an open setting, the bridge has the prospect of becoming a destination in itself and potential catalyst in the future urban growth of Abu Dhabi.

study sketches

A collection, or strands of structures, gathered on one shore, are lifted and ‘propelled’ over the length of the channel. A sinusoidal waveform provides the structural silhouette shape across the channel.

© Christian Richters

The mainland is the launch pad for the bridge structure emerging from the ground and approach road. The Road decks are cantilevered on each side of the spine structure. Steel arches rise and spring from mass concrete piers asymmetrically, in length, between the road decks to mark the mainland and the navigation channels. The spine splits and splays from one shore along the central void position, diverging under the road decks to the outside of the roadways at the other end of the bridge.

drawing 03

The main bridge arch structure rises to a height of 60 m above water level with the road crowning to a height of 20 metres above mean water level.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Sheikh Zayed Bridge / Zaha Hadid Architects" 15 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • dolf

    Welcome to the 21st century… Robert Venturi’s ‘Decorated Duck’ all over again.

    • t1n0yb

      Don’t be a duck, dolf. It’s either a duck or a decorated shed.

  • Jaffar

    I’m more interested in how the bridge is for the people driving through it. Not a single photo from that angle.

    • Dennis Moss Jnr

      too true!

    • H-J

      It appears to me like driving between a lady’s spread legs.

    • PatrickLBC

      Wait, so you care about the experience of the end user?… How quaint! This is 21st century mega-development starchitecture, we don’t care about human experience anymore.

  • Brian Boyle

    Too dangerous to take a photo on any road in the UAE!