St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Engineering the transformation of an island

Saadiyat Island is an extraordinary 27 km² island situated 500 m offshore of the capital city of Abu Dhabi. The island has been transformed into a signature tourist, leisure, residential and cultural destination.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and precinct forms part of a master plan to eventually establish the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim museums on the island.

This project involved undertaking all the geotechnical and structural engineering services, and the design of roads, stormwater infrastructure, and bulk earthworks, as well as full-time construction supervision on site. The size of the project required meticulous focus in terms of producing and reviewing drawings. Due to late client changes, such as the expansion of the 3,000-seater banquet hall, the design had to be improved after construction had already commenced, making the design programme demanding. The team’s deadline was extended by just three months to accommodate the expansion of the banquet hall.

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.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and precinct forms part of a master plan to eventually establish the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim museums on the island.
Several metres of compressible and liquefiable material, which could react as a fluid during a seismic event, had to be treated.

As Saadiyat Island is founded on natural land, making it critical for the geotechnical team to 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 essential 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.

February 2012 saw the official opening of the stunning new St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. The resort boasts 377 rooms, a banquet hall capable of seating 3,000 people, seven apartment blocks comprising 259 apartments, and a 6 000 m² retail component.

*The Aurecon Africa business has been officially renamed Zutari as at 21 July 2020.
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