A “harmonious ensemble of buildings with its soft, curving contours” has won the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, a coveted architectural award.
The complex took the third position after 8 Spruce Street in New York City and Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait City. The jury praised Etihad Towers as a particularly harmonious ensemble of buildings.
Critical to the decision were the soft, curving contours of the towers: these suggest the shape of sails and are intended to evoke Abu Dhabi's history as a port with the jury experts pointing out the exceptional façade of silver and blue glass.
The Emporis Skyscraper Award, based out of Germany, is the world’s most renowned prize for high-rise architecture and has been given since 2000.
The jury is formed of architecture experts from all over the world, who judge nominated buildings according to aesthetic and functional design criteria.
Previous winners include Aqua (Chicago, 2009) and Hotel Porta Fira (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, 2010).
The winners were chosen from over 220 skyscrapers completed in 2011.
Click to see gallery of World's Best Skyscrapers 2011: Emporis Awards
Very, very Gehry
8 Spruce Street, the first skyscraper by the architect Frank Gehry, and also known as The Beekman or New York by Gehry, won over the jury with its magnificent undulating stainless steel façade.
Commenting on the choice, the jury said: "8 Spruce Street stands out even in Manhattan's already remarkable skyline. It is a major new architectural landmark for New York."
Al Hamra Tower
The sculptured form of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Al Hamra Tower earned it second place in the ranking. Despite its great height, the skyscraper fits harmoniously into Kuwait City's urban landscape. The tower is engineered to take account of climate conditions: the south façade, with limestone elements cladding a concrete wall, protects the building from the searing desert sun and impressed the jury from both architectural and functional points of view.
8 Spruce Street is now the third New York tower to win the Emporis Skyscraper Award. The very first award (2000) went to Sofitel New York Hotel, while Hearst Tower won the coveted architecture prize for 2006.
That makes New York City, the world capital of high-rise architecture, the city to which the Emporis Skyscraper Award has most often been awarded.
Etihad Towers website says the Australian architects DBI Design have created a sculptural feat that is a true landmark of the city.
Changing the Abu Dhabi skyline forever the towers offer the most amazing vantage points – with sweeping panoramic views over the vibrant city and Arabian Sea.
Etihad Towers includes wide selection of services, amenities and luxuries, including a total of five unique towers that range from 54 to 75 floors, reaching over 300 meters high and covering over half a million square meters, its website states.
Three residential towers offer a total of 884 apartments and penthouses, ranging from one to five bedrooms. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi features 382 elegant hotel rooms and suites, 199 luxurious serviced apartments, and an array of beauty, fashion and relaxation amenities including the Talise Spa.
The office tower has state of the art systems, infrastructure and proficiently managed facilities. Shopping at Etihad Towers opens doors to an exclusive selection of designer boutiques offering luxury fashion, jewelry, timepieces, accessories and more.
There are four levels of underground car parking, with valet parking and a capacity for approximately 3,000 cars. Etihad Towers has its own private beach, one of Abu Dhabi’s largest and most contemporary convention centers and a grand ballroom catering for guests of up to 2,000.