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Modern Architecture

Capital Gate: the leaning tower of Abu Dhabi

For centuries the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy) has been the most famous non-vertical building in the world, but since 2009 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, there has been a new leaning construction that, although purposely built in that position, is It is the first leaning building in the modern world.

While the Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of Pisa Cathedral, the Capital Gate tower is a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi, standing over 160 meters tall, 35 stories tall, with over 16,000 square meters of usable space. And as we mentioned previously, it was designed to lean 18° to the west, five times more than the natural lean of the tower of Pisa, which leans at around 4°, which is why it holds the record for the most leaning tower ever made. for the human being.



Challenging gravity to maintain that slope without structural problems involved a process of numerous calculations. The Abu Dhabi tower remains standing thanks to the fact that its foundations are several meters deeper than the foundations of normal buildings, one part of the building rests on the ground but the other tends to tear up the foundations, and that makes it visible because it protrudes from the ground.

How did they successfully create the tilt effect without the building collapsing? The solution was to put 400 concrete pillars in the foundations that would fulfill two functions:

  1. The first half of the pillars counteracts the force of gravity, these having to be located directly below the inclined part. The opposite side of the pillars penetrates deeper into the ground, managing to resist the forces that try to pull the building out of the ground.
  2. To distribute the forces of the tower evenly, a thick steel-reinforced concrete slab was placed on top of the pillars.



The reality is that, once the foundations for the inclination were achieved, a new challenge was unlocked, to continue with the construction they would have to follow different methods to the traditional ones for the construction of skyscrapers. Since this is a curved and leaning tower, the construction methods for traditional skyscrapers would not work because they are built around the main core that helps to direct the weight of the building towards the ground, which in the case of the Capital Tower Gate would not apply.

Engineers devised innovative solutions to this new challenge, starting by making the core bend in the opposite direction to the lean of the building, and as the building increased in size its weight would straighten the core again.