April 13, 2024

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Where and how was the world's most leaning structure, surpassing the Tower of Pisa, built?

Where and how was the world's most leaning structure, surpassing the Tower of Pisa, built?
A testament to architectural innovation and pushing boundaries in the modern age. This is the Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi (Image: Alamy/The Crosby Group)

In a world driven by technology and cutting-edge techniques, architects and engineers are embarking on increasingly daring challenges. the tower Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, exemplifies this audacity, recognized worldwide as the most leaning building on the planet, steps from the Persian Gulf.

Opened a decade ago, the skyscraper reaches a height of 160 meters, giving it a tilt four times greater than the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

The leaning of the Tower of Pisa was due to the soft soil, which could not adequately support its weight. Over time, the tilt worsened, reaching 5.5 degrees in 1990. Between 1993 and 2001, repair work to stabilize the structure lowered it to 3.97 degrees.

Located in Duomo Square in the city of the same name in Tuscany, Italy, the bell tower of Pisa Cathedral is world famous and an almost mandatory tourist visit. Originally, it had a height of 60 meters, but now it is 56.67 meters from the highest point and 55.86 meters from the lowest point. Its weight is estimated at 14,500 tons, with an inclination of approximately 4° and an extension of 3.9 m from the vertical.

With eight levels, the tower has a base of blind arches, six levels with open arcades and a bell tower at the top. The internal spiral staircase has 251 steps and is considered, along with the cathedral, a jewel of Romanesque art. Additionally, it is one of the most photographed buildings, often in friendly poses, by those who travel to see it.

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The tilt of the tower was caused by the soft ground that could not adequately support its weight during its construction in August 1173. Over time, the tilt worsened, reaching 5.5 degrees in 1990. Between 1993 and 2001, repairs were carried out to stabilize the structure, reducing the slope to 3.97 degrees.

A construction that defies the laws of gravity and surpasses the Tower of Pisa is located in Asia. With a tilt of 18 degrees, it manages to stand upright. Its construction used unprecedented techniques, many of which had never been used before in the construction of skyscrapers.

The iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, which everyone grabs for a photo, is a classic

Adjacent to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Capital Gate is a bold 35-storey building, each with a unique shape and different commercial uses. From two to 16 floors, it houses office spaces, while from the 18th it serves as a five-star hotel of an international chain, with a swimming pool parked at a height of 80 meters.

With an investment of USD 231,000,000, a height of 160 meters and 13,200 tons of structural steel, it holds the Guinness World Record for “World's Most Leaning Building”.

Its advanced steel structure engineering, pioneering processes such as the world's first pre-curved core, position it as a significant milestone for metal construction and architectural and civil engineering.

Inspired by the desert dunes carved by the winds and waves of the Persian Gulf, the structure of the Capitol Gate building is designed with an asymmetrical spiral gradient, creating a unique visual impression from different angles.

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One of the initial challenges was the slope, as the top decks exerted pressure against the bottom of the structure. To withstand adverse weather conditions such as gravity forces, seismic forces and Abu Dhabi's strong winds, 490 piles drilled to a depth of 30 meters were used for the foundation.

This is what the Capital Gate looks like in Abu Dhabi at night

These are supported by 2 meter reinforcing steel mesh to evenly distribute the concrete slab. More than 6,000 cubic meters of concrete were poured for the foundation. To stabilize the tower, an innovative solution was adopted: creating a central core with a counter-slope opposite to the structure, rejecting conventional load-bearing techniques and mitigating the risk of concrete tearing and structural collapse.

Between the offices and the luxurious hotel, there is more than 40,000 square meters of covered surface built over three years.

The central core, essential to the building's stability, was constructed with innovative high-engineering principles. A striking feature of the building is its arch opposite to its slope, an unprecedented technique for supporting both vertical and horizontal loads.

As the tower grows, the natural weight of the structure gradually straightens the core, adopting a vertical position in response to external pressures. The construction of the central core used the technique Create a jump (jump moulding), using hydraulic platform with 4 meter height axis.

Each level continues to melt, repeating the process every 4 meters until the top is reached

The process, which prevents cracking due to high daytime temperatures in Abu Dhabi, involves installing an inner mold with dense reinforcing steel mesh and filling it with concrete overnight.

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The facade is made up of 12,500 smooth triangular glass panels, covering an area of ​​approximately 21,000 m2.

These triangles are arranged in a rhombus shape connected by flexible joints to prevent water ingress. Drainage pipes were attached to drain the liquid in case of leakage.

It is located in the United Arab Emirates and reaches a height of 160 meters, giving it a tilt four times greater than the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

It consists of a restaurant with a swimming pool, which extends from the structure, which is suspended about 100 meters above the ground and supported by 22 steel struts.

In addition to overcoming gravity, the property is specially designed and built to withstand potential earthquakes and strong winds in the area.