The Yas Hotel by Asymptote



The Yas Hotel by Asymptote architects is nearing completion in Abu Dhabi, UAE.


The building forms part of the Yas Marina development accompanying a new Formula One circuit.


The race track will pass through the complex under a bridge linking the two towers of the hotel.


A canopy made of steel and diamond-shaped, glass panels will be supported over the towers and bridge.


The 500-room hotel is due for completion in October this year to coincide with the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


Images: The Yas Hotel – Abu Dhabi, UAE 2007–2009. Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture.

The following information is from Asymptote:


The Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi, Designed by Asymptote Architecture, Opens October 2009

Asymptote Architecture, the award-winning, New York-based practice, nears completion of The Yas Hotel project in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The Yas Hotel is a 500-room, 85,000-square-meter complex now under construction by Aldar Properties PJSC. Asymptote was awarded the commission to design the buildings and environs from a closed competition two years ago targeting an opening date of October 30, 2009 to coincide with the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


The Yas Hotel is one of the main architectural features of the ambitious 36-billion-dollar Yas Marina development and accompanying Formula 1 raceway circuit, also near completion. Asymptote's founders and partners Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture envisioned an architectural landmark embodying various key influences and inspirations ranging from the aesthetics and forms associated with speed, movement and spectacle to the artistry and geometries forming the basis of ancient Islamic art and craft traditions.


Of architectural and engineering significance is the main feature of the project's design, a 217-meter expanse of sweeping, curvilinear forms constructed of steel and 5,800 pivoting diamond-shaped glass panels. This Grid-Shell component affords the building an architecture comprised of an atmospheric-like veil that contains two hotel towers and a link bridge constructed as a monocoque sculpted steel object passing above the Formula 1 track that makes its way through the building complex.


The Grid-Shell visually connects and fuses the entire complex together while producing optical effects and spectral reflections that play against the surrounding sky, sea and desert landscape. The architecture as a whole “performs” as both an environmentally responsive solution as well as an architecture of spectacle and event. The entire jewel-like composition of the project responds visually and tectonically to its environment to create a distinct and powerful sense of place as well as a breathtaking backdrop to the Formula 1 and other events that the building will celebrate. The Yas Hotel is designed to be a significant landmark destination on Yas Island for Abu Dhabi and the UAE at large.

Hani Rashid describes the building’s design and its architecture as:

“a perfect union and harmonious interplay between elegance and spectacle. The search here was inspired by what one could call the 'art' and poetics of motor racing, specifically Formula 1, coupled with the making of a place that celebrates Abu Dhabi as a cultural and technological tour de force.”

Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture

Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture are leading architectural practitioners of their generation whose innovative work and academic contributions have received international acclaim. Since Asymptote’s founding in 1989, the firm has been at the forefront of technological innovation in the field of architecture and design and garnered praise for visionary building designs, large-scale master plans, innovative interiors, art installations, virtual reality environments and object design.

Asymptote is currently working on a broad range of commissions at sites in the United States, Europe and Asia including a 100,000-square-meter master plan in Bergamo, Italy; the World Business Center Solomon Tower in Busan, South Korea, a skyscraper that will be among the tallest in Asia at 560m; a luxury residential building in New York city that is near completion; two contemporary art pavilions commissioned by The Guggenheim Foundation for the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi; and a master plan for the city of Baku in Azerbaijan. In 2000 Hani Rashid represented the United States at the Venice Biennale of Architecture and in 2004 Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture were awarded the Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts given in recognition of exceptional contributions to the progress and merging of the fields and disciplines of art and architecture.

Lead Architects

Asymptote Architecture:
Principals Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture

Selected Consultants

Local Architects:
Dewan Architects & Engineers, Abu Dhabi
Tilke & Partners W.L.L., Dubai

Structural Engineers:
Dewan Architects & Engineers, Abu Dhabi
ARUP, New York

Grid-Shell Engineers:
Schlaich Bergermann und Partner (SBP), Stuttgart
Waagner-Biro, Vienna

MEP Engineer:
Red Engineering Middle East, Dubai

Façade Consultants:
Front Inc., New York
TAW & Partner, Hamburg

Grid-Shell Building Information Modeling (BIM) Consultant:
Gehry Technologies, Los Angeles & New York

Interior Architecture:
Jestico + Whiles, London
Richardson Sadeki, New York
De8 Architetti, Bergamo, Italy

Lighting Consultants:
LAPD Lighting Design, Hertfordshire, UK
Bartenbach LichtLabor GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria
Red Engineering Middle East, Dubai
ARUP Lighting, New York

Grid-Shell Lighting Consultant:
ARUP Lighting, New York

Link Bridge Engineers:
ARUP Bridge, New York
Centraal Staal, Groningen, The Netherlands

Landscape Design:
Cracknell Landscape Architects, Abu Dhabi

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Posted on Thursday May 14th 2009 at 10:40 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • wow….

  • wartian

    Giving me a sense of déjà vu, reminiscing the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in Singapore. A dissected durian design by London-based Michael Wilford & Partners and Singapore- based architectural firm.

  • cpcp

    nice work
    great pics… more please!

  • münte

    oooooouuuu hani ist building :)

  • You know those nets of Christmas lights that people just THROW over their bushes?

  • nick the greek

    this looks awesome, but when all those glass panels get dusty and dirty, wont they destroy the view from inside the hotel?

  • Somo

    and what, pray, is the point of the canopy…? other than visually connecting the two parts? (necessary?) It looks too open to function as a double skin facade and surely will have greenhouse effect with all that glass facing the sun… all the attention goes into the facade, or failing that a blanket over it.

  • Rembo

    This is actually impressive. It is quite common to see something as complex as this gridshell in academic or speculative proposals, but here it is real and built! Bravo, and congrats on making it come to life!

  • mcmlxix

    Is the red and blue in the first picture simply a piece of rhetorical eye candy for the rendering? At first I thought maybe the panels were LED/OLED, but the text simply says they’re glass. I think the canopy is gorgeous…a silica snake skin, but I’ll echo Somo; what is the thought behind wrapping a habitation in a green house and plunking it down in the desert? Hotel Sade or Hotel Big Air-conditioning Bill?

  • asy

    The Gridshell is populated with full color capable LED’s at each connection point all of which are fully programable. The glass surfaces are designed to transmit the light across each pane independently. The lighting is now in the testing phase and will be fully implemented on race day, commemorating the winning team and after that a number of programs are being planned for other events.

  • Joe

    Anyone know if the net structure over the buildings has any function other than for looks?

  • Joe

    Also, the pics that show what it looks like from inside looking out through that canopy look really ugly. The view from outside apparently is more important than the view of the inhabitants.

  • jeff w

    Awesome, so glad to see this nearing completion! Great work guys!

  • am&li

    well, i must admit that first my reaction is WTF is that copy of H&deM stadium, the Allianz Arena, in Munich….
    but the main reason of this is the fact I’m deceived about that amazing office!
    well of course i don’t know a lot / deeply about their team work…
    i could accuse the glittering and sexyness aspect of the picture?????

  • dlo

    “would it still work without the canopy?” arch prof rips canopy away.

  • Well done asymptote.

    This is an incredibly impressive transition from the computer generated world of blobs to reality.

    As usual, I’d love to see some plans though.

  • Takeshi

    I don’t know why people would be impressed. It is a mundane building with a meaningless LED lattice skin helmet.

  • Gabriel is my real name

    the shape looks quite interesting… are there plans??

  • Amazing.
    At last a real parametric architecture construction. Prepare to have many of them coming in the next decade. The digital construction revolution starts now. Zaha Hadid, was just the beginning.

  • cpcp

    Somo and mcmlxix:
    There is no greenhouse effect due to the facade!!
    The skin is not continuous – look closely and you will see gaps between the panes.
    Any air warmed between the facade and the actual structure will simply rise through the gaps bewteen the panes. In fact this may well create an air current pulling cooler air in from the bottom.

    This might even help to ventilate the structure when the sun is out.

  • justino

    hey..Joe the GS is just for looking… not function. I just say malfunction. They don´t defined facade access system. After the race it will become as the HandM beijing stadium. Just a piece of architecture museum. The view through the double wall glass. Regular and GS facade will make a non living environment. Especially if you have a 5 star hotel. The point here is bringing digital design to the real world and that is it. The sheik and his oil-money made possible this kind of “architectural experimentation”.

  • DiaphanousAbyss

    I love it!

  • It sort of looks like two sharks with swimming hats.

  • noname

    Come on! You’re kidding right, It looks like there is an incredible banal hotel building hiding under that quilt. You can see it peeking out in some shots

  • Archaotic

    There is a racecourse track cutting across the middle of the two masses. The idea of the project is way beyond formal architectural experimentation; it questions how we look at program interface. It’s the majestic lifestyle of the Arab Culture that is reflected in the programming of a hotel sitting right in the middle of a race course!
    It’s very easy to be critical about everything but it takes guts to appreciate that this idea has manifested the reality of the extravagance of the Arab culture. And instead of focusing on what direction of Formal Architectural experimentation we are headed to we must understand that programmatic approach is instrumental in any great Architectural experimentation. It’s something we have diverted our attention from to be caught up in the most banal things that an architect can spend his entire life focusing on – FORM. What happened to the great vision of the Architect??

  • Wow, amazing. From far away looks a lot like Selfridges in Birmingham UK

  • Trip

    Check out the episode called “Abu Dhabi” of the show “Build It Bigger”. It talks about the construction of the hotel and other buildings. The photography in HD was amazing and what is being done in this location is beyond belief!

  • VIKR

    @WARTIAN…that was the first thing came in my mind…SINGAPORE’S this is how DURIAN looks in the DESSERT.