Abu Dhabi Global Market Square Wins CTBUH 2013 Best Tall Building Award, Middle East & Africa


The five-building Global Market Square complex in Abu Dhabi has won the 2013 Best Tall Building Award for the Middle East & Africa region, as conferred by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). The project now competes as one of four regional winners for the 2013 Best Tall Building Worldwide, to be awarded in November. Designed by architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) and developed by Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure, Sowwah Square is located on Al Maryah Island and defines the new downtown anchor for Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, the emirate’s long-term urban framework plan.

Comprising four office towers and the headquarters building for the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the complex strives to create a signature image for downtown while also promoting a public presence and emphasizing sustainability. The initial building program heights were relatively modest, and their combined footprint occupied a majority of the site. In order to provide a more distinguished skyline profile and relieve the streetscape, the buildings were raised 27 meters. The resulting design frames slender pairs of 31- and 37-story towers around a stock exchange building that sits on distinctive piers. At plaza level, the buildings sparingly touch the site, and indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly blend to create a large, landscaped, pedestrian-friendly environment. In addition, the complex integrates a two-level, 33,000-square-meter high-end shopping center and structured parking for 5,000 cars. The project emphasized a sustainable design approach throughout. Select initiatives include ventilated, double-skin facades; active and passive solar shading; and active lighting controls that balance natural and artificial light. As a result, the complex became the first in Abu Dhabi to be pre-certified LEED-CS Gold.

“We are very pleased to see Global Market Square recognized at such a high international level,” said James Goettsch, FAIA, chairman and CEO of GP. “The CTBUH has done a great job to recognize a wide range of achievements in tall buildings that can provide lessons worldwide. We are humbled to have one of our projects associated with this distinguished group.”

The CTBUH Best Tall Building Awards are an independent review of new projects, judged by a panel of industry executives. Projects are recognized for making an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for achieving sustainability at the broadest level. Regional winners are selected in four categories: Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. An overall winner for the 2013 Best Tall Building Worldwide will be named at the CTBUH 12th Annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner, held at the Illinois Institute of Technology, November 7, in the iconic Crown Hall, designed by famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.