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Sun and Sky Towers


Sun and Sky Towers.

These residential towers on Al Reem Island are very popular with Expats, thanks to their sleek design, great facilities and easy location.
Beside the fact that my ears pop between four and five times each time I am in the lift to go visit someone, I can’t help but be amazed by these glass and steel giants, overlooking the rest of the rapidly expanding island with a slightly suspicious eye.

Sun and Sky are two non-identical twin elliptical towers, with cantilevered sections that create vertical (on Sky) and horizontal (on Sun) patterns on their glass surface. These sections translate in extra space for some residential units, a sort of ‘light box’ with floor to ceiling glass windows.
Sky is 74-storeys strong, as it contains both residential units and a shopping centre, whilst Sun is ‘only’ 65 as it is only residential.

The two towers are joined at the base by the ‘Podium’, a large communal space for the towers’ residents, complete with gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts and similar amenities.

It is easy to get a crooked neck if looking at these imposing blue giants from the street below, but their elegant silhouette in the clear sky of Abu Dhabi is definitely worth a visit.

Where it is: Al Reem Island
Designed by: Arquitectonica, RW Armstrong.


The Gate Towers

The Gate Towers at night.
Anyone else thinking about Tron?

These striking residential and commercial towers are not quite finished yet, but as of summer 2013 they are 98.28% complete, so they are nearly there. (source and source)

They are composed of three 65-storeys towers and a two-storeys penthouse bridge delicately sitting on top of them, which standing at over 240 meters it is believed to be the highest in the world of a residential kind. The bridge is also the largest and highest to ever been lifted, with its first two sections weighing 750-ton. The fourth and final section took four days to be forklifted in place. (source and source)

Click here to see interesting photos from the construction site which clearly showcase the incredible height of the penthouse bridge.

In recent times, the concept of ‘skybridges’ has become more and more popular in the world (see the Marina Bay Sand in Singapore or – somehow – the Elephant Tower in Bangkok) however no building reaches world-record numbers quite as these stunning Abu Dhabi towers.

What personally strikes me the most is that, despite its fantastic modernity, this is basically what Stonehenge would look like if it had been made by aliens. And I love it.

Where it is: Al Reem Island
Designed by: Arquitectonica, Khatib and Alami, Sorouh/Aldar, Hill International.


Al Bahr Towers

The beautiful Al Bahr Towers are two 25-floors twin office towers which house the Abu Dhabi Investment Council Headquarters.

We first heard about these ‘breathing’ buildings (that’s how I describe them) by watching this interesting CNN Video, long before coming to live in Abu Dhabi, so it is a real joy to be able to witness them in action every day!

Just driving by the towers.

The main feature of these cocoon-like towers is the series of ‘honeycomb’ shaped and solar-responsive modular shading screens that cover the South, West and East elevations.
They are smart panels, designed to open when the light is very bright and close in the evenings after sunset, following the movements of the sun around the building.
This helps to minimize glare and improves the building’s environmental performance by reducing the solar energy entering the windows by 20%.

Also, they look really, really cool.

This idea has been inspired by nature, origami art and by the traditional Islamic design of the Mashrabiya.
The Mashrabiya is a type of oriel window often made with carved wood and lattice, and it is present in Arabic architecture since the Middle Age: the result is a stunning combination between innovation and heritage.

The South-facing roofs also incorporate photo-voltaic cells, generating approximately five percent of the total required energy from renewable energy sources. (source) These buildings’ innovative design resulted in a 40% saving in carbon emissions. (source)

These wonderful buildings are visible from many places in the city, and the opening and closing of their panels make them looks like they are alive, a vibrant and gentle couple of giants in the lovely Abu Dhabi skyline.

Where it is: City Centre
Designed by: Abdulmajid Karanouh for Aedas Architects, and Arup Architecture.


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