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Experts: tapered form of Kingdom Tower is ideal

Aerodynamic design reduces wind load on building at higher levels

The tapered form is best for supertalls, say experts.
The tapered form is best for supertalls, say experts.

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The design of Kingdom Tower may have similarities with Burj Khalifa, but experts explain that the tapered form is an ideal aerodynamic solution for supertall towers.

Adrian Smith was a designer behind both the 828m-high Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the recently unveiled 1km-tall Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Both towers utilise a ‘three-petal’ footprint and a dramatic tapering form.

Speaking to Middle East Architect, Bart Leclercq, head of structures for WSP Middle East, commented: “The taper reduces the wind load at the top. Because it changes shape every few floors, the wind loads go round the building and won’t be as extreme as on a really solid block.

“There will just be local disturbances, so it’s a really good design from an aerodynamic perspective.”

Steve Kelshaw, managing director of Dubai-based DSA Architects International, added: “I don’t think you could do it any other way – if you built a square design up to that height, I don’t know how it would work.”

Leclercq added that a “playful” treatment of the facade will help to give Kingdom Tower a distinct identity.

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Construction Week - Issue 725
Jan 19, 2019