(1975) HE Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohamed Al Nahyan City Center

client : HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohamed Al Nahyan
typology : Mixed-Use Hospitality & Residential
services : Architecture
where : Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Retrospective 1971-1980 video: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPIgErYDe31/

This landmark mixed-use commercial development in Abu Dhabi, completed in 1977, spans 50,000 sqm and comprises various components. It features the renowned Novotel Abu Dhabi, a 250-key hotel, along with a ground-floor commercial mall, offices on levels 1 and 2, and four residential towers atop a podium that houses restaurants and amenities.

Being one of the first and largest business and commercial centers in the United Arab Emirates, this development holds a prominent location on Abu Dhabi's "Sheikh Hamdan Street," occupying an entire block. The project was conceived to integrate residential apartments and a hotel while accommodating the commercial nature of the street, necessitating the inclusion of a spacious shopping mall.

The architectural composition of the complex effectively reflects its diverse functions. A substantial two-story base stretches to the site's limits, acting as the entry point for all towers, the mall, and the cinemas. Many shops face the surrounding streets, while others are located within the mall, which features openings in the roof to allow natural daylight to filter in. The base's roof serves as expansive terraces for the towers. One side houses a swimming pool for the 250-room hotel tower, while the other side offers gardens and spacious terraces for the 180 luxurious apartments. The apartments are distributed among the four towers on different sides of the project, designed with minimal openings to minimize heat gain during the hot summer season. Each apartment boasts a small balcony, providing outdoor space for residents.

The design concept aimed to harmoniously integrate the various volumes and functions through sculptural elements. The approach involved creating connections between the towers and the base, while allowing each tower to rise independently with a distinctive visual identity. The base is accentuated by a band of straight lines at its upper end, interrupted only by the towers to seamlessly merge the horizontal movement of the base with the vertical expansion of the towers. The upper ends of the base and towers are grand and monumental, either continuing the tower's elongation with ornamental details or featuring a celebrated and wide crowning effect.

Constructed with reinforced concrete, the structure showcases facades composed of fair-faced concrete and white ceramic tiles—a signature choice of the architect in many of their buildings. This material selection ensures longevity, low maintenance, and durability for the development.