Abu Dhabi's new premier golf course gets Gehry Clubhouse
Hit the ball too hard at Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and you could lose it forever in the twists and curves of the planned Frank Gehry-designed Clubhouse. Revealed at the opening of the club this week the 18,000 sq m clubhouse addition is set to add to the project's already high esteem fuelled by its designer, one of the most successful golfers of all time - Gary Player.
The clubhouse is 80 year old Gehry's first golf-related project, and will be the centrepiece of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the Arabian Gulf’s first and only beachfront course. Situated on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island it weaves in and out of nine five-star hotels lining the beach with one-third of the course commanding spectacular views of the Gulf’s waters and white sands.
“We wanted someone who could push design boundaries to create visual architecture that makes bold statements. Frank Gehry ticks that box emphatically,” said Ahmed Hussein, COO of the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) and deputy director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.
“A truly world-class course, designed by the world’s most successful golfer of all time, in the heart of one of Arabia’s most breathtaking natural settings, deserves an outstanding clubhouse that sets the benchmark globally. Frank’s unique design philosophy will form the centrepiece of this spectacular project and will serve to reinforce Abu Dhabi’s emergence as a sought-after destination on the international golfing map.”
Scheduled to complete in 2013 Gehry's addition will include a boutique hotel with 26 deluxe rooms, two restaurants, a spa and a pro-shop and is designed to meet Estidama regulations, the Abu Dhabi-specific building sustainability methodology. “We are just at the beginning of the detailed design of the clubhouse and are very pleased with the progress thus far," said Gehry. "The design is intended to be an ephemeral mirage floating above the greens."
The project is a welcome boost for Gehry who suffered two major setbacks last year when his plans for LA’s Grand Avenue and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards were dropped and he was forced to lose half his staff in the recession.
Niki May Young