The Aldar HQ building is a 121m tall, 23 storey commercial building located in the Al Dana business district on the exclusive Al Raha Beach development in Abu Dhabi. Appointed as lead consultant, we worked closely with the client to deliver the building from concept to reality in a very short time frame.
The building represents a fusion of tradition and modernity, with the striking circular shape symbolising unity and stability. Its diagrid concept largely eliminates the need for internal columns, which would compromise the aesthetic appeal of both the external building as well as the views from within. This steel diagrid is the first of its nature in the UAE and showcases our leading approach to structural design in the region. The project was developed in line with the US Green Building Council LEED rating system.
Close collaboration: a key for timely delivery
One of the biggest challenges was the tight deadline for delivery, driven by the client’s desire to have the building completed for the 2009 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. To help meet the deadline, precast columns, stairs, landings and factory assembled toilet modules were widely employed to maximise off-site construction and accelerate the erection program on site. The use of advanced 3D modelling was also key.
The project also adopts a subterranean vacuum waste collection system which transfers the waste directly to a local waste transfer station for recycling and compacting, eliminating the need for refuse collection vehicles. This system is the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi.
With the identity and success of the building being driven from the purity of the form and speed of construction, our facade engineering team was instrumental in setting the geometrical rules for all other disciplines at a very early stage. The façade geometry resolution extended even to the positioning of the piled foundations in order to ensure that the façade contractor had an uninterrupted zone in which to create the building skin.
By understanding this geometry coupled with how systems can be designed with unnoticeable varying joint widths, we were able to reduce the number of individually sized glass panes by a factor of 1,000. This resolution also enabled all floor edges to be set out using a simple circular geometry allowing both quicker construction but also greater ease for the tenant fit out.
Building maintenance unit
We developed the concept of the building maintenance unit (BMU) by introducing a single machine from which three cleaning teams can work at once. These cover the areas as required to keep the building free from the desert sand and dust. In addition, we used energy efficient variable air volume (VAV) cooling systems, energy efficient light fittings and controls and water efficient sanitary fixtures.
This unique shaped building was produced with a very high efficiency of net/gross area.