Behind-the-Scenes at Abu Dhabi’s Hyatt Capital Gate

How can Abu Dhabi’s stunning new ADNEC-funded Hyatt Capital Gate lean at 18 degrees — more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa? It’s not magic — it’s just amazing architecture and engineering.

We were treated to a special behind-the-scenes tour of the building thanks to the AIA’s Middle East chapter, and led by RMJM lead architect Jeff Schofield. (More multimedia coming in a few weeks.)

The most important aspect is the straight core, which allows for every floor and room to be slightly different as the building curves. It also helps for the back-end work of say, elevators to use in case of fire, which would’ve gone slack if the core had been diagonal.

Incredibly, there’s also a small infinity pool with breathtaking views of the island palaces, and even a helipad on the roof of the 35-story building. The sampling of the 5-star hotel’s 189 rooms are similar stunning. (There’s also office space.)

The roughly 30 attendees also got to see the “guts” of the building — the complex HVAC systems, the struts holding up the pool, and inside the clear glass “skin” of the building.

Afterwards we had lunch at the swank 18 Degrees restaurant, which had excellent chicken and fish, with great service.`If you’re staying in the city for an exhibition, and can afford it, the Capital Gate is surely one of the top hotels in the city. •

Dubai’s Pearl Jumeirah Nears Completion

Pearl Jumeirah, Dubai, in September 2011. / Image courtesy Meraas.

If you had USD $100 billion to design luxury living, what would you create?

Meraas, a Dubai-based government-owned developer, was tasked with that assignment, and unveiled dizzying plans for Jumeirah Gardens — villas, towers and hotels on reclaimed islands off of Jumeirah Beach — at the 2008 Cityscape Dubai, according to The National.

Four years later, the project has been downscaled but the centerpiece of the Pearl Jumeirah remains. The reclaimed island is 8.3 million square feet, with 300 residential plots, plus “a unique 2 km promenade, central common plaza, two open beaches and a waterfront beach hotel,” according to a company brochure.

Master plan for the Pearl Jumeirah, Dubai. / Image courtesy Meraas.

From the air it looks like a luxury Levittown, with suburban-style cul-de-sacs, but the artist renditions of life on the ground looks like a fairy tale: a family crossing a stone bridge to a gazebo filled with flowers, huge windows facing the downtown with the Burj Khalifa in the background, and palm trees lining the beachfront promenade along low-slung villas. In the heart is a community park. Everything looks fairly walkable.

Artist’s rendition of the beachfront promenade on the Pearl Jumeirah, Dubai. / Image courtesy Meraas.


So who has the money to buy these villas? Apparently a lot of people — in 2010, about half the buildings were sold, mostly to Emirati buyers, but also to wealthier nationalities from the Middle East and Asia, per The National.

Meraas is tight-lipped on when residents will move in, but in 2010 The National said it could be later this year.