The Middle East has a modern industry history of being home to some of the most magnificently monolithic architecture and construction projects in the world. Rich in oil, areas like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and their neighbours, are home to some of the greatest and fastest industry movements globally. These multi-billion developments have, however, seen a stall in recent times, with the region hard hit by the 2007-2010 Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
The GFC stalled a barrage of ventures, and many feared that the great opulence of these Middle Eastern gems would be lost forever. But it is now emerging that they have a little more staying power than that.
In addition to the industry forecast that Saudi Arabian construction is set to grow 4% in four years, across the border Abu Dhabi has just been honoured with one of the world’s most prestigious design awards, reaffirming the country’s position as an industry leader.
Capital Gate, the world renowned ‘leaning tower of Abu Dhabi’ was awarded the highly coveted Best Overall Project of the Year 2011 and Best Commercial/Mixed Use Project at the Cityscape Global Awards for Architecture in Emerging Markets.
Designed by RMJM architecture firm under developers Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), the 160 metre skyscraper holds a barrage of achievements including the 2010 Guinness World Record for the “World’s furthest leaning man-made tower” beating out the Leaning Tower of Pisa by more than four times.
The skyscraper’s lean is in fact one of the most spectacular design features to the building, which also allows for its stainless steel ‘splash’, which is in fact a a highly intelligent shading system that filters 30% of solar heat before it’s the building, very relevant in a city where summer temperature reach well into the high 40’s.
The twist at the base of the building offers further protection from radiant heat and glare.
Although incredible design features, it is the building’s iconic status that was the true clincher for jury, with RMJM design principle Jonathan Knight citing its modern cultural relevance as the winning feature.
“The complex tower provides Abu Dhabi with a signature building that highlights the city’s growth and progression” he says.
The win is a much-needed booster for the Middle Eastern industry. Falling from glory after the GFC it is important that the world is aware of the wonderful work that is still being undertaken in these construction centres. With the work rising and positive recognition being promoted once more, in time, we may yet see the second rising of the great Middle Eastern design and construction industry.