Last year was indeed a remarkable year for tall buildings with a total of 73 buildings over 200 meters being constructed worldwide. More interestingly, a record-breaking 53 skyscrapers were built in Asia and the Middle East itself.
The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has reviewed 2013 as the second most successful year on record for skyscraper construction, up 318 percent since 2000. Asia currently holds 45 percent of the tallest buildings in hand across the globe, with 37 skyscrapers of over 200 meters spread across 22 different cities, with China leading the list.
Dubai’s skyline also continues to grow, with the 72-storey JW Marriott Marquis Hotel last year becoming the world’s tallest hotel and the 823-m Burj Khalifa (163 floors) retaining the top spot globally. South Korea is also mentioned in the statistics, with nine skyscrapers completed last year.
Skyscraper construction is booming across the Middle East with nearly 300 buildings over 150m tall expected by 2015, with the majority planned for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and followed by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain respectively. Being the host country to the World Expo 2020, UAE is currently ranked among the fastest growing real estate markets in the world that will have 192 skyscrapers rising above 150m in height by the end of next year. The host city Dubai would be housing 149 of these towers, and with an estimate of $6.8bn being invested in the run up to Expo2020 we can safely assume heightened construction of hotels and offices.
In order to stand out from the crowd, architects are designing incredibly complex and tall structures. For instance, the iconic structure of Kingdom Tower that is expected to be constructed at a cost of $1.2bn will be at least 173 meters taller than Burj Khalifa. The tower is under construction at present and is reported to be completed by 2017. Such massive developments are making topics like innovative and sustainable products, advanced technology and safety from fire rapidly popular. It is increasingly important that tall buildings connect with the urban fabric, integrating with the existing city/street life, and reflect the nature of the city in which they are built.
One of the reasons skyscrapers are now being built at such speed is because of prefabrication technology and innovation in 3D printers that a lot of the developers are betting their buck on. The notion of prefabrication was brought into the mainstream by China’s Sky City that aimed to be the world’s tallest building developed in only 90 days, however now indefinitely on hold in the midst of legal uncertainties. This doesn’t negate the fact that the same firm has already successfully built a 30 floor high tower hotel in Shanghai in 15 days using modular prefabricated parts. New materials such as self-healing bio concrete and solar polymers are the latest trends in face-lifting stereotype construction to become more sustainable. Prefab architecture is exponentially cheaper, faster and safer than conventional building techniques, and the materials are arguably stronger and better quality.
As the buildings grow up, the logistic demands also tend to increase. People in the 828m high Burj Khalifa tower for instance, currently have to switch elevators to go beyond 500m. The sheer weight of the rope doesn’t allow elevators to travel higher than 500m. New innovative carbon core technology is now being explored in the market that is super-light and may just be one of the most important breakthroughs in vertical transportation.
UAE has also not been far behind when it comes to innovation. For instance, Abu Dhabi’s Al Bahar Towers built in 2012 took cues from the traditional Mashrabiya shading system, using it in a modern way that earned them the 2012 CTBUH Tall Building Innovation Award. The responsive façade created by Aedus design team responds to the movement of the sun reducing solar gain and glare that over all decreases the building’s need for energy-draining air conditioning.
Brainstorming on such innovative yet sustainable products will take place at Smart Skyscrapers Summit 2014, bringing together over 300 experts on 28th – 29th April, 2014 at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa organized by Expotrade Middle East. “With a surge in the number of tall building projects being undertaken in Dubai and across the GCC, it is an important time for the involved stakeholders to share best practice strategies and learn about the new technology available on the market. Smart Skyscrapers Summit is a platform where senior architects, designers, engineers, developers, contractors, policy-makers and those companies providing quality solutions can see presentations from tall buildings experts, learn of the upcoming projects and shake hands with the construction industry ‘who’s who’”, says the organizer.
The 2 day conference will witness big players like Emirates Steel, the only integrated steel manufacturer in the UAE and the Platinum Sponsor of the Summit showcasing its product range and expertise in steel. Gold Sponsors Al Ghurair Construction, Dow Corning, ABB will also be seen discussing their future plans towards creating sustainable buildings in the region, sharing insights on advances in technology as the requirements continue to grow. Other sponsors of the event include Silver Sponsor UL, Lunch Sponsors Delmatic and National Engineering Bureau (NEB), and Lounge Exhibitors Steinel Professional, Omega Elevators and Unibeton Ready Mix.
Source: CTBUH, Expotrade Global, Venture Onsite
Dept. of Marketing and Communications.