Capital Gate

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Capital Gate
Capital Gate.jpg
Capital Gate in 2013
General information
Type Commercial offices; Hotel
Location Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Coordinates 24°25′07″N 54°26′05″E / 24.418637°N 54.434692°E / 24.418637; 54.434692Coordinates: 24°25′07″N 54°26′05″E / 24.418637°N 54.434692°E / 24.418637; 54.434692
Construction started September 2007
Topped-out 2010
Completed 2011
Owner Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company
Roof 160 m (520 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 35
Floor area 53,100 m2 (572,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect RMJM
Structural engineer RMJM
Main contractor Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises

Capital Gate, also known as the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi, is a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi close to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. At 160 meters (524.9 feet), or 35 stories, it is one of the tallest buildings in the city and has been constructed so that it inclines 18 degrees to the west.[3] The owner and developer of Capital Gate is Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company. The tower is a focal point of Capital Centre (Abu Dhabi)'s surrounding area.


Project timeline[edit]

  • September 2007 – Enabling works commence
  • November 2007 – Pile driving starts
  • April 2008 – Core wall construction starts
  • February 2009 – Façade commences
  • May 2009 – Reaches 100 meters in height
  • June 2009 – Incline starts to take shape
  • October 2009 – Attains final height of 160 meters
  • December 2009 – Completion of exterior core structure
  • January 2010 – First phase of splash completed
  • February 2010 – Interior fit-out commences
  • March 2010 – Commencement of link bridge to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
  • April 2010 – Commencement of atrium roof
  • 2011 – Completed construction
  • 21 Dec 2011 — Opening date


The structure sits above an extensive distribution of 490 piles that have been drilled 100 feet underground to accommodate the gravitational and wind forces, as well as seismic pressures caused by the lean of the building. Of the total 490 piles, 287 are 1 meter (40 inches) in diameter, and 20–30 meters (65–100 feet) deep; the remaining 193 are 600mm (24 inches) in diameter and 20 meters (65 feet) deep. All 490 piles are capped together using a densely reinforced concrete mat footing nearly 2 meters deep (7 feet). The piles, which were initially in compression during construction to support the lower floors of the building, are now in tension as the stresses caused by the overhang have been applied.[1]

Core of the structure[edit]

The core of the Capital Gate was built using jumping formwork, also known as climbing formwork. The center concrete core had to be specially designed to account for the immense forces created by the building's lean. The core, which contains 15,000 cubic meters of concrete, reinforced with 10,000 tons of steel, uses vertical post-tensioning and was constructed with a vertical pre-camber.[4][5] This pre-camber means the core was constructed with a slight opposite lean. As each floor was installed, the weight of the floors and diagonal grid, or "diagrid" system pulled the core and slowly straightened it out. The core contains 146 vertical steel tendons, each 20 meters (65 feet) long, which are used for post-tensioning.[5]


Given the 18-degree lean of the 160-meter Capital Gate, construction required two diagrid systems: an external diagrid defining the tower's shape, and an internal diagrid linked to the central core by eight unique pin-jointed structural members.[5] The external diagrid comprises 720 sections of varying shapes, as it is based on the direction in which the tower leans. The external grid carries the weight of the floor while the internal diagrid connects with the external and transfers the load to the core [2], thereby eliminating the need for columns in the floor.[4]

World record[edit]

In June 2010, Guinness World Records certified Capital Gate as the world's "Farthest manmade leaning building".[6][7] The new record shows that the Capital Gate tower has been built to lean 18° westwards; more than four times that of the Leaning Tower of Suurhusen. The Guinness World Record was given by a Guinness-appointed awards committee in January 2010, when the exterior was completed.

The gravitational pressure caused by the 18° incline is countered by a technique called pre-cambered core, using a core of concrete reinforced with steel, with the core deliberately built slightly off-center. It is also anchored to the ground by 490 piles which are drilled 20–30 meters underground.[8]

Architecture and design[edit]

The building has a diagrid specially designed to absorb and channel the forces created by wind and seismic loading, as well as the gradient of Capital Gate. Capital Gate is thought[by whom?] to be the Middle East's first building to use a diagrid while others around the world include London's 30 St Mary Axe (Gherkin), New York's Hearst Tower, and Beijing's National Stadium.[9]

The Capital Gate project was able to achieve its inclination through an engineering technique, known as pre-cambering, that allows floor plates to be stacked vertically up to the 12th story, and staggered, one over another by between 300 mm to 1400 mm.

Capital Gate was designed by architectural firm RMJM and was completed in 2011. 160m tall tower stands 35 storeys high and offers over 16,000 sqm of high quality office space, as well as Abu Dhabi's Hyatt hotel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Capital Gate at Emporis
  2. ^ "Capital Gate". SkyscraperPage. 
  3. ^ "Capital Gate". Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC). 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Know about". Constructing world. 
  5. ^ a b c "Know about | ConstructingWorld". Main page | ConstructingWorld. Retrieved 2018-02-21. 
  6. ^ "Farthest manmade leaning building". January 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2018. 
  7. ^ Mail Foreign Service (2010-06-10). "Abu Dhabi's Capital Gate 'leans nearly five times more' than Tower of Suurhusen to claim world record". Mail Online. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  8. ^ Laura Salmi (28 October 2008). "Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates". World Architecture News. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Mace Group, | retrieved=July 29, 2015

External links[edit]