New York’s Leeser Architecture has just won the design competition for this hyperfocused hotel for Abu Dhabi, UAE. Relentlessly focused on keeping you aware of your surroundings; this hotel is the anti-hotel. This is a hotel that is not boring, not lulling, not like just an extension of the air-deprived airplane that got you there.
As the floor rises there are continual changes in width and slope, suggesting the curves that winding streets take through ancient villages. Yet the comfort of this familiar human scale is contrasted by the extreme modernity of this concept with its infinite circular ocean views. For example; to see small figures in the hotel’s own distance, arrayed like this – looping out against the distant horizon, is going to be a visually arresting experience that we as yet have no architectural precedent for.
In the sub-lobby, a dynamic glass wall is built from the base of the second floor down into the water. The wall acts as a curtain would, opening when the weather is cool enough and closing when it is too hot for exposure to the desert air. For sustainability, Leeser worked with green consultants Atelier 10 to use the best possible conditions and materials for heat and energy conservation: so cold ocean water supplies an eight story waterfall through the central atrium that cools the interior and maintains interior climate and humidity levels. This central waterfall minimizes heat inside the hotel by simply filtering the abundant onsite cool ocean water throughout the hotel floors to create a reverse waterfall.