Qatar ‘gherkin’ named Middle East’s best tower

DohaTower_Jean Nouvel

Doha’s striking Burj Qatar was named the best tall building in the Middle East at the annual awards of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

The cylindrical tower, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, is similar in form to Foster + Partners’ Swiss Re Tower in London, dubbed ‘the gherkin’.

Unlike Foster’s building, the façade of Burj Qatar is constructed of multi-layered patterns which mimic traditional Islamic sun screens.

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Richard Cook, awards committee chairman and founding partner of Cook + Fox Architects, commented: “The skin of the building is a beautiful expression of the local culture, connecting this very modern tower with ancient Islamic designs.

“It also provides a fantastic pattern of light within the building, while efficiently dampening the impacts of the sun’s rays.”

The Doha tower is the first tall building to use reinforced concrete diagrid columns in a cross shape, with no central core.

Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi was also honoured,  picking up CTBUH’s first Innovation Award.

The tower by Aedas, currently nearing completion, was chosen for its computer-controlled sun-screen.

The other winning tall buildings were the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada; 1 Bligh Street in Sydney and Palazzo Lombardia in Milan.

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