Performing Arts Center on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi designed by Zaha Hadid.
The 62-m-high Performing Arts Centre is one of the five cultural institutions being created by TDIC and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Framed by museums designed by Jean Nouvel and Tadao Ando, and situated on the shore of the 27-square kilometre Saadiyat Island the structure lies on the central axis of the new cultural district which will be the heart of the island. Intended to be a “world-class, environmentally sensitive tourist destination” the 270-hectare cultural district, master-planned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) is a piece of the greater island- master-plan designed by Gensler. According to Zaha Hadid the development, once realized will set standards worldwide for global culture for “decades to come.” The building is intended to house a music hall, concert hall, opera house, drama theatre, and a flexible theatre providing a combined seating capacity for over 6300 people – 1100 more than than London’s Royal Albert Hall. Hadid describes the design as “a sculptural form that emerges from the 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 body housing performance spaces, which spring from the structure like fruits on a vine and face westward, toward the water.” “The building becomes part of an inclining ensemble of structures that stretch from the Maritime Museum at its southern end to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi at the northern tip. With its centre of mass at the water’s edge, the Performing Arts Centre focuses its volume along the central axis of the site. This arrangement interrupts the block matrix at the Arterial Road, opening views to the sea and the skyline of Abu Dhabi.” “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 each visitor a constant visual contact with their surroundings.”