joi, 15 ianuarie 2009

Advanced Technology Gives Shape to Middle East’s Most Iconic Building

An advanced building technique is being used to shape one of the world’s most iconic buildings, Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi. The diagrid technology has only been used on a few high-profile international buildings, including the Hearst Tower in New York City, the Swiss Re building («the Gherkin») in London and the CCTV headquarters tower in Beijing. The system requires less structural steel than a conventional steel frame, reducing costs and benefiting the environment. The diagrid is formed by creating triangular structures with diagonal support beams.

Capital Gate, which has applied to the Guinness World Record for the «world’s most inclined building» is being built by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) and is designed by UK-based international architects RMJM. The building’s structural steel diagrid has now reached level eight of the 35 storey, 160 metre building and the core is at level 11. The diagrid will now begin to curve westward as the tower’s unique leaning posture becomes visible.

Simon Horgan, ADNEC Group CEO said, «Capital Gate will be an international icon for the emirate of Abu Dhabi and for ADNEC. When Abu Dhabi undertakes a project it does so with one aim – to be the best; the incredible technical achievement and aesthetic splendour of Capital Gate ensures it will be regarded around the world as one of the most magnificent buildings ever constructed.»

«Globally, diagrid structures have been emerging as a new design trend for tall buildings with their powerful structural rationale and aesthetic potential», said Gordon Affleck, Design Principal for RMJM Middle East. «ADNEC’s Capital Gate iconic tower will be the first building in Abu Dhabi to use this technique.»

The total weight of Capital Gate’s steel is estimated to be around 21,500 tonnes which compares favourably to the 110,000 tonnes used to build Beijing’s Bird’s Nest, the 50,000 tonnes estimated for the CCTV tower in Beijing and the 36,910 tonnes of steel used in Malaysia’s Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Capital Gate’s diagrid is subdivided into 722 elements and approximately 8,500 structural steel beams for the entire building. Each diagrid element weighs approximately 15 tonnes and sports a painted finish.

The building’s decorative splash is designed to mimic a wave. Besides providing an innovative sun shade for the Capital Gate tower itself, the splash also provides a new and creative treatment for the roof of the existing Grandstand canopy in the adjoining Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Grandstand. The splash is a completely independent structure made of structural steel I-beams fixed to the main building structure.

Capital Gate is being constructed on top of a 2 metre deep concrete base filled with an incredibly dense mesh of reinforced steel. This base sits above an intensive distribution of 490 piles which have been drilled 30 metres underground to accommodate the gravitational, wind and seismic pressures caused by the lean of the building.

Capital Gate will accommodate the 5-star Hyatt at Capital Centre hotel and will provide the most exclusive office space in Abu Dhabi.

The iconic tower forms a major part of the Capital Centre development, an AED 8 billion (US$2.2 billion) business and residential micro city being constructed around the thriving Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

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