Huge Gehry clubhouse for Saadiyat


Huge Gehry clubhouse for Saadiyat
Sean Dudley

Legendary architect Frank Gehry is to design his first golf clubhouse, for the Saadiyat Beach course in Abu Dhabi.

The clubhouse plans were revealed this week at the official opening of the course, a Gary Player signature design. Government-owned developer Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), has hired Gehry’s firm to create a vast clubhouse with a total floorspace of 18,000 sq m (194,000 sq ft), including a 26-room boutique hotel, two restaurants and a spa, as well as the more usual facilities. 

 The clubhouse has been designed to meet Estidama regulations, the Abu Dhabi-specific building sustainability methodology, and is scheduled to be completed in 2013. TDIC will put the project out to tender later this year.

 “We wanted someone who could push design boundaries to create visual architecture that makes bold statements. Frank Gehry ticks that box emphatically,” said Ahmed Hussein, the chief operating officer of TDIC and deputy director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. 

TDIC is developing a range of attractions on Saadiyat Island, including the Zayed National Museum, designed by Lord Norman Foster, Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel, and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, also designed by Gehry.

“We are just at the beginning of the detailed design of the clubhouse and are very pleased with the progress thus far. The design is intended to be an ephemeral mirage floating above the greens,” said Gehry. 

Saadiyat Beach got its global public debut this week with the staging of an international charity tournament hosted by Gary Player and featuring the likes of Rory McIlroy, Sam Torrance, Darren Clarke and Catriona Matthew.

For a detailed review of Saadiyat Beach, see the January 2010 issue of GCA.