If you are in Abu Dhabi and hold this guide in your hands, don’t read further. Go out and start walking. Take the materials with you: this Issue features articles about thirty modernist buildings that you definitely want to explore. Look at them from all angles, walk around them, talk to their inhabitants.
In January 2014, students of my Modern Architecture in Abu Dhabi class researched and wrote this guide. They documented buildings by visiting them and interviewing their tenants, their managers, and sometimes their architects. They explored local archives at the National Archives. They held conversations with several architects, urban planners, and architecture enthusiasts. They collectively wrote the introduction about the story of urbanism and architecture in Abu Dhabi.
The publication of an architecture guide in such a short time is a feat, and I thank all those who have made it possible. Many thanks to Abdul Rahman Makhlouf, Amel Chabbi, Carol Brandt, Deborah Bentley, Hanan Sayed Worrell, Hasan Al Mesaabi, Hilary Ballon, Jayson Cabrera, Katya Grim, Kevin O’Brien, Olivia Duncan, Rand Abbas, Rebecca Pittam, Shamsa Al Qubaisi, and Yasser Elsheshtawy. Many thanks also to Duaa Mohamed Awad and Rima Raghib Sanjuq, students at the Abu Dhabi University, who authored the map that informed the maps we created. I am very grateful to the National Archives for their warm welcome and their help, the Tourism and Culture Authority, and the Urban Planning Council. My special gratitude goes to Mo Ogrodnik, Sherri Wasserman, and the team of FIND, who have made this Issue possible.
I hope The Abu Dhabi Guide will help visitors and residents find their way through the fascinating landscape of the city. By exploring landmarks that were built between 1968 and 1992, it sheds light on the continuity between the beginnings of Abu Dhabi and its current global projects. This guide’s ambition is to be a conversation starter. Let’s keep talking.