Construction Decade in Review: 2011 - The Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi

With a new decade nearly upon us, we decided to reflect on the events of the past 10 years, and the impact they’ve had on the construction industry. Here’s something that caught our eye in 2011…

Forty years ago, the desert horizons of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would’ve seemed an unlikely place to build world-record-setting skyscrapers like Dubai’s 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa.

Now, the UAE has become synonymous with its skyscrapers. And in 2011, the Abu Dhabi skyline saw the completion of yet another record breaking building.

Reaching 160 metres into the sky, Capital Gate is Abu Dhabi’s very own Leaning Tower of Pisa. In fact, the building leans westward by a full 18 degrees, more than four times as much as Pisa’s iconic tower.

Designed by architectural firm RMJM, the building features a diagonal grid (diagrid), which has been specially designed to absorb and channel the forces created by wind and seismic loading, as well as the gradient of the building itself.

It’s one of only a handful of diagrid buildings in the world, alongside London’s Gherkin, New York’s Hearst Tower, and Beijing’s National Stadium.

A key feature of the tower is its internal atrium, which rises to a cantilevered lounge and swimming pool suspended 80 metres above the ground. Another innovation is the building’s external lighting, which has been designed to minimise both light pollution and energy consumption.

In Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi now has the ‘world’s furthest leaning man made building’, as recognised by Guiness World Records.

More posts in our ‘Construction Decade in Review’ series

2010: How a fragile coalition set the stage for the decade

2012: Construction takes gold

2013: Help to Buy mortgage scheme launches

2014: Construction health and safety failings hit home

2015: Construction Design and Management Regulations come into force

2016: Modernise or die – a shocking message to the sector


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About the Author: Arthur Eyles

Arthur is our digital media expert and video specialist. He works across all our client accounts, creating multimedia content for PR and marketing campaigns.

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