Gulf construction boom - sky is the limitMarch 3rd, 2008 - 12:19 pm ICT by admin
By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, March 3 (IANS) The world’s tallest building, biggest mall, largest airport, largest arch bridge - the projects in the $1-trillion building boom in the Gulf are all about scale, about extreme engineering and about architecture. And this Middle East metropolis is leading the charge.
Dubai is waiting with bated breath for the close of 2008. That is when Burj Dubai, being built by Emaar Properties, is expected to be complete, giving the city the world’s tallest building.
When completed, the skyscraper will be the tallest building in all four categories recognised by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which ranks buildings in the world on the basis of spire height, the highest occupied floor, roof height and pinnacle height.
But how long that status will remain is anybody’s guess.
Reports have come in that Dubai’s other real estate giant, Nakheel, has started initial work on what is being dubbed as the rival to the Burj Dubai.
Construction Week magazine has quoted a spokesman for Nakheel as saying that a French firm has started testing work on the site of the project, tentatively named Al Burj or the Tall Tower.
Initial designs show the Al Burj as having 228 floors with a four-level basement and one service sub-level.
The highest habitable floor will be at 850 metres, which will be topped by a 200-metre central spire with a three-level function area and three service floors.
But even the presence of these two super tall structures may not be enough.
Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding company, owned by Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, is planning to launch tenders for the world’s tallest building in Jeddah.
Being dubbed the Mile High Tower, the building’s height is expected to reach up to 1,600 metres or nearly double the height of Burj Dubai.
A report in the Meed magazine said that the projected cost of the building is likely to touch $10 billion and the tower plot itself will be about 170,000 sq metres.
This region’s construction boom is not confined to height alone. It is also about size.
Close to Burj Dubai, Emaar is building the Dubai Mall, projected to become the world’s largest mall when completed.
With a total area of 12.1 million sq ft, it will easily beat the South China Mall in Dongguan, China, which covers 9.1 million sq ft as the world’s largest mall.
Also coming up in Dubai is its new international airport, again set to become the world’s largest when completed.
To be called Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport, it will be 10 times larger than Dubai’s current international airport and will have an annual cargo capacity of 12 million tonnes or three times that of Memphis, which is today’s largest cargo hub and a passenger capacity of over 120 million or 30 percent more than that of Atlanta, currently the world’s busiest airport.
Also coming up in Dubai is the world’s largest arch bridge. New York architecture firm Fxfowle recently released stunning images of the bridge, to be completed by 2012.
The bridge will be 1.6 kilometre long and 670 feet tall, which will make it the longest and tallest arch bridge in the world.
Theme based projects are also coming up in a big way across the region.
Bahrain’s Ithmaar Development Co (IDC) recently issued a $69-million contract to start reclamation work in the country’s northeast coast for what is to be the Middle East’s largest healthcare, leisure and real estate project.
The $1.6-billion project, called Dilmunia, is aimed at revolutionising the healthcare industry in the region and turn Bahrain into a regional health tourism centre.
Healthcare facilities will include a 358-bed hospital, a 216-bed hospital for women and children and specialist clinics offering medical, aesthetics, nutrition, diagnostics and sports medicine treatments.
If it is health for Bahrain, then it is business and economy for Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s richest nation.
The King Abdullah Economic City coming up off the Red Sea in the north of Jeddah with an investment of SR100 billion ($26.6 billion), is expected to create up to 500,000 employment opportunities in the various industries and service-oriented companies that will open there.
The city will cover a massive 55 million sq metres of green field land with a 35 km shoreline close to the industrial city of Rabegh.
It will have six distinct components - a modern world-class seaport, an industrial district, a financial island, an education zone, resorts and a residential area.
Indeed, scale is the mantra when it comes to creating infrastructure across the Gulf region.
(Aroonim Bhuyan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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