Legs project akimbo as client rethinks designs

Aedas Architect’s designs for 330m Abu Dhabi tower project face an uncertain future

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By  Sean Cronin and Tim Wood Published  June 24, 2006

The future of The Legs project in Abu Dhabi has been thrown into doubt after the client interested in using the architect’s design on the tower development admitted it was reconsidering its decision. Andrew Bromberg, design director, Aedas Architects, spent three months on the design for the 330m two-tower project to be built on Al Reem Island, which was submitted to the client in early December 2005. He was also behind the design for the US $130 million (AED484.6 million) Dancing Towers project in Abu Dhabi, which was presented to that project’s client, Capital Investment Company, last May, which will definitely go ahead as planned. However, the launch of a design by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid on 13 June 2006 for another project called Dancing Bay, to be built in Business Bay for Dubai Properties, which incorporates elements of both Aedas’ Dancing Towers and The Legs projects, has left the client considering its options. This, despite the client, whose identity Construction Week has been asked not to reveal, admitting at a meeting with Bromberg two weeks ago that it was still extremely interested in using the design on its project, although it hinted that building on a different site was a possibility. Although Aedas’ Dancing Tower and The Legs are two totally separate projects, Hadid’s Dancing Tower will be a single project that incorporates both dancing towers and legs. And it is these similarities that are prompting the client to ask for more time. “There is a possibility that The Legs may not happen now,” admitted Bromberg. “The client that was considering doing this feels that the similarities are too close, and it is now not sure whether it is going to develop something that people are not going to consider original. “I told my client immediately, and it confirmed my fears over the design. It has to decide what it wants to do.” Bromberg wants to make it clear that his designs for both the Abu Dhabi Dancing Towers and The Legs were completed a long time ago and emailed CW files to prove the dates are genuine. “We were using Dancing Towers back in August 2005 and published the project numerous times under this name,” he said. “These files also show that The Legs was developed in October 2005 by myself and submitted to the client in December. “The client is very happy that I have documentation which shows that both of these projects were launched a long, long time ago and it is important from its perspective that people believe that the designs were original and fresh.” Bromberg added that neither he or his client is looking to point a finger at any other company or individual. “The client does not want us to accuse anybody. It just thinks it is important that people understand that this design came out a long time ago and is unique,” he said. “As for me I’m not angry, although it has been a very difficult week for me. It’s a serious issue. A pretty good client was looking at doing our job, but now there is a real danger that this will not go forward. The most important thing to me is that the client and I preserve our integrity.” A Zaha Hadid spokesman in London said that he was unaware of any similar designs in Abu Dhabi. CW tried to contact Iyad Al Saka, head of the design department at Dubai Properties, but he was unavailable for comment. But Al Dabal, CEO, Dubai Properties, said: “Zaha Hadid’s design for the Dancing Towers confirms Business Bay’s role as a project that reflects Dubai’s rapidly changing future. “The towers incorporate avant-garde definitions of functionality and form that will not only create a distinctive landmark at Business Bay, but also symbolise a new phase in architectural standards.”

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