CW on site for major projects throughout 2013

We pick out a selection of 12 developments visited in the last year

Picture for illustrative purposes only
Picture for illustrative purposes only

Over the last 12 months, staff from Construction Week have been covering the length and breadth of the GCC, and further afield, visiting a selection of the most striking developments.

As the economic climate continued to improve from 2008-09, so too did the construction industry and that showed in the wide variety of projects which have been launched in 2013 or brought to a conclusion.

And CW has been fortunate enough to be there to witness them, whether it’s been in retail, industrial, infrastructure or hospitality; roads or rail, hotels, universities, museums or football stadiums.

With the focus now on what 2014 will bring, and plans gathering pace for the eagerly anticipated World Expo 2020 and World Cup in Qatar in 2022 we take a look back at the highlights from the last year, the places and sites visited.


Towards the end of the month, Yamurai Zendera visited one of Bahrain’s flagship cultural projects – the Bahrain National Theatre, in Manama.

The Bahrain government had a clear vision of having a national theatre capable of hosting a whole number of domestic and international events, as well as one that would add to the culture of the Kingdom.

Renowned Paris-based architecture practice, AS Architecture-Studio was hired by the government in 2003 to make that vision a reality. What it came up with was a stunning 1,001-seat auditorium and 150-seat flexible auditorium and exhibition area – an expansive central space, in a lagoon setting, with a shimmering gold roof.

Site visit: Bahrain National Theatre



In February, one of the most popular sites CW went along to was the CMA Tower in the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh.

The 76-storey CMA Tower was at Level 52 when CW visited the busy construction site.

The project was the first to use a triple-glazed curtain wall, the first to use a twin elevator system and the first superstructure to achieve LEED Gold. And it was the one with the largest foundation pour record in the history of Saudi Arabia.

Site Visit: CMA Tower, Riyadh



In the middle of the month CW visited the hugely impressive $2.5bn The Wave development in Oman.

Master planned and designed by Atkins, the project began in 2006 and had already delivered over 900 residential units, completed 600,000m2 of land reclamation, and at the far end of the site stands an 18-hole, Greg Norman-designed golf course, which was opened in 2012.

And this was despite the global financial crisis, which pushed back the original 2013 completion date.

Site Visit: The Wave, Oman



In April, CW travelled to South America to visit the construction site of the stadium in Sao Paulo that will host the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil – Corinthians Stadium.

The visit was courtesy of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, which was promoting mutual trade relations between Brazil and the UAE.

The main contractor on the $449m project is Brazil’s largest construction company, Odebrecht, which is also the largest in Latin America.

Construction work began in May 2012 and the stadium was expected to be finished by the end of this month (December).

Site Visit: Corinthians Stadium, Sao Paulo



Dubai’s twin Park Towers were 95% finished when CW enjoyed a site visit in May.

The structures, which are 49-storeys high and are fully glazed, are reminiscent of London’s iconic Gherkin tower.

The twin towers comprise three basement levels, seven podium levels and 42 additional floors housing penthouses and one, two and three-bedroom apartments. And the integrated seven-level podium has two levels below ground and five above ground.

Site visit: Dubai's double gherkin



Dubai is renowned for putting buildings up, and so an interesting site visit for CW was to the Metropolitan Hotel, built in 1979 next to Sheikh Zayed Road, which was being demolished to facilitate the Al Habtoor Group’s $1.3bn redevelopment.

The project has a completion date of 2016 and will comprise of three hotels catering for luxury, lifestyle and business clients.

Demolition work was being carried out by Al Rasheed Demolition and was due to be finished by July 24.

Site visit: The Metropolitan Hotel


In July CW helped to mark a major milestone at the Louvre project in Abu Dhabi.

CW visited the project on Saadiyat as it reached its second major construction milestone: waterproofing.

The museum’s piling phase took place from 2010 to 2011, and in January, the $650m main contract was awarded to a joint venture between Arabtec, San Hose and Oger Abu Dhabi.

Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, the steel roof structure of the Louvre Abu Dhabi will weigh more than 7,000 tonnes — almost the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

Site visit: Abu Dhabi Louvre



Our site visits are not all about super structures that can be spotted on the skyline for miles around and in August this was proven with a trip to witness firsthand the Shis to Khorfakken road and tunnels development.

It is considered a landmark project for Sharjah as it has the UAE’s second longest tunnel at 2.6km, which is the longest rock tunnel through the mountains of the east coast.

On the visit CW was able to discover the challenges of delivering such a pioneering project.

Site visit: Smoothing the rocky road



CW visited the site of Doha’s latest mega-mall project as we travelled on the Al Shamal Road to Doha Festival City.

Sitting on a 433,847m2 plot, the multi-purpose complex promised to be the largest of its kind in the region.

With some 260,000m2 gross leasable area of retail space and over 500 retail units, the complex will not only incorporate all the region’s favourite brands, but also introduce new brands into the market.

Site Visit: Doha Festival City



In October CW toured phases two and three of the $3.4bn King Khalid University (KKU) in Saudi Arabia’s south western city of Abha.

Building of phase one was awarded to China’s Guangdong Overseas Construction Group in 2008 for a reported $700m. The contract included 16 new buildings and their annexes, consisting of engineering and science and administrative buildings over a 36-month period. The eventual deadline for delivery was, however, extended.

KKU’s second and third phases are being built by Saudi Arabian Baytur at a construction cost of around SR3.2bn ($853m).

Site visit: King Khalid University, Abha



Among the many projects in November, CW visited the 25,000-seater Hazza Bin Zayad Stadium.

Home of Al Ain FC, the stadium was built by main contractor BAM International for AAFAQ Holdings and combines an arena for passionate football fans with a facility that can be used by the local community.

Site visit: Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium



To round the year off, CW paid a visit to Jubail Industrial City, which has sprung up from an area of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province that contained a fishing village less than 40 years ago.

The area is now responsible for around 7% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP.

Site visit: Jubail Industrial City


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