Japan’s Nikken Sekkei on cantilever lift of One Za'abeel's ‘The Link’

As lead consultancy, the firm has been responsible for the concept and design of the structures and the cantilever design

Nikken Sekkei began work on the project in 2014.
Nikken Sekkei
Nikken Sekkei began work on the project in 2014.

Japanese architectural, engineering, and urban design firm, Nikken Sekkei, which is the lead consultancy at Ithra Dubai’s One Za’abeel has said that the world’s longest cantilevered building, The Link, which connects the two towers of the mixed-use development in Dubai, UAE, had been lifted into place.

Nikken Sekkei began work on the project in 2014 and has been responsible for the concept and design of the two-tower structure and the unique cantilever design that connects both towers.

Speaking about the project, executive officer principal responsible for MENA, CIS, India, Australia, and Europe regions at Nikken Sekkei, Dr. Fadi Jabri said: “Designing the world's longest-occupied cantilevered building was an ambitious challenge.

“However, designing an offset cantilever between two towers, 100m above a busy highway, was a challenge of ingenuity and imagination none of us had ever faced before."

"The lifting process was incredible. The initial lift on the 18th August was a mere 10cm to check for cable stretching and the building's reaction to the strain – all works will be halted so we could listen to how the building would react. A further one metre lift took place a week later, followed by the main event, three days later – the final 100m lift into place,” added Dr. Jabri.

The skyscraper has a total built-up area of over 470,000m2. Located at the heart of the city and at the gate of the Dubai Financial Center, the development comprises luxury residences, a One & Only ultra-luxury hotel and serviced apartments, and premium, Grade A office spaces, a retail podium, and a panoramic sky concourse.

one-zaabeel-lift-the-link
Ithra Dubai is developing One Za'abeel [image: Nikken Sekkei]

A team of architects and engineers from Nikken formed the core team for all design features, which later grew to a multinational team of more than 1,200 experts from a variety of disciplines.

“The concept for the design was to express Dubai's pioneering spirit and its warm welcome based on family values in the form of two graceful 'father & son' towers with a 'strong bond' the Link 100m above a major highway forming the gateway. A gently sloping podium represents a welcoming gesture, and the bold expression of the Link represents the pioneering spirit of Dubai,” said Dr. Jabri.

Nikken Sekkei has designed and collaborated on more than 65 projects across the Middle East’s cultural, commercial, and hospitality sectors. The firm’s work includes the Islamic Development Bank HQ in Jeddah, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry building on Dubai Creek, and the Tadawul HQ building in Riyadh.

ALEC is the main contractor of One Za'abeel, working alongside other stateholders including Mace International, WSP, and Kerzner International Holdings, and Omnium International.

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