The Yas Hotel by Asymptote


New York architects Asymptote have completed a hotel that straddles a race track in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Called The Yas Hotel, the project consists of two towers linked by a bridge over the racetrack and is covered in a glass and steel canopy.

The building is now open to the public following a pre-opening during the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix at the end of October.

More information about the project in our previous story.

Photographs courtesy of Bjorn Moerman.

Here's some text from Asymptote:


THE YAS HOTEL: Design Text

The Yas Hotel, a 500-room, 85,000-square-meter complex, is one of the main architectural features of the ambitious 36-billion-dollar Yas Marina development and accompanying Formula 1 raceway circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Asymptote 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.

Asymptote: Hani Rashid & Lise Anne Couture

Posted on Thursday December 10th 2009 at 5:36 pm by Natasha Lyons. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • rodger

    well done. the grid shell light system is stunning and apt.

  • andy

    wow, wouldn’t a hotel room up in that purple nightmare be awesome?

  • Soupdragon

    Is this a contemporary take on the old cinematic cheap Motel with buzzing neon light outside the window? Looks like a rather dull hotel wrapped in a token gesture. What are the rooms like?

  • john

    I like the modernity of the structure especially now that it is done.

  • john

    it look very futuristic…

  • Twitteresque

    A W E S O M E
    would b nice to see more of the light effects possible on it!
    looks very light- just like a drape!

  • alex


  • T Sandwhich

    When you walk over the bridge from the balls to the shaft what do you call that?

  • Unbelievably beautiful project. Saw the project on T.V. in progress and the mounting of these pieces of glass, all, a different size. Mind boggling! Bravo!!!

  • JenC

    A great project! Whats the building behind? Really nice too!!

  • jim tsoukatos

    Very serious effort in attaining a delightful and gracious outcome unifying what appears to be a group of very simple structures.
    The building in the background in pictures 4 and 5 looks awesome, it is especially impressive.

  • Tyler


  • Steven

    Very nice. Agreed with rodger. The re-interperetation of arabesque is wonderful

  • Ray

    Clean, nice…

    Please publish a list of the project team including structure, facade, etc…

  • bibo architect

    Any drawings?

  • TL

    congratulation hani….you built something :D

    nice one

  • noviardi prasetya

    The Shape and Facade is very wonderful !
    Which one is the “the artistry and geometries forming the basis of ancient Islamic art and craft traditions.” ?
    and also about “an environmentally responsive solution” ?
    can somebody explain a bit more about this, coz I don’t see an explanation.
    is that just a gimmick ?

  • vla

    Now, I would like to see some interiors of that!

  • kaptnk

    @ Ray
    I’d like to see it to.

    As far as I know it’s an Arup building though, facades, structural, etc.

    I don’t really like it, it’s a big purple thing. How would people sleep at night with that outside? And surely it means you wouldn’t get a view out the window? (oh wait, there’d only be sand and tower cranes to see out the window anyway since it’s abu dhabi)

    Does the shroud lower solar gain of the building too?

  • I would like to see a foto looking out from one of the room through the purple light skin!

  • Martin

    Gunter Behnisch did this with rather more elegance and function in the 1960’s.

  • wonderful project…
    however i wonder i there anyone to check in to the hotel, the place is deserted!!

  • justin


    You like the modernity of this project?

  • Rembo

    Rembo will now correct kaptnk – what you know is what you read on other blogs. But if you check the record, Asymptote is lead architect controlling all design decisions, from building to lighting to facade. Arup helped engineer the gridshell lighting system and certain structural systems. And lots of other teams were involved. It’s all there on the Asymptote website. Get your head out of the blogs, son, and do some research!

  • Brett

    here is a nice documentary on the project

  • Beautiful. Looks like a two-headed Moby Dick.

  • kaptnk

    @ Rembo.

    I work for Arup. Obviously they didn’t do the architecture. That would be the architect. But they did do the engineering which is what I was referring to.

  • alex

    Take off the expensive shroud and it’s a naked slab building with funky curves. So…

  • Guido

    Great video Brett!!

  • Wim

    ‘The architecture as a whole “performs” as both an environmentally responsive solution …’ This is bullshit! A glass facade in the dessert, seriously?! The solar gains will be enormous. So they will need a huge airco which uses a lot of electricity that is not eco-friendly. The giant amount of steel and glass that is being used in this building isn’t an eco-friendly solution, since it takes a lot of energy to produce these materials and assembly it to a structure. Also the huge amount of electrical power that is needed ‘to feed’ the lighting is not small. This building is a direct attack at our environment. (But so are most of the buildings in the UAE) I know this is a very hard statement. But I absolutely had it with architects that claim to make very eco-friendly architecture but in fact they don’t.

    Making eco-friendly architecture is more than just placing double glass, using solar panels or placing a bit more insulation. It’s a whole new way of designing buildings.

    On the other hand I must admit that the structure looks very elegant. It would be idd a spectacular view at night with all that lighting.

    How does the interior look like? I don’t see photos of it.

  • flytoget

    Besides its rather fluid aesthetics, could anyone explain the real purpose behind that large structural shell? How the building will perform in terms of energy and life cycle?

    The structure looks like an authentic produce of Arup boys!

  • Frank Sorenson

    A friend of mine works for RED engineers in the UAE who i understand were responsible for the MEP work on this project. He tells me that the cooling loads are reduced substantially within the building because of the shell system, supposedly it is offset physically from the building enclosure, and not only shades the building but produces a stack effect drawing warm air off the facade that is set well behind the shell system.

  • Frank Sorenson

    Flyoget I just checked, no Arup involvement on the shell engineering, they were only involved in the bridge. Engineering of the shell was with Schlaich Bergermann und Partner (SBP), Stuttgart and Waagner-Biro, Vienna.

  • barca7

    okay, that makes sense, the canopy transfers the thermal gain from the sun to the layer of air in between the canopy and facade and lets this air and the heat blow away, still admits light?

    personally i hate buildings that light up.

    i enjoy the rigor of the execution far more than the rigor of the schematic from what i have seen in representations of this project so far.

    for being as intelligent they are, asymptote’s designs strike me as a little vacuous/airheaded…too much cheap pleasure, a la miami.

    nonetheless plenty respect for what they are doing, especially for building this

  • nique

    Argh!!! Copy of Esplanade!!

  • Awesomely Amazing!