The Mighty Aldar Headquarters in Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi
Aldar Headquarters designed by MZ Architects mark the most interesting centerpiece of the famous Al Raha Beach. It was built by the architect named Marwan Zgheib. This exclusive addition to the city outskirts has garnered a lot of attention and appreciation. Its striking shape is the hot topic of debate in Abu Dhabi. The most striking feature of this building is the total absence of internal columns for supporting the structure. The main structure or prototype of the building was made a long time back. The origin of the idea can be dated back to the times of Isaac Newton. However, the design remained on the paper and was never brought to life. Aldar Developers had the courage to take up a nearly impossible idea and turn it into reality. The unique construction of this building has been studied in great detail by many structural and architectural analysts. It has been voted ‘Best Futuristic Design 2008’ by the Building Exchange Conference.
The Aldar Headquarters are the huge sculptural iconic landmark in the city. They have a very novel architectural design. With a geometric shape, this headquarter symbolizes stability, unity, and rationality. It is also the symbol of infinity, without beginning or end, perfection, the ultimate geometric symbol. This structure was developed as a part and parcel of the entire Al Raha Development project. The headquarter building is central to the entire development and was completed in the year 2010. It extends to a mind-boggling height of 361 feet. Comprising of 23 stories, this is one of the grandest structures in Abu Dhabi. The plot is situated on the west end of Al Dana. It overlooks the canal and the marina. A lot of effort was put in designing a highly efficient structural system within the exquisite geometric form.
A diagonal grid of steel was also introduced as the structural diagrid in the building. This is the first experiment of its kind and was done successfully. One can get a full view of Abu Dhabi coastline when inside the Aldar Headquarters. As there are no internal columns for support, the view is completely unhindered.
The number of panels in the building is less. All the panels on the floor are roughly the same size. The special joint system and the mirrored geometry have helped in reducing the number of panels greatly.
Specialists have conducted a special structural analysis for the building. This construction was completed by keeping environmental factors in mind. The complex analysis has revealed that the building can easily strive for a LEED Silver rating. The MEP systems account for a big portion of energy saving in the building. An efficient energy management system has also been incorporated into the structure to ensure smooth, efficient and safe operations.
There were, however, some unusual challenges in designing the lift system of the building. There are two separate lift cores for the convenience of the visitors. All the lifts in each core serve all the floors. There can a long time in the travel of the lifts. This is so because the lifts travel the complete vertical rise of the structure. The delay has however been well compensated with greater load carrying capacity of the lifts. All the lifts also operate a Destination Control Service from the lobby area. This lobby area incorporates a number control stations.
The building features the following elevators:
- 12 passenger elevators
- 2 service elevators
- 3 mono space elevators
- 1 circular hydraulic lift
- 2 dumbwaiters.
The roof structure has also been built in an unconventional style. There is a lateral element which forms the structural backbone of the building. It creates a marvelous fusion between the roof and the façade and also maintains the monolithic structure of the building.
This awe-inspiring structure is easily visible to the naked eye from long distances. Blame its length! The building is referred to as ‘The Coin’ for its dramatic yet eye-catching design. This penny-shaped structure is the first circular skyscraper in the world. This building has been developed by the well-renowned Aldar. Anyone can practically visit the lobby of the building.
As it is a relatively new place, there is not much to see inside the building. However, if you love unique architecture, you will be happy to see the building from outside. On the inside, there are a few scale models of Aldar which shall be quite interesting to the usual observer. The building also houses some interesting cafes which can be tried out. There is no public parking area, only a valet parking is available. However, it is suggested to keep the Aldar Headquarters low on your priority list. There is not much that shall fascinate you. You may visit other places of importance in Abu Dhabi and if you still have some time to spare, you can visit the Aldar Headquarters to enjoy its unique and structural architecture.