The Al Muhairy Centre is an interesting concept, largely due to the building and its architects apparently being unsure of what the gigantic behemoth of a building should be used for. It seems that, rather than specialise, the designers of the Al Muhairy Centre merely decided to try and capture the three most wanted property types in the Middle East; residential apartments and accommodation, shopping mall facilities and business office space. Yet somehow, this trio of concepts is blended together into something that unequivocally works.
The building itself is enormous, offering 70,000 square meters of space inside. The exterior of the building is not as innovatively designed as some of those in the United Arab Emirates, and also resembles a solar satellite in appearance; whether this is intentional or not, one cannot be sure. The Al Muhairy Centre building is separated into three interconnecting blocks, which make up the three areas of usage, and the underground levels are a dedicated car parking area complete with valet and room for over 2,500 cars.
The centre block of the Al Muhairy Centre extends above the main atrium, with much of the exterior lined with blue glass for a truly futuristic effect. This component is dedicated to office space, which can be leased on running contracts. Four high speed, glass elevators connect the entrance hall of the office segment to the thirteen ascending floors of office space. The office space is split between temporary rental rooms and permanent company headquarters; those with a permanent base in the centre of the Al Muhairy tower include Shell Abu Dhabi and also the official Australian Embassy.
Two separate buildings, one on either side of the blue glass office component, complete the building design. Each of the buildings has both residential properties and a shopping complex, with the upper floors dedicated to the former. The residential levels start from the third floor, and rise up thirteen levels, with the fourteenth providing the penthouse apartments. There are 28 duplex apartments, 26 simplex apartments and of course just the one penthouse. All of the residential buildings feature the same cool, contemporary design theme as the majority of the building. The majority of the apartments are leased by private individuals as main homes, but some are reserved for temporary accommodation for business people visiting the nearby office component of the Al Muhairy Centre.
This brings us to the final component of the centre; the shopping complex. As with the residential part, the shopping centre is in both buildings on either side of the office component. The shopping areas take up the ground floor, mezzanine, first and second floors of each space, with the residential apartments then moving up from there. The shopping centre component is aimed at the family market, with numerous children’s activities, stores and seasonal promotions taking place in this area.
Overall, for a building that isn’t quite sure of it’s purpose, the Al Muhairy Centre works well amid this minor identity crisis, and remains one of the most recognisable buildings in Abu Dhabi.