Dubai Embraces A New “Twisted” Landmark A&E Speaks To Developer Ahmed Al-Hatti President & Chairman Of The Cayan Group
Dubai embraces a new “twisted” landmark
a&e speaks to developer
President & Chairman of the Cayan Group
There’s a certain something that most people’s photo albums of Dubai have in common. A background that is all too familiar, although the Burj Khalifa being the tallest building in the world is the first structure that comes to mind, a new landmark has been leaving its mark in people’s memories since the day its construction began 7 years ago. Even in its earlier skeleton stages before its final completion, the skyscraper that was formerly known as the “Infinity Tower,” gained extreme popularity amongst worldwide. Today it has recently launched under the name of “Cayan Tower,” after the Saudi-based developing company that acquired its development. Standing, or shall we say twisting, close to the tallest residential building in the world or the Princess Tower, this structure may even be extending the list of properties in Dubai that rank as “tallest” in the world amongst their category. The JW Marriott Marquis located in Business Bay is now the “tallest hotel in the world,” but who would’ve thought we’d have our own “tallest twisted skyscraper” right in our backyard? A building that offers a different view from each floor, since they each face a slightly different degree from the one immediately below. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the engineering and design firm behind the Burj Khalifa, and Cayan Group turned this vision into a reality.
The firm was chosen amongst top architectural and engineering firms that were invited to submit a design with the twisted element being the winning point. Despite the challenges that were faced during the 7 years of construction, the tower was recently launched with celebratory fireworks lighting up the Marina skyline.
The Pharaohs built their pyramids solely depending on human might, maybe with some help from the stars as is claimed, and the Aztecs built their temples to resemble mountains but today, astral devotion won’t do much for a building that turns 90 degrees and rises at about 310 meters into the sky. The tower’s structural system is a high strength, reinforced concrete column superstructure that rotates with the twisting shape to create a helix. The shape and size of these columns is determined by wind tunnel testing and innovative engineering using 3D computer modelling analysis.
Cayan real estate investment and development is set to become one of the world’s leading real estate developers, with a mission to challenge the world of architecture, luxury and exclusivity. CAYAN projects cover the spectrum from exclusive residential property to commercial projects. The company handles every aspect of corporate activities: including sourcing the right location and land for investment; developing the project concept; financial modeling; project management; stakeholder management (including consultants, architects and contractors); shareholder management; and successful project execution.
We spoke to the president of the Cayan Group, Mr. Ahmed Al-Hatti, to hear his thoughts on the completion of the tower and the process of its construction.
Why was Marina chosen as the location?
Dubai Marina is a city-within-a city, possibly the world’s most exclusive waterfront development, where a stylish, refined lifestyle has been created to delight its residents, and we wanted to provide an icon to rise amongst its peers.
Tell us about the twisted shape of the building and what the challenges were in achieving it?
The design philosophy for the Tower is based upon the exterior form of the building as a direct expression of the structural framework. The Engineers studied a series of options for the perimeter frame in order to create the unique twisting geometry of the Tower. Ultimately it was determined that there were distinct advantages, from the standpoint of architectural efficiency, structural performance and ease of construction to stacking the columns in a step-wise manner at each level. Each column slopes in one direction and is offset over the column below, in order to generate the twisting building form. In a distinctive application of architectural expressions through structural form, The Cayan Tower twists a full 90 degrees from its base to its crown 314 meters (1,038 feet) above the ground, through a series of incremental plan rotations at each level.
The dramatic architectural form of the Tower presented the multi-disciplinary design team with unique challenges which are not typically encountered in the design process for more conventional building structures. The efficiency, constructability, and overall viability of the Tower depended upon the ability of the Architects and Engineers to develop and implement simple, straightforward building systems that work with the geometrically complex building form.
Where has this placed Dubai on the architectural world map?
Cayan Tower won “Best Development” and the best International high rise architecture through International property award, as well as the “International Architecture” award through the Chicago Athenaeum.