The federal capital and center of government in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, with a population of just under 1.5 million, is experiencing a massive development with iconic structures, including Guggenheim and Louvre Museums, global incentives of arts and culture.
Abu Dhabi’s spectacular waterfront The Corniche stretches for 6km from the Breakwater near Marina Shopping Mall up to the Mina Zayed port. In the evening it feels like the whole of Abu Dhabi have come to the zone for their evening walk.
Located at Al Meena, Mina Fish Market – where fresh catches are brought ashore each morning and traded in the traditional style- is almost at the corner of the Corniche, now going through an urban transformation. Next to the development, instead of the existing boat-park, new museum building will stimulate the development.
Transforming from a port facility to an urban magnet, the perception of the pier from the sea will emphasize the image of the contemporary city; the new plan houses hotels, retail and leisure areas within a rich landscape.
The Urban Design Strategy within boundaries of the overall site, basically considers the specific conditions in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Demonstrating the commitment to meeting the development requirements across the site, potential land use patterns respects the ‘Estidama’ perspective, which means sustainability in Arabic, the Abu Dhabi Government’s program of sustainability.
Site and its boundaries
The concept reflect the surrounding context, the nature of the site by the water, indeed an old port capacity, the functions are identified for the specific space, considering a public realm that responds to the existing environment while providing the necessary facilities and uses. One of the four main market places, the Fish market will be an authentic yet contemporary feature, next to the meat, vegetable and plant & flower market places.
Basically focused on climate requirements, geographic assets, and the expression of the Arab culture, values and tradition, whilst fulfilling the needs of a diverse, multicultural population, the market place will serve curious international visitors as well as locals.
Open to the views and the waft of the sea the masterplan approach will establish strong spatial connections between buildings and open spaces, targeting to create opportunities at the outdoors, such as walkways for promenade, immediate and easy access along the landscaped open space.
Infrastructure for recreational, cultural, landscape and children’s outdoor play facilities and features will serve international and local population requirements, and the neighborhoods through different levels of means.
Besides commercial and residential buildings, influenced by the sea connection, a mix of retail, play, gathering and socializing spaces, the zone will also be a base for civic events and celebrations, public art, but mainly for the daily use.
Being an inclusive, pleasant, formal or informal setting to fulfil society’s need for urban living, the open and semi-open space will set the religious grounds with the mosque and mejlis by the very edge of water.
Besides pedestrian capacity, vehicular lanes, carparks and narrower paths suitable for local access and movement within residential and commercial areas planned for easy and smooth access.
The pedestrian-friendly strategy accelerates alleys beneath the trees, and in the abundant greenery, furthermore, the walk-through arcades. As public realm design elements correspond to the existing character of the site and the need, a particular addition to the zone, the long arched galleries, will be a prolongation of the main structures, supporting the pedestrian flow.
Elements of pedestrian street, abundant shade, arcades, trees, street lights, street furniture, signage, Kiosks and cafésalongside the publicly accessible corridors of networks, will grant a pleasant, comfortable and safe movement of people in a colorful, active street life. Walking and cycling routes shall jazz up the waterfront.
Open-air Public Space and Market
Natural and developed waterfront, enriched with inner patios, linear parks and green infrastructure elements will attract people in the colorful, well-planned, enjoyable market areas where people welcome to eat.
Traditional market tents are the ideal stands for ongoing use at different markets all over the world. Designed to serve as the right canopy overhead, the vault-like structures connected to each other in continuity. GRC – Glass Reinforced Concrete, Concrete Cladding is preferred to have a solid yet light-weight construction, like a large-scale version of a tent, establish a continuum. All in sequence, forming a choppy water surface, generate the wavy roof.
The environmental issues could be solved through sustainable approach of design. An architectural design element, courtyards have been acting as sustainable solutions throughout centuries all over the world, varying regionally and according to the functional use of buildings. Being climate responsive, especially for hot arid conditions, the use of courtyard in the Middle Eastwere due to their climatic conditions that include the use of sun light and natural ventilation, whereas socio – culturally the space grants interaction within courtyard and interaction to street.
Surrounded by arcades, landscaped and by the water, semi-closed at sides, the plan of the courtyard is rectangular; the marblestalls for the fish are placed around the pillars, below the opening to the sky, covered by a light fabric in harmony with the permanent (GRC) structure. Besides the direct impact on thermal comfort, presenting a balance of shade and light, the courtyard also provides visual and acoustic protection.
As an open space within a cluster, a relaxing opportunity to eat the freshest fish in the cherished and casual atmosphere of the courtyard promises an enjoyable and unique experience.
Supporting a dynamic and diverse marketplace which is concentrated on local values and self-sufficiency, and expression of the community, the new Fish Market will encourage local trade and users, as well as visitors, appreciating the local-natural resources.