Dezeen Magazine

Zaha Hadid in Abu Dhabi update

Zaha Hadid's office have sent us two more images of her Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre, plus a statement describing the project.


The top image shows a perspective looking towards the building from the sea, while the image above shows the main lobby.

Hadid formally unveiled the design, which was first shown exclusively on dezeen here and here, at a press conference in Abu Dhabi today.

The full statement is pasted below:

Zaha Hadid Architects announce the design of the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre – a new cultural institution for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation on behalf of the Tourism Development and Investment Company of Abu Dhabi (TDIC).

Zaha Hadid unveiled the design of the new Performing Arts Centre at a press conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE today.

Hadid’s Performing Arts Centre concept, a 62 metre high building is proposing to house five theatres – a music hall, concert hall, opera house, drama theatre and a flexible theatre with a combined seating capacity for 6,300. The Centre may also house an Academy of Performing Arts.

The Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre will be one of five major cultural institutions on the new 270-hectacre cultural district of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi - developed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation on behalf of the Tourism Development and Investment Company of Abu Dhabi (TDIC).

Zaha Hadid describes the design of the Performing Arts Centre as “a sculptural form that emerges from a linear intersection of pedestrian paths within the cultural district, gradually developing into a growing organism that sprouts a network of successive branches.

"As it winds through the site, the architecture increases in complexity, building up height and depth and achieving multiple summits in the bodies housing the performance spaces, which spring from the structure like fruits on a vine and face westward, toward the water.

“The Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre is a continuation of the long-standing relationship we have with the Guggenheim Foundation and with the Emirate. We are very honoured to be a part of the project," states Hadid.

“Our first Guggenheim exhibition design, ‘The Great Utopias’, was in 1992 whilst the very successful mid-retrospective of our work closed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York less than two months ago. We’ve also been working in Abu Dhabi for many years, the Sheikh Zayed Bridge was a seminal project for the office and its construction is well underway".

Thomas Krens, Director of the Guggenheim Foundation said, “In Abu Dhabi we have had the good fortune to discover a partner that not only shares our point of view, but expands upon it. The plans for Saadiyat Island and the cultural district, envisioned and developed by the Abu Dhabi Government, are, quite simply, extraordinary.

"When this comprehensive and inclusive vision is realised, it will set a standard for global culture that will resonate for decades to come."

Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre - Design Concept
The Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre’s distinct formal language is derived from a set of typologies evident in organizational systems and growth in the natural world. These natural scenarios are formed by energy being supplied to enclosed systems, and the subsequent decrease in energy caused when organized structures develop in nature.

The ‘energy’ of the Performing Arts Centre is symbolized by the predominant movements in the urban fabric along the central axis of the pedestrian corridor and the cultural centre’s seafront promenade – the site’s two intersecting primary elements.

Growth-simulation processes have been used to develop spatial representations into a set of basic geometries and then superimposed with programmatic diagrams into a series of repeated cycles. The primary components of this biological analogy (branches, stems, fruits and leaves) are then transformed from these abstract diagrams into architectonic design.

The building, with panoramic views to the sea and the skyline of Abu Dhabi, will be part of an inclining ensemble of institutions of the cultural district on Saadiyat Isalnd that stretch from the Maritime Museum at its southern end to Contemporary Art Museum at the northern tip.

Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre - Spatial Arrangement
The central axis of Abu Dhabi’s cultural district is a pedestrian corridor that stretches from the Sheikh Zayed National Museum toward the sea. This axis interacts with the seafront promenade to generate a branching geometry where islands are formed, isolated, and translated into distinct bodies within the Performing Arts Centre to house the main concert halls.

The proposed Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre contains five major performance halls. The Concert Hall is above the lower four theatres, allowing daylight into its interior and dramatic views of the sea and city skyline from the huge window behind the stage. Local lobbies for each theatre are orientated towards the sea to give visitors a constant visual contact with their surroundings.

On the north side of the building, the restaurant offers a wide, shaded roof terrace, accessible through the adjacent Conference Centre above the Lyric Theatre.

The Academy for Performing Arts is housed above the Experimental Theatre in the southern side of the Centre, whilst in the eastern ‘tail’ of the building, retail areas take advantage of pedestrian traffic using the bridge connecting the centre with the main pedestrian corridor of the Abu Dhabi cultural district on Saadiyat Island.

The Abu Dhabi Cultural District on Saadiyat Island
The Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation has been working with the Tourism Development and Investment Company of Abu Dhabi (TDIC) to develop all five institutions on Saadiyat Island.

The five institutions of the the Abu Dhabi Cultural District on Saadiyat Island:
1 Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects
2 Contemporary Arts Museum (Guggenheim Abu Dhabi) by Frank Gehry Partners
3 Classical Art Museum by Jean Nouvel Studios
4 Maritime Museum by Tadao Ando
5 Sheikh Zayed National Museum: (Architect to be confirmed)