30 Projects from 30 Years: UAE Presidential Palace

November 09, 2017

A recently compiled list of “Must-do” activities in Abu Dhabi included a boat ride past the United Arab Emirate’s Presidential Palace, the monumental complex housing the heads of government that cost nearly $500 million to construct. While the buildings themselves are a sight to behold, the beauty of the palace with its lush courtyards and water features is best seen by air, as our own JT Toavs reflects back on this very special project.


Back in 2011, I spent weeks at a time in Abu Dhabi adding up to a total of 3.5 months, for what would become one of the biggest project scopes that Aquatic Design & Engineering (ADE) had ever done. Through Schematic Design, Design Development and Construction Documentation phases, the plans for the project evolved into an intricate series of courtyards, roadways, and more intimate gathering spaces, each major area highlighted with water features.  Overall ADE designed 63 water features for the Presidential Palace, the United Arab Emirates’ main seat of government.

The Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirates version of what we in the US know as the White House and Capital buildings in Washington, DC. It is designed to house the Crowned Prince, the president of Abu Dhabi and the president of Dubai as well as government facilities for the meetings of the seats of government for this country.

From a distance the palace grounds as a whole are a very impressive collection of architecture, landscape architecture and hardscape finishes. Because the complex was designed to host visiting dignitaries arriving by helicopter, the designers created the grounds to be equally as impressive when viewed from the air, especially with regard to the fountains and water features. ADE created the fountains with the capability of functioning together, choreographed in an aerial spectacular for Emirate Royalty and international guests as they fly in.

As well, up close the intense attention to detail makes this project stand apart as every little detail was considered. Hand cut stone and tile mosaics line the water features adjacent to finely manicured ornate landscape. As with many seats of government, these facilities are expected to remain highly private, and closed to the public. Though if the doors were to ever open to the public, it would be a tour worth taking and an unforgettable opportunity.

I am humbled to have been involved in this once-in-a-lifetime project and grateful to know that world leaders from around the globe will be entertained, soothed, and pleasantly distracted from the world of politics, even if for a few minutes, by the majestic water features of The Presidential Palace Abu Dhabi. My hope is that they can help bring peace to this region of the world.

For more about the Presidential Palace, visit our project page.

Image via flickr.