Design + Architecture

Cities of the Future

by Nicola McCormack

Helix Hotel, Abu Dhabi

The Helix Hotel's weirdly amorphous shape will make it a standout property in Abu Dhabi—not an easy task, considering that the hotel has to hold its own alongside planned structures from architects Zaha Hadid (the curving five-mile Sheikh Zayed Bridge, the Performing Arts Center), Jean Nouvel (a branch of the Louvre), Frank Gehry (yet another Guggenheim Museum), and others. The five-star property designed by Leeser Architecture—they did New York's Pod Hotel—has no completion date yet, but there are plenty of cool details to keep us excited in the meantime. The shape of the exterior allows for a more open interior, creating interesting sight lines from above and below; a glass-bottomed pool on the rooftop, for instance, will be visible from eight levels down. The Helix also wins big on green points: The whole structure will be clad in polyethylene panels that absorb both solar and wind power and convert them into energy, while a waterfall in the atrium will use ocean water to help keep the surroundings cool.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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