Helix Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE


Located in the Zayed Bay district of Abu Dhabi, UAE, the Helix Hotel’s design was selected from an invited competition for a five-star luxury hotel in the country. The winning design was proposed by Leeser Architecture from New York. The hotel partially floating in the water and will be the centerpieces of the new Zayed Bay development. Having 208 guest rooms and suites, the building also includes a glass-bottomed swimming pool on the roof, visible eight floors below, and a running track on the fifth floor.


While focusing on unique design, Leeser Architecture is also committed to sound sustainability practices and worked with consultant Atelier Ten to determine the best possible conditions and materials for heat and energy conservation. The indoor waterfall allows for the accumulation of heat inside the hotel to be minimal by filtering cool water back up into the system as it falls through the void. In the sub-lobby, a dynamic glass wall is built from the base of the second floor down into the water. The wall acts as a curtain would, opening when the weather is cool enough and closing when it is too hot for exposure to the desert air. Portions of the outside surface are clad in panels made of a new material called GROW, which has both photovoltaic and wind harnessing capabilities.


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