One Za'abeel

One Za’abeel is an engineering first and is set to be a Middle East icon.


With its two towers connected by a steel bridge structure, which will extend as the world’s longest cantilever, One Za’abeel is set to become the next iconic building in Dubai. With its central location and its engineering a world first, this mixed-use sustainable development will be a modern hub for a variety of residents and visitors.

The residential tower will be 54 floors high with 145 simplex and duplex apartments. The second tower will be 67 floors and will host an ultra-luxury hotel, serviced apartments, offices and the Investment Corporation of Dubai’s new HQ. The two towers will have 7 basement levels and a four level podium above ground which will house retail, restaurants, social space and conference halls. Above the podium, the towers will be connected by the 228 m link bridge with 66 m-long cantilever link, which will be 100 metres above ground, and 87 metres above the elevated  highway running between the towers. The link will be the longest cantilever in the world to span from a tower.

The link will include restaurants, a 140-metre-long rooftop pool and panoramic views of Za’abeel Park, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Creek, Burj Khalifa and the dual carriageway below that goes through the two towers. Currently being built on the podium, the link bridge along with cantilever will be completed at that level and then lifted into place to connect the buildings. The 8,250-ton link bridge will take 4 days to lift and requires bespoke temporary steel gantry structures to be built and partially embedded into the permanent concrete walls.

One Za’abeel is just as impressive below ground, going down 38.5 metres and spanning 7 floors the basement will be in the deepest in the Middle East, using the space for over 2500 car parks, storage and maintenance rooms – maximizing above ground efficiency. The enabling works for the basement took 24 months to complete, and the unprecedented depth required new techniques to dehydrate, cure and stabilise the concrete.

The two towers and associated basements are connected by two underground tunnels at basement 2 and basement 1 levels. The design and construction of the Tunnel was complicated due to the proximity with the existing overhead highway bridge piers and its foundations.



Our client, Ithra Dubai, is targeting LEED Gold certification for the building. The development is designed to incorporate high standards in sustainability with a focus on energy and water efficiency, improved indoor air quality, thermal comfort and waste reduction. This commitment supports the Dubai vision to be one of the top sustainable cities in the world.

For example, the building façade is engineered to reduce heat gains, thereby reducing the cooling energy demand necessary to maintain comfort in the building as compared to typical developments across the region. In addition, there is an efficient irrigation system, and Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) is used to further reduce potable water consumption.

Moreover, the fresh air supply rates have been designed in line with the international standard ASHRAE 62.1, to guarantee sufficient air exchange. Products with low-volatile organic compounds (materials, paints, adhesives) have been carefully selected during the fit-out to reduce the impact on human health for end users.


Technical Challenges

Being such a unique project, One Za’abeel has had a number of technical challenges that the WSP team played a key leadership role in developing innovative solutions for including offsetting both buildings, building the one-of-a-kind cantilever launcher on site and accommodating a live highway going right through the middle of the two connected towers. This was a major achievement as the teams were fully aware of the requirements and limitations.

The WSP scope for One Za’abeel is: 

•           Architect of Record
•           Geotechnical Engineering
•           Structural Engineering
•           Building Services (MEP) including AV/IT
•           Utilities
•           Fire & Life Safety
•           Vertical Transport
•           Acoustic
•           Waste management
•           LEED


We would like to thank the developer, Ithra Dubai, for having the foresight to deliver such a bold world-first project.