Atkins wins tallest tower in the world

Construction could begin as early as September 2006 on the kilometre-tall Mubarak Tower

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By  Sean Cronin and Angela Giuffrida Published  May 27, 2006

Atkins has been appointed structural engineer on what is set to become the tallest tower in the world — and at one kilometre tall would eclipse the Burj Dubai. The 250-storey Mubarak Tower in Kuwait would be almost twice the size of the world’s current tallest building — Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The record-breaking structure will form the centrepiece of the US $150 billion (KD43.3 billion) Madinat al Hareer, or ‘City of Silk’. Architects at Kuhne and Associates are behind the designs for the tower and the city development, which will be built over 25 years. “Everything has been unanimously endorsed — the Emir of Kuwait and prime minister have backed the project,” said a spokesperson at Eric Kuhne and Associates. “We’re just waiting on final approval and for a planning committee to be formally set up to front the project.” According to Mike Otlet, director and head of structures at Atkins, the tower would form ‘a complete city in the sky’, and would be made up of offices, apartments, a school, a medical centre, and possibly a mosque. “The tower will be built in three blocks linked together, which will give us more flexibility in terms of the lifts,” he said. “We’re working with lift specialists on how we can develop and install larger lifts. We’re also exploring the wind force measures that would be needed for a structure of 1,001 metres.” The City of Silk, described as ‘the new Manhattan’, will cover a 250km2 site in Subiya, Northern Kuwait — transforming the area into a hub for up to 700,000 people. The project will create a major new city at the gateway to the famous Silk Route across central Asia, and will be linked to Kuwait City by a new bridge — the Jabir Al Kabir. Significant new infrastructure, including a new seaport, railway and an international airport will be built to support the development. Construction is expected to start in September. “Kuwait is a low energy city, so we will have to look into this and other environmental aspects,” added Otlet. “We’re confident we’ll get final approval from the Kuwaiti government. It’s a long process because at the moment nobody can buy land or accommodation unless they’re a Kuwaiti resident. So the parliamentary rules on development will need to be changed.”

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