36 of WSP’s projects were featured in the book, including 4 projects that WSP Middle East contributed to; PIF Tower in Riyadh (385 metres), A4 Primo Tower (356 metres) in Dubai, and Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid (381 metres) and ADNOC Headquarters (342 metres) both in Abu Dhabi. 12 WSP projects won Awards of Excellence at this year’s Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Conference, that took place last week in Chicago.
The awards recognise extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and this year’s theme was “Tall excellence: seeking the ideal in vertical urbanism”. WSP representatives from around the world attended and shared their high-rise expertise and experiences, including WSP Middle East’s Director and Managing Director of Property & Buildings, Garald Todd and Mark Farley.
The Address Beach Resort in Dubai’s JBR was one of the 12 that won Awards of Excellence at the CTBUH Awards Conference.
A distinctive addition to Dubai’s iconic skyline, this striking 77-storey mixed use tower reaches a height of 301 metres including five-star hotel suites, residential apartments, shops, ballrooms, and entertainment facilities. Inaugurated in 2021, the resort features the world’s highest infinity pool and the highest occupiable skybridge in the world, with breathtaking views across some of Dubai’s most notable landmarks.
WSP Middle East was appointed by Mirage Leisure & Development as the lead consultant, architect of record, structural engineer, security consultant, and fire & life safety consultant. The team helped solve engineering complexities including strand jacking a 650-tonne skybridge to the top of the 77-storey structure.
To learn more about this unique project, including the challenges faced and how they were overcome, read this technical paper by WSP Middle East’s Yamen Dannan and Zaher Hadow that was published in CTBUH’s International Journal of High-Rise Buildings in Q1, 2022.
The A4 Primo Tower was featured in CTBUH’s top 118 world’s tallest buildings.
The A4 Primo Residential Tower is an iconic 77-floor residential tower with an additional 6 basement floors in the heart of Dubai. A super-prime luxury building, it is one of the most desirable addresses in the world. WSP was the Lead Consultant, Designer and Architect of Record.
The project required a firm grip on safety measures to ensure the project team were able to go home safely every day. For their outstanding commitment to health, safety and wellbeing, WSP’s project team was awarded the ISA 2022 with Distinction from the British Safety Council – a testament to the exceptional health and safety performance of WSP’s people.
WSP Middle East’s Director of Building Services, Mark Farley, said: “It’s an honour to celebrate the topping out of yet another iconic structure in the stunning skyline of Dubai. Our project team has shown resilience, hard work, and dedication to repeatedly redefine the boundaries of modern-day engineering and construction. Their efforts alongside all project stakeholders showcases that seamless professionalism and the power of collaboration can produce supersized accomplishments for key clients such as Emaar Development.”
WSP's tall buildings expertise
WSP marshals resources and communications for ownership and design teams – or for multiple projects – that maybe be scattered across the globe. A strong regional presence is key to this. WSP’s global offices routinely collaborate with each other, to pool their specialist expertise and knowledge in pursuit of excellence. This means clients benefit from regional insight and timely, attentive service, combined with the resources, capabilities, and strength of a global firm. As a result, WSP has ongoing and repeat work with many of the world’s leading architectural firms and developers.
One example of WSP’s global delivery team’s collaboration is Atlantis, The Royal Hotel in Dubai - described as an iconic building that “rethinks the conventional concept of the ‘iconic’ tower and its role in the skyline of rapidly growing cities.”
The building is an example of a project that, although large in size, was designed with different priorities in mind and was always intended to provide something more. The Structural Design pushed the boundaries of innovation and precision to minimise the consumption of materials whilst still meeting local authority regulations.
The CTBUH describes The Royal Atlantis as a building that “re-thinks the design of the mixed-use, high-rise residential and hotel tower through the pursuit of creating iconic experiences, rather than creating an iconic form.”
WSP provided structural and MEP engineering for this unconventional project, which involved many complex systems and innovative elements in order to create surprising moments and integrate nature and open space with high-density built form, focusing on the experiences of end-users.
To learn more about the complex elements of what the CTBUH described as “one of the world’s most unique building forms” read the technical structural paper Atlantis, the Royal – Palm UAE, written by WSP’s structures experts from the Middle East, USA and the UK, Andy Veall, Ilya Shleykov, Ahmad Rahimian and Kamran Moazami.
The performance of tall towers is sensitive to a lot of factors.
From WSP’s long-proven experience in similar projects, project delivery teams are able to assess and improve the performance of buildings under different recurrent and extreme conditions, to ensure that no material is wasted while satisfying the design criteria for ultimate and serviceability limit states.
Andy Veall, WSP Middle East’s Senior Technical Director of Building Structures Design said:
“The lateral force resisting system (LFRS) is critical for super or mega-tall buildings. Typically for tall buildings the LFRS is controlled by wind loading causing drifts, which can affect lift shafts, cladding and partitions, and also accelerations, which must be managed so as not to cause discomfort to humans. WSPs global experience in this regard, is second to none having designed some of the most slender structures in the world.
WSP’s Dr Ahmad Rahimian, was a contributing editor on ATC design guide 3 “Serviceability Design of Tall Buildings under wind loads”, which provides guidance on performance-based wind engineering approaches to the design of tall buildings. In addition, WSP has its own in-house wind engineering services headed up by Stefano Camelli based in the UK.”
Now, our attention turns towards what the role is of tall buildings in the future.
We must consider how tall buildings in the future can be more sustainable, and perhaps the aim in new construction will be to break new boundaries and achieve great projects that do not simply aim to achieve record breaking heights, but record breaking results and positive impacts for communities or environment. To be using the vast amount of funds, construction materials and expertise that large buildings require, it should now be ensured they are constructed with the future in mind, with positive impacts and outcomes secured, and without compromising the vital goal to limit global warming to 1.5 ˚c.
WSP’s buildings experts are committed to making a positive impact, and this means designing buildings that bring more than just height to a city.
While WSP’s teams have achieved great things in terms of tall buildings and construction expertise, the key focus now is on how iconic buildings can contribute to greater advancements in sustainability or performance, to connect, grow and develop communities and provide solutions that play a part in bringing us closer to our global aim to achieve net-zero.
Part of WSP’s commitment to designing and delivering buildings holistically to create lasting value is through providing a Future Ready approach to all client work, which ensures buildings are created with the future in mind, that are environmentally sustainable and able to adapt to future uses.
What will be the next version of tall buildings?
Andy Veall, Senior Technical Director of WSP Middle East’s Building Structures Design team says:
“We’ve worked on tall buildings, created the longest cantilever, the highest sky bridge, but it feels like we’ve come to the end of a cycle of these kinds of projects, and now the focus must be on the future of sustainable building; minimising the carbon footprint of new developments by adaptive reuse of buildings, more efficient use of materials and also possibly looking to extend service life of buildings.”