Abu Dhabi Investment
Authority Headquarters

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Designed for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), this headquarters building is located on the city’s richly landscaped Corniche waterfront: a green zone that has earned Abu Dhabi the title “Garden City of the Gulf”. This greening of the site provides broad areas of shading; the site becomes a cool garden in the city.


On the Corniche, the dramatic profile has become a symbol of the city and its sinuous form creates a dramatic profile on the Abu Dhabi skyline. The service core anchors the eastern edge of the building allowing flexible workspace in the two wings of different heights which open out to welcome visitors into the building. Between the two wings, a series of stacked atria unite occupants from different floors for interaction and meetings. At the base of the building, the plane of the atrium glass cantilevers to form a dramatic welcoming canopy. The building reconnects to the city; its slim stair tower creates a dialogue with the slender minarets of the adjacent mosque: an intriguing blending of modernity and tradition.


The building is alive and responsive to natural forces. In the atrium, sails fold down to shade the sun. In the wings, an active façade of three layers and a solar-controlled blind shades work areas. The façade is used as an extract plenum, drawing cool air from the internal areas into its cavity and exhausting via the ceiling to the central core. Linked to a building management system, the fabric blinds respond to the position of the sun: they close as the sun strikes the façade and open when the façade falls in shade or shadow.

A project of

Kohn Pedersen Fox (International) PA

in which the following people at PLP Architecture were involved: Lee Polisano was Partner-in-Charge; David Leventhal Design Partner; Kevin Flanagan Senior Designer; Lars Hesselgren, Head-Computational Geometry; Neil Merryweather, Head Model Maker.



Abu Dhabi Investment Authority



Corporate Headquarters




29,600sqm Separate Parking Structure




“The design subtly echoes themes found in traditional Islamic architecture, while also expressing the dynamism of twenty-first-century Abu Dhabi and its role in international commerce,”

David Leventhal, Founding Partner, PLP Architecture



2008 Best Commercial / Office Building, Cityscape Middle East Real Estate Awards

2008 ULI Awards for Excellence: Europe, Finalist

2008 International Architecture Award - Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design

2008 The Gulf States Building Awards - Office / Commercial Project of the year Award


Abu Dhabi Investment
Authority Headquarters

Abu Dhabi, UAE