Guardian Towers, Abu Dhabi, is a mixed-use complex of two 18-storey towers – one for residential usage and the other for commercial offices – connected by a 2-level retail podium. With a BUA of 53,800 sqm, it was completed in 2011.

The project sets these two mid-rise blocks in an off-set relationship, allowing for slipped views and adjacent vistas. The blocks undergo a process of slicing, shift and slight rotation, breaking the static tradition of extruded, rectangular tower blocks. In doing so, the project provides a more dynamic and a unique façade compared to the whole site surroundings.

The project is effectively two plots that have been joined to form a communal ensemble. Guardian Towers accommodates these different uses (residential, offices & retail) with a coherence that helps to read it as a single project, and yet also allows for the different occupancies to differentiate particularly in the facades.

The project was thought in every detail with extensive testing and visualization of the facades and fritted glazing to evaluate the internal and external consequences of these types of façade. The double-skin facade hasn’t only an aesthetic role for the residential tower, but also a functional one that responds to the capricious weather climate of Abu Dhabi, partially protecting the recessed windows and balcony doors from direct solar penetration. The gradient fritting on the office façade allows the offices to retain floor to ceiling glazing to all offices, but with only partial transparency to the window-wall – again restricting the over-all solar gain to the offices.

The ground floor and podium include retail and food and beverage tenancies allowing Guardian Towers to create a sense of destination and social interaction for the occupants and for the other towers in the area.

Despite the apparent complexity of the massing and facades, with shifted, off-set and tilted surfaces, the structural plan of both towers follows a very simple and economical column grid. The manipulated facades are a consequence of the judicious use of nominal cantilevers, easily constructed and with no structural gymnastics.

Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Category: Mixed Use, Mid Rise

Architecture: LAB Architecture Studio in association with ERGA Progress

Contractor:  Dubai Constructing Company

Photo Credit:  Javier Callejas

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