Etisalat's 'golf ball' fails to weather storm
Iconic structure in Abu Dhabi to be brought down as it is no longer safe
Etisalat confirmed on Monday that it is bringing down the 'golf ball' placed atop its headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
Severely damaged during last Wednesday's storm, the iconic orb-shaped feature is no longer safe.
"We are working to dismantle the spherical structure atop our main Abu Dhabi Headquarters building for safety reasons, following the damage caused to the structure during last week's storm," said an etisalat statement for Khaleej Times.
"Spherical structures on other etisalat buildings across the UAE will not be impacted by this decision," added the statement.
The 27-floor building and its 'golf ball' was designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson and built in 2001. The spherical structures actually house the telecommunication company's transmitters and receivers providing satellite and mobile phone connections throughout the UAE.
Throughout the country, there are nine etisalat golf ball buildings, but after the headquarters loses its spherical crown, only eight will still stand. Etisalat could not specify at this time whether it will build another orb structure for its head office building. Until the structure is removed, which will take days, at least 100 metres perimetre around the building has been closed to all traffic, for safety reasons. Located in the heart of the city, the area is densely populated with residential towers, including the Marks and Spencer complex, which houses a popular shopping centre.
"I live in the Marks and Spencer building, which is right next to the etisalat tower and yes, since the storm the roads around it have been closed," said Martin Laurence, a British resident here.
"The authorities have been very helpful and patient, though," he added. Laurence, who takes a taxi to and from work every day, said he has to walk a couple of blocks.
In the beginning of the week a massive crane arrived at the scene and scaffolding was built around the golf ball. But how long it will take to dismantle one of the city's icon remains unknown.
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