Launch Slideshow

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is famous for building tall, but with the firm's new residential development in Dubai, it is building thin as well.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is famous for building tall, but with the firm's new residential development in Dubai, it is building thin as well.

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    The cable structure on the surface of the eight perimeter tubes that make up the Al Sharq tower comprises a series of individual cables-up to 2 inches in diameter and spaced 60 inches apart-that skim the surface and are anchored to the structural members of the shear walls extending out from the core. The tubes taper as the shear walls between them get thicker at the building's base, and the cables are gathered and attached in groups to the building's foundation.

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    Floor plan The residential units (the lowest of which is 130 feet off the ground to ensure good views) can occupy multiple clover-leaf spaces created by the gathered tubes. The building has amenities floors above the 82-foot-tall lobby and at the penthouse level, plus three full floors to accommodate the massive M/E/P system.

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    Typical unit The residential units (the lowest of which is 130 feet off the ground to ensure good views) can occupy multiple clover-leaf spaces created by the gathered tubes. The building has amenities floors above the 82-foot-tall lobby and at the penthouse level, plus three full floors to accommodate the massive M/E/P system.

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    Structural cable system The core has reinforced concrete shear walls that extend out to the perimeter between each cable-wrapped tube. This extensive structural support is what allows the tower's height on such a small footprint.

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    The core has reinforced concrete shear walls that extend out to the perimeter between each cable-wrapped tube. This extensive structural support is what allows the tower's height on such a small footprint.

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    The core has reinforced concrete shear walls that extend out to the perimeter between each cable-wrapped tube. This extensive structural support is what allows the tower's height on such a small footprint.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is famous for building tall, but with the firm's new residential development in Dubai, it is building thin as well. The 1,180-foot Al Sharq tower has a shockingly sleek 1:10 aspect ratio (the Sears tower, for example, has a ratio of 1:5), which is achieved by gathering nine 40-foot-diameter tubes (each with a 1:30 aspect ratio) into a cell-like matrix. The center “tube” is a concrete core, with reinforced shear walls that are 50 inches thick at the base and taper to 23 inches thick at the upper levels. The shear walls extend slightly from the core to serve as support between each of the eight perimeter tubes, making the core resemble a slightly truncated tic-tac-toe board. Each of the eight surrounding tubes is wrapped on the bias in 0.6-inch- to 2-inch-diameter high-strength galvanized steel wire, spaced every 60 inches and anchored back to the shear walls that extend between each tube. Each floor plate is a nearly 8-inch-thick two-way slab of concrete, leaving an overall ceiling height in each unit of between 11 and 16 feet, depending on the floor level. “As a structural design, I think it is worthy, beautiful, and perhaps even innovative,” said juror Coleman Coker.

 

  • Gary Haney

    Credit: Bruce Byers

    Gary Haney

PROJECT Al Sharq Tower

LOCATION Dubai, U.A.E.

ARCHITECT Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), New York—Gary Haney (design partner, pictured); Peter Magill (managing partner); Mark Sarkisian (structural partner); Aybars Asci (senior designer); Chas Peppers, Dean Mckenzie, Yasemin Kologlu, Noppon Pisutharnon, Souraya Daouk (project team)

ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT Khatib & Alami, Dubai, U.A.E.

YEAR FOUNDED 1936

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 1,400

ENGINEERS SOM, San Francisco (structural); SOM, Chicago (M/E/P)

CONSULTANTS Shen Milsom & Wilke (A/V, security, acoustics); Van Deusen & Associates (vertical transport); Office for Visual Interaction (lighting); Mott MacDonald (quantity surveyors)

CLIENT Al Sharq Investment

COST withheld

SIZE 1 million square feet

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