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Building Anew: Abu Dhabi's Modern Architectural Projects

Building Anew: Abu Dhabi's Modern Architectural Projects

Abu Dhabi's history is tied to its development. As the capital and second most populated city of the United Arab Emirates, it has radically transformed in recent decades. Planned under the guidance of Sheikh Zayed by Japanese architect Katsuhiko Takahashi in 1967, Abu Dhabi has become an epicenter of cultural exchange and commercial activity. Between rapid development and urbanization, the city's architecture reflects global trends alongside new building methods.

© Tyler Caine Courtesy of AN.ONYMOUS © Jonathan Gainer Courtesy of X-Architects + 7

As the largest of the UAE's seven emirates, Abu Dhabi houses both local and federal government offices as the seat of the United Arab Emirates Government. Located on the southeastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, the city is linked to the mainland by three bridges: the Maqta, the Mussafah, and Zaha Hadid's Sheikh Zayed Bridge. Most of Abu Dhabi city is located on the island itself, but the urban region has many districts on the mainland. Between high-density tower blocks and wide grid-pattern roads, new architecture is being built across the city. The following is a sample of projects throughout Abu Dhabi that are changing the cityscape while looking to the future.

Construction Begins on MVRDV’s Mixed-Use Abu Dhabi Project

Courtesy of MVRDV
Courtesy of MVRDV

MVRDV's Pixel project is now under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The community based mixed-used development is the first project in Abu Dhabi’s Makers District, an innovative and cosmopolitan area on the Reem Island. The 85,000-square-meter project includes apartments, shops, offices, and amenities around a dynamic public plaza. The concept was made to encourage new ways of living for the Emirates through outdoor living and communal lifestyles.

X-Architects Design an Urban Mosque for Abu Dhabi

Courtesy of X-Architects
Courtesy of X-Architects

Dubai-based firm, X-Architects designed the new Revelation Mosque to create a new "heart of the neighborhood" in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Made with a generous urban void among a towering context, the proposal offers an immersive escape from everyday life, where the public (regardless of religion) can gather, communicate, and interact with one another. The design of the large, asymmetric dome has three core functions. Its form both references traditional Mosque typologies and symbolizes the Jabal Al Noor, a spiritual mountain where the Quran was said to have been revealed. At the same time, the stepped, spiral facade floods the interiors with a soft glow of diffused light.

Louvre Abu Dhabi by Ateliers Jean Nouvel

© Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia
© Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia

Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel sought inspiration for the concept of Louvre Abu Dhabi in traditional Arabic architectural culture. Taking a contextual approach to the site, Nouvel designed Louvre Abu Dhabi as a ‘museum city’ in the sea. Its contrasting series of white buildings take inspiration from the medina and low-lying Arab settlements. In total, 55 individual buildings, including 23 galleries, make up this museum city. The façades of the buildings are made up of 3,900 panels of ultra-high performance fibre concrete (UHPC).

Wahat al Karama by bureau^proberts + Urban Art Projects

© Jonathan Gainer
© Jonathan Gainer

The conceptual direction of the project was conceived by world renowned artist Idris Khan to “create a park for reflection on both loss and remembrance, a spiritual place that conveyed unity and support - a monument that has positive and hopeful resonance while inspiring curiosity in sculpture and how contemporary art can influence emotions”. At the heart of Wahat Al Karama park is the MONUMENT which serves as a unifying poetic moment despite its monumentality. The complex structure is comprised of 31 aluminium vertical tablets, the largest soaring 23 metres in height. The tablets appear to gently rest on each other symbolizing the united strength of the seven nations of the UAE.

World's First Commercial Hyperloop Coming to Abu Dhabi

Courtesy of AN.ONYMOUS
Courtesy of AN.ONYMOUS

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) has released details of their plan to create the world’s first commercial Hyperloop system in Abu Dhabi. Situated on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in close proximity to both the Al Maktoum International Airport and World Expo 2020 site, the HyperloopTT will begin with the construction of six miles (ten kilometers) of infrastructure, with future development potentially creating a commercial Hyperloop network across the United Arab Emirates and beyond.

Inside Masdar City

© Tyler Caine
© Tyler Caine

Masdar City exists as an urban development project run by the renewable energy company Masdar, who has committed $15 billion to making Masdar City the planet’s most sustainable new city. Unlike Abu Dhabi, a city which unthinkingly follows antiquated models and Western building principles, Masdar City has a wealth of potential to offer the world of green urban planning - something the world sorely needs.

About this author
Cite: Eric Baldwin. "Building Anew: Abu Dhabi's Modern Architectural Projects" 24 Sep 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/925334/building-anew-abu-dhabis-modern-architectural-projects/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia

阿布扎比建成/在建现代建筑盘点

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