Evolution of the Structural Form to Achieve Elegant Dubai Towers

Frank Cerra
Managing Director
BG&E, Sydney

Dubai has been a city of enormous growth over the past twenty years, evolving from the first Emirates Towers to now a modern polycentric City with a captivating skyline.
Evolution of the city has encouraged an evolution of structural solutions to support numerous tall towers of varying forms, in a city now globally recognised for tall towers.
The presentation involves three unique landmark Dubai towers namely Vision Tower, JW Marriott Marquis and Index Building with an emphasis on the structural design, efficiencies, buildability in this local context, yet achieving their overall elegance.
Vision Tower is a 270m tall slender eccentric structure multi-sloped form. Its structural challenges kept simplistic with an eccentric concrete core with manageable tensions and no damping requirements.
JW Marriott Marquis twin 355m towers are the tallest dedicated hotel in the world. Pushing boundaries with materials particularly concrete and post-tensioning to achieve an efficient and quick buildable structure. Its overall stability concept built concurrently in a self-climbing form.
The Index building, one of the most unique structural systems and enormously challenging. It does not have a central concrete core box and columns supporting the building for vertical and lateral loading, instead there are concrete portal frames and attenuated buttress walls. Integrated with the portal frames are transfer structures having dual roles for resisting vertical and lateral loads.
A state of the art building like this requires many specialist skills and team effort with the contractor. The construction engineering challenges building complex transfer structures hundreds of metres above ground is one examples.
Overall challenging structural towers of varying form to deliver architectural icons that are serviceable practical buildings for the client and community.