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Lead Architect: John Rhodes
Associate Architects: Pascall + Watson
General Contractor: BAM International bv
Client: Miral Asset Management
Photographers: Etihad Arena
Etihad Arena is the UAE’s first 18,000-person capacity arena and the first multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue on Yas Island, an emerging leisure, shopping, and entertainment center on a manmade island in Abu Dhabi. The Arena is part of a new development that will transform the southern end of Yas Island into a global destination for family entertainment and leisure, including a cluster of hotels, the Yas Marina F1 circuit, and several theme parks. Located directly on the waterfront, Etihad Arena will be a new cultural landmark and anchor for the Island’s retail and dining boardwalk promenade.
The design incorporates food and beverage areas outside the arena, which form a linear street that stretches down the promenade. This mixed-use outdoor concourse will generate year-round activity in a festival-like atmosphere while linking to the surrounding district. The Arena’s illuminated lantern facade complements existing plans to expand the waterfront at nearby Yas Bay.
The design creates the ideal user experience for all types of live events. Its flexibility and technology infrastructure enables it to adapt to events ranging from community gatherings and intimate 500-seat theatre performance to a concert for 18,000 people. To mitigate the impact of Abu Dhabi’s extreme heat, Etihad Arena includes numerous sustainable design strategies, including an optimized geometry and skin, adjustable sun-shade louvers, thermal buffer transitional spaces, and solar energy panels built into its facade.
In recognition, the Emirates Green Building Council named it Sustainable Building of the Year. The building’s high-tech facade significantly reduces solar heat gain during the day while radiating light and energy onto an adjacent boardwalk and across Yas Bay at night.