The Al Bidda Tower dominates the skyline of Doha’s central business area and Corniche. Its form blazes out of the desert sands in a striking, continually twisting face that depicts clear form in structure and elevation. Architecturally achieved by rotating the form at every level the design represents a continually evolving culture and economy. Functioning as a commercial office tower, tenants occupy an environment of unsurpassed modernism.
Positioned centrally in Doha’s West Bay business district, Al Bidda tower is ideally positioned alongside the Corniche and its transportation corridors. The tower demands the attention of the established skyline, enigmatically looking south across the bay to the Corniche and historic quarter of Doha.
The general characteristics of the site are consistent with that of the Dafna area with one of the boundaries facing the Corniche. The site itself is quadrangle with no two sides parallel or equal and measures 8,184m² in area. The central location and separate dedicated car parking building provides its users convenient access to the building and close proximity to the business district.
The Tower is divided into 3 sections. The Ground floor of area 1,860m² accommodates a double height entrance lounge and has provision for the administration offices of the tower and possible utilisation as meeting rooms, showrooms, art galleries, a business centre and other usage as required and identified by the client. It also houses a restaurant with access to an outdoor café in a landscaped area adjacent to the water feature adjoining the Tower. The Mezzanine floor provides further space for possible meeting rooms, multipurpose hall, business centre, and cafeterias for the exclusive use of tenants. Level 1 – 39 inclusive provide for rentable office spaces. Due to the form of the building (wider at the top and bottom as compared to the 14th level) each level has areas varying from 950m² – 1,450m² thereby providing a net rentable area of 37,000m². An intermediate floor (22nd floor) functions as a mechanical floor to accommodate the lift room (low rise lifts), plantrooms and equipment. Level 40 provides an exclusive multi-height club level with panoramic views of the bay. It accommodates a seating lounge, restaurant, amusement arcades, a health club with change room facilities with spa, sauna and Jacuzzi for men and women, massage rooms, a large gymnasium and cafeteria. Level 41 functions as a mezzanine and overlooks level 40.
The base of the tower is a part of the basement, which covers the entire site area of 8,184m² (tower site) and 1,967m² (parking lot site). The basement functions as a car park and accommodates 199 cars. The adjacent land is used for a G + 7 level multistorey car park that extends over the tower site. Each typical floor accommodates 77 car parks. The roof accommodates services areas for the chillers as well as additional car parks. In totality the site along with the multistorey car park and basement accommodates car parking for approximately 870 cars. In order to provide an efficient elevator service, 11 elevators have been provided. These elevators are divided into two banks or risers – low rise and high rise banks.
Fire Precautions are designed and constructed as per the NFPA 101- 2000. The tower is designed with 3 fire fighting elevators (2 high rise and 1 low rise). Every floor of the tower is constructed as one fire compartment. The overall structure of the tower is designed as 2 hour fire resistant. Smoke control strategies have been applied for all the floors using pressurisation. Fire stairwell and elevator shafts have dedicated pressurising systems, and pressure relief dampers are installed in stairwells to assist maintaining a constant pressure. The project was also provided with security systems and CCTV systems consistent with commercial buildings.
The unique form of the building called for a structural system that would accommodate the variable floor plates as well as the shift of the 1.5 degrees of the apex of the triangular rotor shaped plan. The result is an avant-garde diagonal system that mimics the structural triangular truss work of the facade.
Each primary triangle is further subdivided into nine smaller triangular double-glazed glazing units. The original concept aimed for each of these smaller units to be rotated at different angular planes to smoothen the curving facade of the tower. The outcome is a system comprising of primary triangles rotated at successive angles, which further encompass the smaller triangular units in the same plane as that of its respective primary triangle.
The resulting diverse facets reflect the rays of sunlight and sparkle like crystal in the day. The multiplicity of sizes and shapes of glass triangles and frame and the warped shape of the facade has resulted in the use of a flexible link between frames by means of a multi-cellular extruded gaskets made from Santoprene or EPDM which is factory moulded at the intersection or NODE points. Environmental issues such as water penetration of the facade had a low impact on the design due to the extremely low rainfall experienced in Doha. However wind-blown talc like fine sand, laden with salt content and hence corrosive, was addressed by minimising any ledges on the facade. One other measure against the damaging effect of wind borne sand was to keep exposed painted surfaces to an absolute minimum with the outer gasket designed to shield the exposed aluminium completely.
Being located in Doha where temperatures and solar gain in summer can be high, and being totally clad in a glass curtain wall posed some challenges in terms of ensuring occupant comfort and air conditioning efficiencies. The thermal performance of the facade had a significant impact on building energy consumption. The thermal performance of the framing system also had a considerable effect on the overall performance of the facade, and the combined thermal effects of the frame and glazing were accurately calculated to determine the total thermal performance of the system. Double glazing incorporating coated low – E glass was adopted following extensive testing.Location: Doha, Qatar
Architect: GHD Global Pty Ltd
WAF: Entry 2011