Central Souk

Foster + Partners, Abu Dhabi, 2012


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Nigel Young / Foster + Partners (website)     Download Original

  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Long section    
  • Short section    
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Shopping centre that combines luxury goods shops with food markets and craft-based trades on the site of the historic Abu Dhabi Central Market

This scheme aims to give the city a new civic heart by reinventing the market place as a contemporary mixed-use complex. Luxury goods shops, food markets and craft-based trades are placed together in a sequence of streets, alleys and courtyards across two city blocks, above four stories of underground parking.

The central market is clad in glass reinforced concrete (GRC) gridded modules of varying height, with balconies and colonnades to dissolve barriers between inside and outside. Flexible sliding roofs and walls enable control of internal environments, and maximise potential for natural ventilation.

The roofs of these buildings form a series of terraced gardens. When conditions allow there are a sequence of routes for the public to stroll and sit outside, for the remainder of the year these spaces can be enclosed by roofs or walls that slide into place to enable the internal environment to be more closely controlled.

Above the market three towers, which vary in height and bulk, contain offices, residences or a combination of a hotel and serviced apartments.


  • Begun: 2006
  • Completed: 2012
  • Floor area: 290,046m2
  • Sector: Retail
  • Address: Aldar Central Market, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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