The Performing Arts Centre in Abu Dhabi by Zaha Hadid


All images and infromation courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects. Copyright by desMena.

In addition to our initial post presenting model images from the Saadiyat Island exhibition we are now able to provide you with the architect’s material on the project.

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 Island 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.

Zaha Hadid consistently pushes the boundaries of architecture and urban design. Her work experiments with new spatial concepts and technologies, ranging widely from urban masterplanning to interiors and furniture. Her seminal built works: the Vitra Fire Station in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany (1993); the Hoenheim Nord Terminus in Strasbourg (2001); the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck (2002); the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003); the BMW Central Building in Leipzig; the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg; the Hotel Puerta America interiors in Madrid; the Ordrupgaard Museum extension in Copenhagen (all 2005), and the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy, Scotland (2006).












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