The Yas Hotel / Asymptote

© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman
© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman

Location: ,
Architect: Asymptote - Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture
Client: Aldar Properties PJSC
Size: 85,000 sqm
Start: November 2007
Completion: October 2009
Photography: © Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman

© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman © Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman © Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman © Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman

© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman
© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman

The Yas Hotel, a 500-room, 85,000-square-meter complex, is one of the main architectural features of the ambitious 36-billion-dollar Yas Marina development and accompanying Formula 1 raceway circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Asymptote envisioned an architectural landmark embodying various key influences and inspirations ranging from the aesthetics and forms associated with speed, movement and spectacle to the artistry and geometries forming the basis of ancient Islamic art and craft traditions.

© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman
© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman
© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman
© Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman

Of architectural and engineering significance is the main feature of the project’s design, a 217-meter expanse of sweeping, curvilinear forms constructed of steel and 5,800 pivoting diamond-shaped glass panels. This Grid-Shell component affords the building an architecture comprised of an atmospheric-like veil that contains two hotel towers and a link bridge constructed as a monocoque sculpted steel object passing above the Formula 1 track that makes its way through the building complex. The Grid-Shell visually connects and fuses the entire complex together while producing optical effects and spectral reflections that play against the surrounding sky, sea and desert landscape. The architecture as a whole “performs” as both an environmentally responsive solution as well as an architecture of spectacle and event. The entire jewel-like composition of the project responds visually and tectonically to its environment to create a distinct and powerful sense of place as well as a breathtaking backdrop to the Formula 1 and other events that the building will celebrate. The Yas Hotel is designed to be a significant landmark destination on Yas Island for Abu Dhabi and the UAE at large.

Facade detail © Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture
Facade detail © Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture

Products in this project

Lighting, Heating, Home/building automation: Enfis, Cooper Lightning and Safety, e:cue

  • Lighting: LEDs by Enfis
  • Lighting: Luminaires by Cooper Lightning and Safety
  • Lighning: Controls by e:cue
Cite: "The Yas Hotel / Asymptote" 10 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • aa

    Iiiiiiii don’t know…mh. Flashy? Yes. Relevant? Not sure. This only demonstrates that they’ll do anything ($) to show-off. And what’s up with that restaurant? I’d hate hate to have dinner there!

  • N!CK

    A death city in 20 years

    • Mookie Wilson

      A death city in 20 weeks….

      • peter

        Good one guys! I would seriously rather people with this sort of comentary not bother and go play your little puter games because I for one am sick of it!

        this part of the world seriously needs to do what they are doing to be viable in the next century. If they don’t do this now, when the west is still oil dependant then they will forever be a region in 3rd world status. It is also worth noting that although sometimes overthetop this region as well as china and other countries seem to be the ones exploring environmental building design ideas in a large and inovative way!

      • peter

        further south Korea urbanised in close to 30 years I think roughly 40 million people ?? in a tiny peninsula of land, not all the buildings are great actually very few, however the city is amazing and evolving continuously, this is the posible future for this middle east region but hopfully even better.


  • David

    Are there any plans available? It looked really amazing watching the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the LED lights changing colour.

  • Rembo

    Rembo says “holy wow!” Flashy or not, and no matter where this is, that gridshell is an architectural tour de force. Just think of the coordination required to get that built – never seen anything like it at that scale. This gets a “yaaaaarrrr!”

  • B.EID

    although the buildings demonstrates the highest tech in design, construction, lighting, …. and it is really impressive
    but my only concern is, what kind of view I people get when staying in a room , covered with this this glazed screen?

    • Wing


    • ajay ghai(india)

      i agree with u b.eid but we doesn’t even know in past time that we will live in concrete structure..

  • lisa

    it’s like those light nets my dad puts on the bushes out side his house for Christmas. so what is the architecture? the shell? the hotel? the location of the race track?

  • jim-0

    is mtv now pimping my hotel? i wonder who the host is?

  • WSBY


  • hmm

    The cool looking skin serves no function basically other than

    • M


      Aesthetics are functional as well.

      • jabba

        well it serves the function of catching all the heat available, doesn´t it, … why would you build a glass house screen in Abu Dhabi? If it would be a different material and provide shade, I would understand it, but it looks like you will have to turn aircondition a little bit higher because of the screen? I m no expert though… ;)

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  • Kevin Church

    Also, I should make this a Design Fetish post but I want to share it RIGHT NOW: OMG YOU GUYS

  • timothy

    why do “avant-garde” buildings look so much the same lately? Hmmm, maybe everybody is doing the same after all?

  • anon

    Everytime I see their work all I can think about is their use of indentured servitude to do their work. The architectural profession is despicable for its applauding and support for work of firms who promote this kind of unethical behavior in the profession. Its the perpetuation of this practice that prevents the rise in architectural salaries and creates an atmosphere of elitism. You don’t see people going to work for Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, or GE for free.

    • tony d

      it doesn’t help that a lot of these firms are not built upon an actual business plan that can sustain itself…. it’s a lot of old rich funding their own hobby in which kids do the work

    • Angel

      Yeah, Asymptote uses a lot of unpaid interns. All the time, for all projects. These two priciples are shameless. Lisa paid some intern before. But no more. Such a bi_tch and di_ck.

  • Mo

    alongside the Formula1 track!

  • moop

    The design is executed very well.

    I’m not too sure about the previous comment of unethical behavior and elitism. To me, architecture is about the work, not about who did it or what car the architect drives. I know elitism exist in our profession, but I just choose to ignore that kind of stuff. If I’m an elitist, then whatever, I just want to go on my drawing table and make good design…

  • DCHa

    Having worked on this project I can reassure you unpaid interns were not involved. At asymptote interns, paid and unpaid, are only involved in competition work for the most part. The 30+ staff I worked with in new York and Abu dhabi were pros as are tHani and Lise Anne. I can say having worked for other ‘star’ firms this is one of the most ethical and upstanding by far.

    • sammy

      so, the bar just set really low then.

  • himun

    i am it really needed in the name of architecture? why all are doing so big,so costly things?

    • Ronny Nunez

      I’m wondering if you would personally refuse a load of money from any of those petroleum kings to do “big” and “flashy”? when opportunities like this arrive we can surely leave our theoric depth aside for a little while and sell the crap out of ourselves.

      We are always complaining about short budgets, ignorant clients, wrong or right design philosophies… the list could go on forever. Can’t we just sit and understand that money DOES HAVE TO DO WITH ARCHITECTURE, for once? Most of you make me think we’re some kind of pseudo-superheroe doing design-charity all over the world.


  • Al

    The shell looks like slime :)
    Why it?
    Some good pictures, still

  • Stan

    I can see one very old tradition comming back in architecture with the greatest strenght ever: FACADISM….I mean nothing against…but wrapping an absolutely simple and rational plans ( two ellypses in this case) with a highly tecnological glass skin, which basically is just there for its own formalistic sake,is not something that could be called a great architectural creation.
    “Les concepts sont morts, vivent les BUBBLES”.

  • shadi osyli

    nothing interesting without the cool looking nonfunctional shell, & it’s block the transparency of some windows !!!

    • peter

      Oh please use your brain (you seem to be indicating you have one?) and research a little more! the skin is very functional!

      • martin

        This is an architectural wank no matter what. The skin serves no purpose whatsoever, the form doesn’t relate to anything in its context and the whole thing is helplessly useless. Looks like the work of a first-year student! Shame…

    • peter .f

      martin, if you did your ‘research’ you might know that there is an interesting video that explains the whole scheme ….and no I am not going to post the link for you… but maybe it might be educational and worth your while to find things out before you start typing away!

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  • skl

    I think this is a rather cleaver way to make an iconic exterior without messing up hotel functions.

    I worked on some big casino hotels and the client would change their mind every week on overall hotel footprint, individual room sizes, and room type mix like how many x type of rooms to be located on floor y and face to view z. If you try to tie the exterior form to the hotel function and room modules, you either end up designing big bars (which is fine) or you broke yourself (plus consultants) along with client’s budget and time frame and you got fired.

    Not every building has to be a great architecture creation. A hotel has to attract travelers as well as make profit to the developer/investors. When you spend half a billion on a building, what you care the most is how fast your investment returned and how much profit, to that point, this project is great enough.

  • thomas

    I won’t argue on the unethical aspect of the project, but I’m surpised, as someone mentioned it earlier, that there is no view of the hotel rooms or interior spaces as a matter of fact. With such a specatular envelope, it’s kind of frustrating, if not worrying, to have no idea of the consequences of the structure, the light given by the skin through the windows… on the inner spaces of the project.

    • peter

      I would like to have seen more info on that also

  • SuperMacro

    it would be best if those glass are solar panels..

    • peter

      interesting… that is an idea that I am currently working on and yes it offers great potential. A student of mine also used solar cladding on a hybrid bus to assist with generating power.

  • roger

    Does it only have one nut?

  • Modern Zen Architecture

    Like anything cutting edge, there will be some that vehemently oppose to this type of design. I think only when you consider all variables: form & function, usability, “wow” factor, I can see how this project made if past the drawing board. Risk takers reap the rewards. I imagine the nay sayers in this project; ultra- conservatives living in their boxy homes, with no cable, no internet access, yadi, yadi, yah…

  • mr gaga

    great tech and light use. but volumetric seams a bit borred because horizontality are not articulated with the curve cover.

  • alan

    Nice renders !

  • janardan

    hey i just wnt to whats yhe function of the external laminating shell that has been applied on this building?

  • Rembo

    Rembo wants to know why the design team is not credited!! Surely, Rashid and Couture didn’t build this thing with their own two hands. They credit some obscure photographer but not their staff nor list their consultants?

    Perhaps this speaks to ego, or ignorance, or even better – inexperience at this level of the game. It seems those that spread the love earn a lot more respect in the end.

    • peter .f

      I agree with you Rembo to a point however as often is the case the architects have not been credited at all in several building and marketing videos which I find continually disturbing.