x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Club’s towering gift to Abu Dhabi

The intricately designed white and red steel Al Nadi Tower stands 14.5-metres tall at the edge of The Club’s breakwater.

The Club was built on land given to the expatriate community by Sheikh Zayed, the founding President, in 1967. The Club was founded in 1962. Silvia Razgova / The National
The Club was built on land given to the expatriate community by Sheikh Zayed, the founding President, in 1967. The Club was founded in 1962. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // The Club, one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest private institutions, ceremoniously inaugurated its gift to the capital on Tuesday – the Al Nadi Tower.

“It’s our gift to Abu Dhabi after 50 years of being here,” said The Club chairman, Hamish Macdonald. “It’s certainly different than anything else in Abu Dhabi.

“That was our objective when we were approving it was to have something different that would stand out. It would contribute to the Abu Dhabi Skyline.”

The Club was built on land given to the expatriate community by Sheikh Zayed, the founding President, in 1967. The Club was founded in 1962.

“This Al Nadi Tower signals a tremendous contribution of the British community represented by The Club, to the development of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates,” Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Development, told an audience of about 250 members at the ceremony.

“I am very aware today of the splendid history of The Club and it reflects the special relationship between Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

“I am confident that we will continue to work together to further mutual understanding, cooperation and joint ventures between the two countries.

“Now in its 52nd year, The Club has repaid Sheikh Zayed’s initial generosity and vision many times over. The tower itself conveys an undeniable sense of strength, vision and beauty.

“Because Al Nadi literally means ‘the club’, the structure accurately characterises your organisation.

“To be sure, Al Nadi, an image of strength, vision and beauty, marks the essence of The Club and proclaims the past success and promising future of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.”

The audience erupted in cheers and applause as Sheikh Nahyan and other dignitaries lit the lighthouse-like tower for the first time, illuminating the night sky in a glowing red.

The Dubai-based Swiss architect, Andre Meyerhans, was commissioned to design the building as part of The Club’s 50th anniversary celebration and the UAE’s 40th, which were commemorated in 2012.

“It’s an absolute honour,” Mr Meyerhans said.

“I feel very much appreciated because there’s no other institution in the Middle East, at least not that I know of, that is 50 years old, which is actually more than the UAE itself and being actually commissioned to do work to commemorate this event, I feel very, very proud and honoured.”

The white and red steel tower stands 14.5 metres tall at the edge of The Club’s breakwater.

A spiral red staircase leads visitors up five storeys, each 12 steps high, to the top viewing platform with a commanding view of Al Reem and Al Maryah islands.

Al Nadi Tower’s design loosely follows the movements of a pendulum. It is inspired by the work of an early Islamic scientist, Abu Rayhan Al Biruni, who was the first to put forward the theory that the Earth rotated around the sun.

The theory about the earth’s rotation was later demonstrated by a French physicist, Leon Foucault, and his pendulum.

“The elliptical movements, that is what actually inspired the shape, so it goes back to Al Biruni, the idea that the Earth rotates around the sun because he was the first that acknowledged that and proved it,” said Mr Meyerhans.

The British ambassador, Dominic Jermey, said: “It’s going to be an iconic landmark. This tower is a fantastic addition to the amazing skyline.”

rpennington@thenational.ae