(1993) HE Ahmad Al Badi Tower

client : HE Ahmad Al Badi
typology : Mixed-Use Residential & Commercial
services : Architecture
where : Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Retrospective 1991-2000 video: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPyTSojDdNX/

This is a 5500 sqm multipurpose building designed to serve the activities of the Al Badi Group. It houses office spaces for the company, as well as residential apartments for its staff. It is located on the airport road in Abu Dhabi. It has a basement and a ground floor used as retail outlets, and 13 stories of 45 residential apartments ranging between 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.

One of the common design problems in Abu Dhabi lies in the articulation of permissible cantilevers and their overall integration within the design of elevations and plans. This building is a fine example of Cassia’s unique sculpting style in treating this problem. The concept is to assure a unity in the overall shape of the building and avoid any split, dissociation or dispatching between the different elements, volumes and architectural features used. The architect does two main things; corners are maintained throughout the levels and the cantilevers emerge gradually from the lower floors. This enables a dynamic reading of the building’s vertical lines. It also shows clearly the limitations of the site and provides a framework and an embracing ‘package’ for the composition of various architectural features.

The corners and side walls of this tower have brick red ceramic cladding. The emerging cantilevered volumes are fully glazed in dark blue mirror like curtain walling system. As they emerge, the tilted part of the curtain wall becomes a large mirror that reflects the skyline of the city in the background. When it reaches the top, it breaks, withdraws inward, and starts again over a red line. So minimal and hard to notice sometimes, but the red seems to be one of Cassia’s signatures in his architecture. Another is when the curtain wall continues to become a crown all around the top of the building –

The building is very symmetrical, has sharp edges in solid walls and reflecting glass. It looks from a distance like a sparkling black quartz crystal.