Foster and Partners have started work on a new $1.4 billion Central Market scheme in Abu Dhabi. It is being described as a 'city of microcosm', the 5.7ha mixed-use office, residential and retail development will change the historic market in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. A cluster of three towers will be a new 'souk' - a reinterpretation of the traditional Arabian marketplace. A maze of streets, courtyards and balconies will boast flexible sliding roofs and walls, creating a home for both luxury shops and smaller craft-based stalls. Backed by middle East property developer ALDAR, the first phase of the scheme is expected to complete in mid-2008.