MGM GRAND COMPLEX

ABU DHABI, UAE | 2010

346,000 SM | 3.72-Million SF

Architect: Rafael Vinoly Architects

Key Personnel: Rafael Vinoly, Jay Bargmann, Charles Blomberg, David von Stappenbeck, David Hodge, Andres Villaveces, Christian Callaghan, Tsunehisa Tsuda, Ulises Peinado, Gabrielle Pascolini, David Seglin, Andrew Mellilo, James Martin. 


Andres Villaveces, under the design leadership of Rafael Vinoly, was responsible for the overall structural coordination of the project, which included over a dozen different structural systems. He oversaw and coordinated geotechnical and marine works engineering, land reclamation, site dewatering, excavation, waterproofing, foundations, substructure and superstructure designs. 

This mixed-use mega-project was designed to be partially built  in the water and presented a unique set of challenges, including the design of a 1,600-meter long marine slurry wall, and over 80,000 SM (850,000 SF) of land reclamation. The project included more than 1500 residential and hotel units distributed along three interlocking towers, 10 elevator cores, and sophisticated shading systems - a 200-meter diameter perforated roof and a giant rotating screen. 

The MGM Grand Complex is the centerpiece of a 27-hectare mixed-use waterfront redevelopment, which will extend the existing Corniche promenade and create 3 kilometers of boardwalk and public outdoor recreation space for Abu Dhabi. Placed at the end of the existing Dhow Fishing Harbour, the projects sits at an intersection of critical visual corridors. 

The building combines three hotels (MGM Grand - 550 keys, Bellagio - 80 keys, Skylofts 50 keys) - three residential towers (MGM Grand - 550 keys, Bellagio - 259 keys, Skylofts 59 keys), an 8,000 SM Conference Center, retail space, 21 F&B Venues, 50,000 SM of Back-of-house support space and 3,000 parking spaces into a single iconic, coherent building. The resulting horizontal massing breaks the pier visually into a strip and a terminus, with the MGM Grand Complex located prominently on axis with the pier, also working as the eastern counterpart of the westernmost visual anchor of the city - The Emirates Palace. 

In the center, the Oasis, which is shaded by a 200-meter diameter roof, exhibits the grandeur of a domed mosque, blending the communal aspect of the mosque courtyard with the commercial aspect of the covered market. the building has a highly modern fully glazed facade that maximizes outward views to the surrounding city. The glazed facade is veiled by a monumental mesh screen, which rotates around the building to track the harsh desert sun in its path across the sky. The screen is modeled after the traditional Islamic mashrabiyah, sheltering the building from the sun and affording residents privacy and views to the exterior.