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Design focus: ADNOC Headquarters, Abu Dhabi

by Nick Ames on Apr 15, 2017

Glass and granite make up  the building’s form.
Glass and granite make up the building’s form.

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (ADNOC) new headquarters embodies a “less is more” philosophy, according to its architect, HOK.

The exterior frame of the 75-story tower is clad in granite, to convey a sense of permanence that reflects the firm’s ethos, according to the design team.

“The sides rise to an architrave free of the building mass, creating the image of a monumental arch rising next to the Arabian Gulf.  The tower’s simple, classic form serves as a recognisable focal point for people travelling to and from the city,” the architects explain.

To provide the best solar orientation, HOK designed the headquarters in the shape of
a parallelogram.

The tower’s north side faces the waterfront and is fully glazed, offering expansive views and taking advantage of the limited direct sunlight. The south side, where sunlight is stronger, incorporates finely produced glass with sun shades.

Cladding the east and west sides in granite screens  protects the 65-story glass core from harsh sunlight. These strategies, combined with efficient building systems, help achieve LEED Gold certification standards.

The shape of the building’s footprint responds to the path of the sun. The side nearest the Arabian Gulf faces north, providing minimal heat gain and unobstructed views of the water through clear glass panels. Columns are located approximately 6m from the northern perimeter, allowing the structure to be cantilevered from this side and creating a completely unencumbered interior space.

The south side of the building is coated in a double wall of insulated and porous glass, with horizontal sun shades that mitigate direct sunlight. An LED lighting system on this exterior enhances the tower’s presence at night. The lighting display can be programmed to change colour, patterns, and intensity to celebrate holidays or for special events.