Al Hilal Bank
Al Maryah Island (formerly Sowwah Island), Abu Dhabi
John Buck International, Goettsch Partners
Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. (WLA) was the designer for a vibrant plaza space with lush plantings, a water feature, and seating and lighting elements for a high-rise corporate headquarters being built in Abu Dhabi. WLA worked closely with the architect and client to determine the plaza design, with its inward focus on the pool as an alternative to the busy, noisy surrounding urban environment and the adjacent light rail station.
The plaza is designed with long-lasting, high quality materials providing a sense of permanence and integrity. The hardscape is laid out in alternating fields of light and dark colored granite. Inlaid into the granite pavers is LED lighting, which provides an interesting ground effect as the users walk through the space and complements the light columns stationed on the plaza’s edge along a busy thoroughfare. The lights also add an interesting graphic dimension when seen from the adjacent high-rise buildings.
The central pool’s shape and central element are based upon the logo of the bank company and is created with stainless steel and granite. The centrally located cube-shaped sculptural element has water running over and down its surfaces and trickling off like rainfall, interrupting the placid, still surface of the zero-depth, granite pool. This element creates a focal point for the plaza space and its users as they move through the space or stop and rest under the canopy and shade of the trees.
One of the major objectives of the planting design is to contribute to the building’s Estidama System’s “Pearl” rating through the installation of spreading canopy trees which will provide much-needed shade on the plaza. These trees contribute to a cooling effect on the ground while also adding seasonal color, as well, through their flowering. The plaza is budgeted at nearly $2 million and is currently under construction, with the building and plaza both slated for completion in late 2015.