Leeser Architecture wins competition to design 5 star hotel in Abu Dhabi
The Middle East is ushering in some of the most provocative architecture being produced today. And Helix, a bold new hotel won in competition by Lesser Architecture, is no exception. The project which gets its name from its staggered floor plates resulting in an iconic spiraling form, will rest in the Zayed Bay next to Zaha Hadid’s Sheid Zayed Bridge, which is currently under construction.
With Helix, Lesser Architecture has devised a new way to consider hotel culture in the Emirates, highlighting elements that are usually unseen and playfully enlivening those parts of the program that are traditionally static and mundane. The hotel contains 206 guest rooms and suites located around a helical floor. Rigid hallways and atria that characterize a typical hotel stay are here dispensed with and replaced with flexible public and guest rooms with unique configurations. As the helix winds upwards, the programmatic elements change from lounges and restaurant on the bay, to meeting rooms and conference facilities, to lounges and cafes, to the luxury indoor-outdoor track on the fifth floor, to finally the upper pool deck on the roof. The pool will have a glass bottom visible from the lower eight floors. Other dramatic features include a restaurant situated below the lobby that is so close to the bay’s waves that they lap onto the restaurant’s edge inside of the glass curtain wall.
On its interior, the floors corkscrew around a large void, resulting in a form reminiscent of Wright’s Guggenheim. Leeser says the ramped floors suggest the curves a winding street would take through a bustling town. Though the void seems to offer unmitigated visibility, there will be enclaves for private meetings and guest privacy.