Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Headquarters
The monumental minimalism of the UAE’s newest landmark articulates the chief role that the ADNOC will play in shaping Abu Dhabi’s future.
As the sun sets over the Arabian Gulf, a warm glow illuminates the soaring windows of a new stark and singular structure along Abu Dhabi’s iconic skyline. With a pale-granite architrave framing an elegant linear core of reflective glass, the soaring Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Headquarters evokes a sense of modern minimalist sophistication infused with strong notes of power and permanence.
The architectural design represents the role that the ADNOC has played in the community it built and powers. “The clarity of the design stands out from the twisting, turning, and muscular massing of the surrounding buildings,” says Bill Hellmuth, chief architect. “It embodies the core values of the ADNOC, which is a pillar of Abu Dhabi’s economy and society.”
The ADNOC was established in 1971 shortly after oil was first discovered in the UAE. Export terminals went up along the coast, subsequent field findings were made, and revenues rose, resulting in a remarkable transformation that swept through the country, ushering it from a small community dependent primarily on pearl diving and fishing to a global urban metropolis. The very first oil well in the UAE, known as the Murban-3, began production in 1960 at an initial rate of 3,674 barrels per day. By 2018, that number is expected to reach 3.5 million. The ADNOC Group is one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, managing 95 percent of the country’s crude reserves on behalf of the government of Abu Dhabi.
Selected in 2007 by the President of the UAE, H.E. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from among three architectural proposals put forth for the headquarters, the new building officially opened in 2016. The ADNOC HQ’s 75 stories stand at a height of 342 meters and can be taken in unobstructed from the exclusive Emirates Palace. The spacious site allocated to the compound prevents the structure from having to compete visually with neighboring buildings, and the unique architrave not only frames the building but also appears to hover above it, creating a wide window of open sky and giving the impression of a grand arc rising out of the Arabian Gulf. On account of a vast array of innovative energy-saving solutions, the ADNOC HQ achieved LEED Gold certification and was a pilot project for the emirate’s own Estidama green ratings system. Highly efficient mechanical systems decrease overall energy consumption by 24 percent, while the water usage, a vital concern in a desert climate, is cut by 40 percent, thanks to robust recycling solutions for graywater.
Our new headquarters is a reflection of the strategic changes taking place within ADNOC, as we evolve into a more commercially minded and performance-driven organization. Our new offices will help energize our new culture, which is underpinned by teamwork, exceeding expectations, and achieving the highest levels of excellence to ensure our long-lasting success.
H.E. Dr. Al Jaber, CEO, ADNOC
To provide ideal solar efficiency, the building has been designed in the shape of a parallelogram whose orientation follows the path of the sun. The northern face, looking toward the Arabian Gulf, receives minimal sun exposure naturally and offers maximum views utilizing glazed windows. The southern face, on which the rays are strongest, employs a double wall of insulated, fritted glass and horizontal shades to mitigate the direct sunlight.
“The UAE has become an increasingly important center for the global green building movement,” said Rick Federizzi, former CEO of the US Green Building Council, which is responsible for LEED certification internationally, “a development that will help provide greater environmental health and increased economic opportunity for its citizens and will hopefully help to inspire a robust green building market throughout the Middle East.”
Creative work-space solutions characterize the company’s commitment to a fresh reconfiguration for the future. “Our new headquarters is a reflection of the strategic changes taking place within ADNOC, as we evolve into a more commercially minded and performance-driven organization,” says H.E. Dr. Al Jaber, the company’s CEO. “Our new offices will help energize our new culture, which is underpinned by teamwork, exceeding expectations, and achieving the highest levels of excellence to ensure our long-lasting success.”
Work spaces have been designed to inspire creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking through a modular scheme that gives a sense of a single, unified space drenched in daylight with direct views of the Gulf. “ADNOC is a performance-driven organization powered by our workforce of exceptional women and men,” says H.E. Dr. Al Jaber. “Investing in our company’s human capital will ensure that the ADNOC remains a pillar of the UAE’s social and economic development for decades to come.”