Helix Hotel by Leeser Architecture At Abu Dhabi

New York design firm Leeser Architecture have won a competition to design a hotel in the Zayed Bay district of Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Called the Helix for its spiraling floors, the hotel is located in the bay and sits partially over the water.
The building includes a glass-bottomed swimming pool on the roof, visible eight floors below, and a running track on the fifth floor.
It will be part of a new waterfront development in Abu Dhabi, adjacent to the Sheik Zayed Bridge by Zaha Hadid Architects that is currently under construction.
Here’s some more information from Leeser Architecture:

Iconic design and state of the art technology create dynamic mini-city in the UAE
Leeser Architecture, an internationally recognized design firm, has won an invited competition for a five-star luxury hotel in the Zayed Bay in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Called the Helix Hotel for its staggered floor plates, it rests in the bay, partially floating in the water and adjacent to the serpentine Sheik Zayed Bridge currently under construction by designer Zaha Hadid. With the Helix, Leeser Architecture has devised a new way to consider hotel culture in the Emirates, highlighting elements that are usually unseen, and playfully enlivening those parts that traditionally remain static and mundane.
The commission was the result of an invited competition held by Al Qudra Real Estate in partnership with QP International, both local Abu Dhabi holdings groups with projects featured across the UAE. Zayed Bay will be a comprehensive development built along a new road, and the site will include office buildings as well as condominiums and retail along the water. The Helix is the centerpiece of this new development.
With 208 guest rooms and suites arranged around a helical floor, the hotel immediately dispenses with the idea that visitors must engage in the stale paradigms of rigid hallways and atria that characterize a typical hotel stay. The floor constantly shifts in width and pitch as it rises to the top floor, keeping public spaces always in flux. No two rooms positioned across from each other have exact views to the other side, already pulling the visitor out of the pedestrian and into the hotel’s uniquely urban world. As the helix winds upward, programmatic elements change from lounges and restaurants on the bay, to meeting rooms and conference facilities, to lounges and cafes, to the luxury indoor-outdoor health spa on the fifth floor, to, finally, the upper pool deck on the roof. The running track on the fifth floor represents the only moment when the ramping ceases and a flat surface prevails – a sleight of hand on the architect’s part, and an unexpected luxury that fit vacationers can enjoy in the cooler months.
Conceptually, the Helix Hotel participates in a critical dialogue between opulence and urbanness, between the variety of services offered by a small city and the demands of a five-star hotel guest. The floor suggests the curves a winding street would take through a bustling town, and many programmatic elements are open to views from across the central void. Though the void seems to offer unmitigated visibility, there are enclaves for private meetings and guest privacy. It is designed so that one activity feeds into the next rather than affecting sharp separations between each activity. In this way it develops a feeling of being free to whimsically experience all aspects of the hotel without having to decide on an agenda in advance.
On the luxury side of vacation culture, there are playful elements that make the hotel a designer destination in an iconic setting. From the outset, it is as much a showplace for the abundance of opulent life as it is a fully incorporated urban experience. For example, the building has a functional reverse fountain, which drops water from the ceiling down through the void to the lower lobby. At the entry, valets drive clients’ cars into the car park, which, rather than being predictably above ground or underneath the hotel, is situated instead under the bay. Cars are literally driven into the water.
As guests make their way up to their suites, remarkable views out onto the Zayed Bay become even more dramatic on the upper floors. At the top of the Helix, the rooftop pool deck features a full sized swimming pool with a glass bottom, with the water and swimmers visible from eight floors below at ground level. In the restaurant below the lobby, the bay’s waves are so near to the floor plate that they lap up onto the edge of the restaurant inside of the glass curtain wall. The wall retracts, revealing a sweeping breeze.
While focusing on unique design, Leeser Architecture is also committed to sound sustainability practices and worked with consultant Atelier Ten to determine the best possible conditions and materials for heat and energy conservation. The indoor waterfall allows for the accumulation of heat inside the hotel to be minimal by filtering cool water back up into the system as it falls through the void. In the sub-lobby, a dynamic glass wall is built from the base of the second floor down into the water. The wall acts as a curtain would, opening when the weather is cool enough and closing when it is too hot for exposure to the desert air. Portions of the outside surface are clad in panels made of a new material called GROW, which has both photovoltaic and wind harnessing capabilities.
Consultants on the project include ARUP (structural and mechanical design) and Atelier 10 (environmental and green design).

The World Famous Indian Director Pan Nalin

Birth Name
Nalin Kumar Pandya
Mini Biography
Pan Nalin, came into global limelight with his debut feature Samsara.

Nalin, a self-taught filmmaker, was born in a remote village in Gujarat, India. The richest thing his family gave to him was his spiritual upbringing. As a child, Nalin disliked schools; instead he used to paint and draw. He also actively staged mythological dramas and folk plays.

However, he only saw his first movie at age of nine - since that day he always wanted to make movies. Later, as a teenager, he left his village in pursuit of cinema. After studies in Fine Arts at the M.S. University of Baroda, Nalin went to learn Design at the prestigious NID (National Institute of Design). After shooting some four animation and twenty short silent films, Nalin concluded that the best film school is life itself.

He traveled widely all over India and finally moved to Mumbai (Bombay) where he worked as production runner. In no time the producers recognized Nalin's talent and offered him a chance to direct commercials and corporate films.

Nalin lived in USA and UK for a short period and then set out for six-month long nomadic existence in Europe. On returning to India, he roamed the Himalayas deep and wide -in search of his voice. After a long process of unlearning, he developed ideas for several feature films -and started writing.

Nalin also experimented with the short fiction film forms. He also made several documentaries with BBC, Discovery, Canal Plus and other leading international networks. His multiple award winning feature documentary Ayurveda: Art of Being was theatrically released worldwide with major success. Ayurveda celebrated a yearlong theatrical run in Spain and record-breaking three-year long run in France. The film met with similar success in USA, Canada, Germany, Holland...

His first feature film Samsara was a massive commercial and critical success worldwide and won him some thirty plus international awards. Many critics and spectators considered Samsara a groundbreaking film. Samsara grossed US$ 22 million plus (without USA, UK & Japan) till this date. Miramax/Disney has acquired Samsara for the USA.

Nalin's latest feature film Valley of Flowers was pres-sold to nearly 35 countries and is considered a major underground hit. It still continues to enjoy theatrical release with critical and commercial success worldwide. Valley of Flowers was filmed in remote, high altitude Himalayas and in Japan. Valley of Flowers won Best Picture at IFFLA Los Angles, also won four nominations at IAAC New York, including The Best Picture and The Best Director.

At present, Nalin is working on few English and Hindi language pictures, the line-up includes a film on life of Buddha, a mega action-adventure epic The First Warrior and supernatural thriller titled H2O.

For 2010, United Nations Patronage project Visual Telegrams invited 30 popular filmmakers from 30 countries to make a short film on our environment. Pan Nalin is among the invitees and only Indian to join leagues of well know directors like Stephen Frears, Paul Haggis, Rachid Buchareb...

In 2006 Pan Nalin was awarded Spain's highly prestigious award Vida Sana for his contribution to the ecology, thus an earth keeper. Also in 2007, TMG (David Flint's Triangle Media Group UK) awarded Pan Nalin as one of the Top 50 Achievers in Global Mainstream Media in the field of Film, Theatre & Drama.

Pan Nalin has also served as Jury member at many prestigious International Film Festivals along with international celebrities like; Roman Polanski, Maria Medeiros, Jamel Debouze, Ludivine Sagnier, David Wenham, Paz Vega, Sandrine Bonnaire & Teddy Chan.

Pan Nalin is probably the only Indian screenwriter to be twice invited to a prestigious Screenwriter's lab Equinoxe along with top Hollywood screenwriters like; Ron Bass (Rainman..), David and Janet People (Unforgiven, Blade Runner...) Jim Hart (Dracula, Contact, Lara Croft), and Shane Black, (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang...) among others. Legendary Diva of French Cinema Jeanne Moreau headed the writer's lab.

On many occasions Pan Nalin has also been invited to conduct workshop or to be on panels at many prestigious literature, arts or media conclaves. The recent one being at the Jaipur Literature Festival where Nalin was invited for « Art of Adaptation for Screen » conclave with Oscar winner Christopher Hampton. Nalin was also invited, along with the delegation headed by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan; to be on the panel for France-India Coproduction forum at Salon du Cinema in Paris.
Lives and works in France & India. Post-Samsara he was being chased by many Hollywood agents and producers.
He has done indepth research on Asian Martial Arts and met some of the greatest masters, yet unknown to the world.
As a teenager, he ran a film club in India and has the biggest collection of world cinema.
He writes all his scripts in English but has made films in Hindi, Japanese, Tibetan, Manipuri and English.
Lived among Rastafarians in Jamaica.
He is considered a great savy of Asian Religions and Spirituality, Martial Arts, Literature and Cinema. Has done groundbreaking work on the life of Buddha and Bodhidharma in India, Japan, China & Korea.
Taking inspiration from "Notes on the Cinematographer" a book by Robert Bresson, Pan Nalin has written a book titled "Notes on the Zenematographer."
Awarded, along with M. Night Shyamalan, as one of the Top 50 Achievers in Global Mainstream Media in the field of Film, Theater & Drama by TMG in UK (David Flint's Triangle Media Group).
At an age of 24, One of the first job as director, Nalin directed six episodes on Jazz Fusion in India starring Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Stephane Grappelli, L. Shankar and Alla Rakha.
Pan Nalin, at an age of 22, created a TV series concept together with India's most famous cartoonist R.K. Laxman. In their idea the main central character never speaks. Later the same concept became all time successful TV series in India known as Wagle ki Duniya. However the producers did not keep the hero silent!.

Personal Quotes
Acting is an act of self realization but in an other self then yours.
Working with actors is to understand non-actor within them. Working with non-actors is to understand actor within them.
If Cinema is a manifestation of our life than keep dialogs to minimum or avoid the over-use. Ninety percent of our life we spend in silence, we live in silence.
Invention of the tripod was the best thing that happened to the photography and worst to the cinematography.
We all meet to celebrate life and depart to create memories.
Image is seen by eyes. Sound is seen by mind. Together the images they form are seen by soul.
Do not act to tell stories but act to create a true-self. All true-self have true stories tell.
One and only instruction to actors: Do Not Act.
To my cinematographer friends: one of the best quality of light is to travel through clouds... use it, life is not only sunshine!
Children are like animal and animal are like children. If by nature, you do not posses qualities to be patient then never cast them.
Feeling is seeing. Feeling makes process of seeing complete.
Do not tell divine stories with human camera angles.
Time, sometime, exists just off the frame because there is Space!
If light is space and form then darkness is time. When we watch movies, sixty percent of the story is told by light and forty percent is by darkness.
Lighting creates gravity, darkness creates anti-gravity. Correct combination of both could create time.
Anti-gravity image is lighter. Tripod is 'heavy' for the image as it creates right-side-up notions. As a kid half the world I saw was upside down.
Image is light but cinematic images are light and darkness. So, do not light the scene, light the darkness.
Empty the frame, because void is to be filled (maybe with mind). Void is nothingness. Nothing is Zero (Shunyata) but add zero to any number and its power increases tremendously. Add "void" to actors, spaces and time to enhance their power.
Empty the frame, cause presence of 'someone' or 'something' lies in its absence. Make absence presence.