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June 10, 2009

World’s Most Leaning Tower Reaches Halfway Point

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

As the world’s eyes follow the development of the Capital Gate tower in Abu Dhabi – which will become the most leaning building on Earth – the international architects RMJM have confirmed that it has successfully reached the critical half-way point.

Capital Gate, which is being built by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), will lean 18 degrees westward, 14 degrees more than the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The design of the central core of the building, which slants in the opposite direction to the lean of the building, straightening as it grows, has never been attempted before.

“When complete, Capital Gate will be a modern day icon for Abu Dhabi, recognizable throughout the world. Capital Gate is not about being the biggest or the tallest, it is about advanced technical ingenuity and aesthetic splendor,” said Simon Horgan, ADNEC Group CEO. “This is one of the most challenging buildings under construction in the world at the moment but due to the partnership between ADNEC, RMJM and all contractors on the project, ground breaking solutions are being designed on a daily basis.”

Tony Archibold, RMJM Project Director, added: “Passing the half-way point in development is a great success and we are now entering a critical period in Capital Gate’s development. While we are facing some of our toughest architectural challenges, it is also the beginning of the most exciting stage as the structure takes shape.”

A gigantic internal atrium, including a tea lounge and swimming pool suspended 263 feet above the ground, has been constructed on the 17th and 18th floors, the halfway point of the 35-story, 525-foot tall tower. This milestone offered the designers their toughest architectural challenge and it is at this point that the unique lean of the structure becomes evident.

Because of its unique posture, the 35-story Capital Gate is being constructed on top of a 7-foot-deep concrete base with a dense mesh of reinforced steel. The steel exoskeleton known as the diagrid sits above an extensive distribution of 490 piles that have been drilled 100 feet underground to accommodate the gravitational, wind and seismic pressures caused by the lean of the building.

Capital Gate will house Abu Dhabi ‘s first Hyatt hotel – Hyatt at Capital Centre, a presidential-style luxury, 5-star hotel and will provide 200 hotel rooms for Abu Dhabi and will serve ADNEC’s visitors and exhibitors as well as international business and leisure travelers.

The iconic tower will be the centerpiece of the Capital Centre development, an AED 8 billion ($2.2 billion) business and residential micro city being constructed around the thriving Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

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