Time Frame: Abu Dhabi Corniche ablaze with light

  • An undated photograph of the 'Sheikh Mohammed building' on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi.  Courtesy Al Ittihad newspaper

September 9, 2012

Overshadowed by the tower of the Baynunah Hilton is a more modest construction of concrete and glass that is home to some government offices and the Corniche branch of the Union National Bank.  When it was built in the late 1970s, the building, reported to be the first in the capital to be faced in glass, dominated the Abu Dhabi shoreline.

This image, taken from the archives of Al Ittihad newspaper, shows the tower ablaze with light, as the curve of the Corniche stretches behind into the distance.

In the 1980s, the building was used by the BCC-Emirates bank, a local subsidiary of the ill-fated Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was succeeded by the Union National Bank in 1992.

The photograph also reveals that the tower once stood considerably closer to the water, with subsequent land reclamation extending the Corniche by many metres.

* James Langton

Explore our pictorial history of old Abu Dhabi with the interactive map below, and see all of our Time Frames here.

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