Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

sowwah square – sparkling stock exchange

Another spectacular major project has been completed in the United Arab Emirates in the shape of the buildings for the new Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. Four office towers frame the stock exchange building in the middle. Overall, this ensemble adds up to an imposing development because of its dimensions and high-quality execution right down to the details. Large expanses of glass dominate the look of Sowwah Square.

  • seele has designed a 1,600sqm cable net façade, tensioned around the corners, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The exceptional dimensions of the façade called for innovative solutions in terms of structural engineering, cable tensioning and flexural stiffness. For example, the façade had to be designed for wind-induced deflections of ±1.10m. seele developed a solution that complies with all the architectural stipulations of the client, takes into account the temperature differences between erection and completion and also preserves the purist aesthetics of the façade design.

    seele also produced thousands of square metres of special glazing for the floors, suspended ceilings, lift shafts and bridges for this project. Many of these bespoke products have been used in the lobby of the stock exchange: mirrored panes combined with rolled glass, translucent PVB interlayers for creating an opaque look. The anti-reflective glass held in place by point fixings at the joint intersections is hardly perceptible, resulting in an almost dematerialised structure in certain lighting conditions. The diffuse, even illumination in the lobby is achieved with LED lights mounted behind the panes. And the floor elements spanning 1.5m without support and made from 4-ply laminated glass – some panes with finely ground stainless steel sheets between the plies – represent another first-rate glass solution by seele.

    Project images: © Gerry O’Leary

12,000sqm glass façades  7,300sqm special glazing for floors

Unique format, unique design – this seele cable net façade is one of the biggest in the world

The cable net façades to the four office towers around Abu Dhabi’s stock exchange are the largest of their kind. But it is not just the dimensions that make these high-tech structures so unique. Their extremely challenging design also sets standards. seele has tensioned the façade both across the huge front elevation, 53m long x 31m high, and also 12m rearwards around the corners at both ends, not unlike a football goal. All made possible by the vertical steel columns at the two corners. “Wings” are welded to these every 2m for fixing and tensioning the façade cables and also the parabolic cables. The latter enabled seele’s engineers to compensate for the forces in the horizontal stainless steel cables. Maximum precision was called for in order to achieve perfectly balanced forces. This was achieved by deflecting the steel columns outwards by a precisely calculated amount prior to the cable-tensioning process. Upon completion, the columns were then exactly vertical – which was absolutely essential for minimising the glazing tolerances. seele specified cables and cable fixing brackets made exclusively from a very high-grade stainless steel in order to rule out damage caused by seawater, sand and the extremely salt-laden air.

  • The horizontal “wings” of the cable net hold the façade in tension, whereas the vertical parabolic cable compensates for the ensuing forces.

    The horizontal “wings” of the cable net hold the façade in tension, whereas the vertical parabolic cable compensates for the ensuing forces.

  • The façade is tensioned across the front elevation and around both corners to the back. Vertical steel columns with welded “wings” form the corners.

    The façade is tensioned across the front elevation and around both corners to the back. Vertical steel columns with welded “wings” form the corners.

  • Deformations of the façade due to wind load. It has been designed for max. 1.1m deflection in the centre in one direction.

    Deformations of the façade due to wind load. It has been designed for max. 1.1m deflection in the centre in one direction.

  • Isometric exploded view of one of the many different steel brackets for fixing the stainless steel cables.

    Isometric exploded view of one of the many different steel brackets for fixing the stainless steel cables.

  • Fabricating one of the two corner columns. They were supplied in 6m long segments which were welded together on site.

    Fabricating one of the two corner columns. They were supplied in 6m long segments which were welded together on site.

  • Steel bracket welded and ground prior to coating – precision engineering for an innovative seele façade.

    Steel bracket welded and ground prior to coating – precision engineering for an innovative seele façade.

  • Bracket installed on site. One of the many anchor points for the tensioned steel cables of the façade.

    Bracket installed on site. One of the many anchor points for the tensioned steel cables of the façade.

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Client Mubadala Development Company PJSC
Main contractor Oger Abu Dhabi
Architect GP Goettsch Partners
Date of completion 2012
Scope of seele supply

  • Cable net façades: 12,000sqm anti-reflective glass façades to the four towers and central stock exchange building, with uninterrupted façade spans of up to 53m length and a height of 31m on the main elevation
  • approx. 7,300sqm special glazing for floors, suspended ceilings, lift shafts and bridges in the stock exchange building and four towers
  • approx. 3,000sqm stainless steel cladding on the stock exchange building 

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