Inhabitat favorite Foster and Partners has modernized the souk for Abu Dhabi’s historic Aldar Central Market. Lower rise, ecologically sensitive levels of shops, hotels, offices and restaurants feature both high end retail and luxury goods, but also a focus on local foods and craft-based goods, giving it an old world market feel. The market also adds park space and vibrant rooftop gardens that are publicly accessible.
The Central Market is one of the oldest areas in Abu Dhabi. Foster and Partners wanted to respect that, by making a shopping complex that does not evoke the commercial banality of the shopping mall. Instead, the Aldar Central Market is a grid like new landmark, comprised of intimate balconies, alleyways and courtyards and topped with three iconic towers. The series of rooftop gardens create a serene public park, which is a welcome retreat in the desert city.
The Aldar Central Market is a city within the city. Unlike a commercial mall, the public spaces are meant for visitors to utilize as they would a park- to relax, read, enjoy the sun, socialize- not just a place to rest tired feet from marathon shopping. The building, which occupies two city blocks, has incredible sliding walls and roofs, which cut energy costs by promoting as much natural ventilation and light as possible.
The Aldar Central Market is another innovative architectural project added to the already impressive Abu Dhabi skyline- with a welcome addition of public park space.