Walkability and connectivity key to large-scale Abu Dhabi development

Developer Gulf Related, in partnership with Elkus Manfredi Architects, has outlined design concepts for Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Central mix-use project.

Scheduled for completion in 2018 it is part of a retail and entertainment complex which will include large areas of green, open spaces.  It will showcase the first Macy’s, and first Bloomingdale’s department stores in the emirate.

Departing from the classic “big-box” mall designs, Gulf Related and Elkus Manfredi have master planned and designed a community defined by a variety of elements, including walkways and retail thoroughfares, and large open spaces to create an organic destination.

The design blends the outdoors and indoors and puts emphasis on the urban fabric of the surrounding city.

Both exterior and interior sections face an urban retail setting, with an emphasis on walkability and pedestrian access.

Visitors will be able to enjoy outdoor promenades or conveniently access the indoors through a network of air-conditioned walkways connecting Al Maryah Central with The Galleria and other surrounding buildings.

“Instead of a singular town square, we conceived multiple meaningful public spaces each of an appropriate scale, each with a personality – from a playful rooftop children’s lawn to a sports-themed action park to a meandering dining promenade,” said Anthony Fioravanti, who led the design efforts.

“This ‘linked’ public space environment supports interest and discovery – like walking through a great neighbourhood”

Al Maryah Central will showcase extensive leisure, dining and entertainment options, including a 20-screen cinema, a health club, food market and children’s entertainment, an urban community centre and a public library.

Howard Elkus chief architect of Al Maryah Central said, “Our goal from the start has been to design a destination that will weave seamlessly into the rich tapestry of Abu Dhabi life.

“Retail forms the social space of any mixed-use development. In this region, it is more important than ever. Connectivity is the driving concept behind the successful design of this development. It is crucial to not only connect the rest of the island to Al Maryah Central, but also to create streets of shops and pedestrianised walkways inside the development that allow visitors to move easily around the entire destination – from the entry points at street level, up to the rooftop terraces, and across the length of the complex.”