St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, United Arab Emirates

February 2012 saw the official opening of one of Saadiyat’s most anticipated projects – the stunning new St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.

Saadiyat Island is an extraordinary 27 km² island situated 500 meters offshore of the capital city of Abu Dhabi. The developers, Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), have transformed the island into a signature tourist, leisure, residential and cultural destination, and the St. Regis Saadiyat Island resort and precinct forms part of a masterplan which will soon see the island become home to the famed Guggenheim and Louvre museums.

In 2007, Aurecon was appointed to undertake all the geotechnical and structural engineering services as well as the design of roads, storm water and bulk earthworks. We also provided full-time construction supervision on site.

The resort boasts 377 rooms, a banquet hall capable of seating 3 000 people, as well as seven apartment blocks (259 apartments) and a 6 000 sqm retail component, amongst others.

The size of the project required that Aurecon maintain meticulous focus in terms of producing and reviewing drawings. Due to last-minute client changes, the design of the end product had to be improved after construction had already commenced. The design programme was demanding and at times drawings were fast-tracked to construction within hours.

A year into construction, the significant project expansion of the 3 000-seater banquet hall was announced. The team’s deadline was extended by just three months to accommodate this change.

Challenging features of the design for the roof structure included the main span of 50.35 m, the high loadings to be catered for, and the limitation on deflection to ensure trouble-free operation of the acoustic partitions.

To meet the strict design criteria, Aurecon ramped up its resources at short notice and put together teams specifically for the banquet hall design. 

As Saadiyat Island is founded on natural land, it was critical that Aurecon’s geotechnical team conduct a thorough assessment. Several metres of compressible and liquefiable material, which could react as a fluid during a seismic event, had to be treated.

This stabilisation process was critical to ensure proper founding conditions, mitigating the risk of seismic-induced liquefaction and ensuring the stability of platform side slopes and other excavations envisaged for the proposed developments.

Innovative resourcing was key to the project’s success. The entire project was from the onset split up and the work divided between dedicated teams of engineers. This helped us to maintain tight control on different aspects of the project and their accompanying construction programmes. In addition, technical input from across the group ensured that the very best international expertise was applied.

We are proud to have been involved in a project that is being hailed a masterful success by residents and tourists alike.

Additional sources: www.tdic.ae.