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06 June 2023

Abu Dhabi's Capital Gate 'steels' the show with diagrid technology

The diagrid technology has been used only on a few buildings globally. (SUPPLIED)

By Staff Writer

An advanced building technique, known as diagrid technology, is being used to shape the iconic Capital Gate building in Abu Dhabi.

The project is being built by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (Adnec) and has been designed by international architects RMJM.

The structural steel diagrid has now reached level eight of the 35-storey, 160-metre tower, with the core at level 11. Formed by creating triangular structures with diagonal support beams, the diagrid will now begin to curve westward as the tower's leaning posture becomes visible.

"Globally, diagrid structures have been emerging as a new design trend for tall buildings with their powerful structural rationale and aesthetic potential," said Gordon Affleck, Design Principal for RMJM Middle East. And Adnec's Capital Gate iconic tower will be the first building in Abu Dhabi to use this technique."

The technology has been used only on a few international buildings, including the Hearst Tower in New York City, the Swiss Re building (the Gherkin) in London and the CCTV headquarters tower in Beijing. The system requires less structural steel than a conventional steel frame, reducing costs and benefiting the environment.

Capital Gate's "diagrid" is subdivided into 722 elements and approximately 8,500 structural steel beams for the entire building. Each "diagrid" element weighs approximately 15 tonnes and sports a painted finish.

Simon Horgan, Adnec Group CEO, said: "Capital Gate will be an international icon for the emirate of Abu Dhabi and for Adnec. When Abu Dhabi undertakes a project it does so with one aim – to be the best; the incredible technical achievement and aesthetic splendour of Capital Gate ensures it will be regarded around the world as one of the most magnificent buildings ever constructed."

Capital Gate has applied to the Guinness World Records for the "world's most inclined building". The total weight of Capital Gate's steel is estimated to be around 21,500 tonnes that compares favourably with the 110,000 tonnes used to build Beijing's Bird's Nest, the 50,000 tonnes estimated for the CCTV tower in Beijing and the 36,910 tonnes of steel used in Malaysia's Petronas Towers.

The building's decorative "splash" is designed to mimic a wave. Besides providing an innovative sun shade for the Capital Gate tower itself, the splash also provides a new and creative treatment for the roof of the existing Grandstand canopy in the adjoining Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Grandstand. The splash is a completely independent structure made of structural steel "I-beams" fixed to the main building structure.