Aurecon engaged Ithra Dubai to provide structural and façade engineering in the One Za’abeel building in the business districts of Dubai.


One Za’abeel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A symbol of elevated luxury rises up between the old and new business districts of Dubai

  • Aurecon’s role: Structural and façade engineering
  • Client: Ithra Dubai
  • Project partners: Architect Nikken Sekkei; Contractor ALEC

Instantly recognisable buildings can be great attractions and a source of inspiration with their unique details that often reflect a country’s culture.

Symbolising the innovative, ambitious and pioneering nature of Dubai, the One Za’abeel building is a flagship, mixed-use, tall building development.

Ithra Dubai engaged Aurecon to provide independent third-party review of the structural system of One Za’abeel development that stands proudly at the heart of the city between the old and new business districts.

Watch this video to see how Aurecon used real-time wind simulations to test the strength and safety of One Za’abeel's structural design.

Peer reviewing a complex structural system

The project provides nearly 250 000 m2 of gross floor area (GFA) across two towers and a podium, surmounting a deep basement carpark. The 67-level tall tower offers a mix of office space and residential apartments, incorporating a prestigious luxury hotel.

The smaller tower is constructed to provide residential accommodation over 54 levels.

A dramatic podium bridge (the ‘Link’) provides a seamless connection between the two towers. The iconic link bridge will be the world’s longest cantilever structure and is being constructed from high-strength structural steel lattice and clad in clear glass panels.

A significant structural engineering challenge was understanding the behaviour of the complex structure and checking the link bridge to accommodate lateral forces due to the differential motion of the two towers that support the bridge. To solve these unique challenges, Aurecon’s engineers deployed our innovative Digital Wind Method to conduct real-time wind simulations on the structure.

Using the Digital Wind Method to understand building behaviour

To help the client better understand the complex behaviour of the combined structure, Aurecon employed the Digital Wind Method to run real-time wind simulations on the structure. The method was used to help validate the cantilever bridge movements and occupant comfort under wind events.

This sophisticated analysis was expressed in a very simple and clear demonstration using a video animation of the simulated behaviour of the two towers and link bridge. It conveyed the principles of load dispersion in a clear and comprehensible manner to experienced structural engineers and non-technical stakeholders alike. The benefits of this innovative digital approach resulted in enhanced confidence in the safety of the structural design.

International best practice with safety in design

Aurecon’s involvement ensured that international best practice was achieved in safe and economical design of this iconic development by conducting independent analysis and capacity verification of all structural elements.

Alternative design schemes developed for the two towers and modification to the link bridge were offered to help reach an optimum steel tonnage required for the complex structure. Aurecon’s collaborative approach on this iconic project was instrumental in rapidly and convincingly establishing the design principles upon which the structural design was concluded by the incumbent design team.

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