The MEED Editor’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Culture

07 February 2011

The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi receives recognition



His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Entrant: Hill International

Client: Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

Main contractors: Phase one: Impregilo and Rizzani de Eccher Phase two: Six Construct and Arabian Construction Company

Project manager: Hill International

Architects/designers: Phase one and original design: Tractebel Al-Khaleej and Architect Yousof Abdelky Joint Venture

Phase two and latest design: Halcrow International Partnership

Supervision consultant: Halcrow International Partnership

MEP consultant: Hyder Consulting

Interior design consultant: Spatium

Description: As well as our judged awards, MEED wanted to recognise specific projects that stand out for more reasons than just our judging criteria. One of these projects is the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi, initiated in the 1980s by the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, and completed in 2008. An engineering masterpiece, the project pulled together expertise from a host of collaborators. The statistics for the building are impressive, with space for 40,960 worshippers on the 22,412-square-metre site. The main dome’s inner shell measures 32.8 metres in diameter and stands at a height of 70 metres (85 metres from the outside). Surrounding it are more than 80 smaller domes, decorated in white marble. The mosque also incorporates 7,874 sq m of reflective pools, columns inlaid with mother of pearl and the world’s largest hand-knitted carpet, all of which create a stunning site. The Grand Mosque is the premier tourist attraction on the island of Abu Dhabi and has a hugely positive impact on the local economy, which is moving away from being based on oil and gas and reinventing itself around a strong tourism sector. Seen from across the city, the iconic building can be considered a strong candidate for the most important cultural heritage project in the UAE, which is why it has been afforded this accolade by our judging panel.

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