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Woods Bagot is enjoying watching its pet project come to life at Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibition Centre.
By Orlando Crowcroft
Sun 10 Oct 2010 04:00 AM

Woods Bagot is enjoying watching its pet project come to life at Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibition Centre.

It is no secret that slow pace – or no pace at all – has been a problem for many projects in the GCC over the last 12 months, but the SinoGulf Towers at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) is an exception to the rule.

The AED700 million project, designed by architects Woods Bagot, was averaging one floor every 12 days at the end of July 2010, but six months on Group 3 Engineers Contractors can boast one floor every week. Even given the drag effect of both Ramadan and the midday work ban, structural work should be finished by the end of November.

All that is good news for Woods Bagot, the firm that designed the towers some three years ago. Back then, work on nearby Capital Gate had barely started, and the ADNEC centre as a whole lacked the hustle and bustle it has in 2010.

Alf Seeling, design director at Woods Bagot in Dubai, says that since then the firm has revisited the project, and made changes to the deign to reduce cost. Most of these changes have been to the interiors of the building, Seeling adds, which Woods Bagot has also designed.

“We managed to save quite a bit of money on the simple things,” Seeling explains.

“In a previous plans all of the interior doors were solid wood. We replaced them with hollow core doors and were able to save around one million dirhams, just on doors.”

The SinoGulf towers will be one of the most eye-catching of the eventual structures in a Capital Centre that will house 23 towers and seven hotels as well as a 20,000 square-metre Marina Zone. The SinoGulf towers is just one of two plots snapped up by SinoGulf Investments, the client, in October 2007.

The 25 levels of commercial space and 20 levels of residential space comprising the overall structure are an example of the mixed- use buildings that will fill much of the Capital Centre. It is situated on the corner of Al Karama Street, providing a short distance for machinery and materials to arrive on the site off the main road, though leaving only a small margin between street, advertising hoarding and plot.

For Seeling, and Woods Bagot, the SinoGulf Towers are something of a pet project. He says that seeing them racing up in the last few months has been a happy experience.

“The project was one of our early ones in Abu Dhabi, and it’s important to us. We’re chuffed to see how it is pressing ahead,” he says.

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