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Al Sowwah Island Bridge Vernacular

Abu Dhabi, UAE


Al Sowwah Island will eventually form the center of the new Abu Dhabi CBD and financial center, and as such will be the focus of much of the city’s power and energy.  The scope of this invited competition included the design and detailing of 13 new bridges of varying length and character, connecting the island with surrounding city boroughs. A fundamental design objective was the creation of a common aesthetic "vernacular" for the bridges, while articulating the unique scale and character of each.


The design concept presented other urban components to stimulate pedestrian use of the bridges and activate the maritime environment and waterfront.  A system of modular, air-conditioned walkways was designed to be hung from the edge of the bridges and configured to reflect specific functional requirements.  Inspired by traditional Arab souks, these walkways can be fitted with shops and other pedestrian amenities.


Highly adaptable "pod" structures, configured as floating platforms or covered and combined to create a myriad of pavilion-like structures, were conceived as cafés, restaurants, open air stages, water taxi terminals, and other uses.

In collaboration with arkitektfirma Dissing+Weitling

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