World’s longest cantilever. One Za’abeel skyscrapers in Dubai

Two skyscrapers connected by the world’s longest cantilever is a new Japanese development in Dubai. Architectural firm Nikken Sekkei has created a connector suspended 100 metres above the ground. One Za’abeel is two skyscrapers standing in the middle of a new development. Interestingly, the buildings’ plots are separated by a highway. The towers will thus become the gateway to the city centre.

The architects from the Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei have created skyscrapers with versatile functions. Inside, you can find Class A offices, flats, bars, shops, a hotel and even eight Michelin-starred restaurants. The skyscrapers are the focal point of a new development cut by an expressway. The buildings are 305 and 235 metres high, respectively. One Za’abeel is far from the tallest skyscrapers in Dubai, but this height seems appropriate for the ‘gateway to the city’.

Detail in glass

The facade of the skyscrapers is simple and made of glass, but there is no shortage of minor variety. For example, the 20-metre-high podium on which the skyscrapers stand has a facade made of coloured panels in the shape of razor blades. Looking from the wider side, the facade of the towers is varied only by the straight lines separating the windows. On the other side, razor-shaped strips reminiscent of air outlets appear.

The podium houses the retail and service area. The base of the building also houses a ballroom and event space. Interestingly, the space under the motorway flyover has been filled with parks, alleys and hotel pools.

By far the most interesting element of the development is the segment connecting the two skyscrapers. THE LINK is a 230-metter long, three-storey horizontal structure suspended 100 meters above the ground. Inside are eight Michelin-starred restaurants and bars. In addition, the roof of THE LINK houses UAE’s largest infinity pool.

The structure of THE LINK is based on steel frames laid diagonally. The LINK rests its weight on the concrete frame of the towers. In addition, the concrete has been reinforced with steel beams. This ‘exoskeleton’ of the connector maximises the available space and limits the number of internal columns supporting the structure.

Construction of the entire complex began in 2015, but the connector did not appear until 2020. Mounting the 230-metre-high structure over the motorway posed a major challenge for engineers. Efforts were made to limit work at a height of almost a hundred metres, so the connector was ‘sandwiched’ between the high-rise buildings in two stages.

Dubai’s new gateway is the next step in moving skyscrapers from the inner city to more remote parts of the city. THE LINK connector is surprising in its engineering. In addition, this longest cantilever in the world guarantees unique views.

Photo source: © Koji Horiuchi, © Courtesy of One Za’abeel, Nikken Sekkei Ltd

Also read: Skyscraper | Architecture | Glass | Japan | whiteMAD on Instagram


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