One Za'abeel, Dubai- Inside the World's Longest Cantilever Bridge

Published On: May 17, 2023

Home to incredible feats of design and engineering, Dubai's iconic skyline is further enhanced by the addition of their latest megaproject- The World's longest cantilevered building: One Za'abeel. Soaring at 100-metres in the sky, the bridge is suspended between two skyscrapers. This ambitious project unveils the city's drive to groundbreaking designs and redefining the realm of modern architecture and engineering.

Located in an exclusive neighbourhood and in close proximity to Dubai's International Financial Centre, One Za’abeel is a remarkable building in the making. It is in line to join the city’s progressive skyline. This mixed-use complex comprises two towers connected by a colossal bridge stretching over and across a six-lane highway- The Link which is set to be the world’s longest cantilevered building upon completion.

Also Read: The Golden Gate Bridge Architecture

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Did you know? At 9,000 tonnes, the weight of its steel structure is more than the iron used in the Eiffel Tower.

Sprawling over 470,700 square metres, One Za’abeel’s avant-garde design offers luxurious hospitality, rooftop terraces and an entertainment space. Tower A, reaching an enormous 300 metres in height, will house a lavish hotel, serviced apartments, and premium corporate offices, making it the world’s first vertical resort (another bragging right!). 

Tower B, at 235 metres, is constructed primarily for 263 residential units, high-end retail spaces and a leisure podium. The project's crown jewel is the Link; a horizontal structure suspended 100m above the ground offering majestic 360-degree views of Dubai whilst housing world-class restaurants, wellness facilities, and an infinity pool. 

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Sprawling an area of more than half a million square metres, the One Za’abeel project is a sight to behold!

Construction of the World’s Longest Cantilever Bridge

Conceived by developers Ithra Dubai with ALEC Engineering overseeing the construction, and Mace International managing the project, the awe-inspiring structure is under construction and beckons completion by the end of 2024. Designed with cutting-edge technology and fabricated with high-strength steel imported from Europe, the project meets the complex challenges of developing the record-breaking cantilever. 

The astounding feat of engineering with a 9,500-ton weight and 226-metre length makes the Link the most demanding sky bridge or cantilever ever attempted. Towering over 100 metres into the sky, almost as high as Tower B if placed upright. When connected to Tower A, the bridge will extend in a seemingly impossible stretch without requiring additional support. 

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“The Link ascent at One Za'abeel is a record-breaking achievement, made possible through the collaboration and fantastic work of engineering, consultancy and construction teams. The milestone highlights Mace's international consultancy capability, managing the installation and lifting of the world's longest building cantilever, and helping to deliver One Za'abeel as a new landmark in Dubai,” stated Jason Millett, CEO at Mace.

However, the team faced a daunting task – to build a massive bridge and fit it into place. It was divided into eight sections and assembled at ground level before being carefully inserted into its designated spot. For this, the highway beneath had to be temporarily closed off, and in two stages, the world's longest cantilever bridge was successfully hoisted into its permanent position. 

Also Read: Le Corbusier, The Man Behind the Modernist Architecture

Engineers used a unique monitoring system, which tracked factors, including, the impact of weather conditions, tower displacement, and bridge movement to assess how it was responding to the huge air forces before it was raised to its final height. 

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Interestingly, it took 20 tons of welding material and 72 welding points to secure the bridge between Towers A and B.

State-of-the-art Technology

The ALEC contractors had to bulk up the superstructure with additional materials such as concrete, masonry, and formwork to ensure the towers are robust to support the weight. Additionally, the team implied innovative solutions, such as the towers being pre-cambered with a slightly lean facade so that when the bridge is erected, the towers will deflect into their upright position.

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Another striking feature to monitor the construction progress is the incorporation of the advanced technology from HoloBuilder. This software generates 360-degree photographs, offering users remote access with the virtual site walks and verifying development and its different planning stages. HoloBuilder proved a crucial tool for the architecture and engineering teams in staying organised and productive during unprecedented times. 

Awards and Recognition 

The trailblazing project won two prestigious awards, including the Construction Innovation Awards for Best Innovative Project of the Year and Big Project ME's Mixed-Use Project of the Year. These energy-efficient towers feature eccentric LED lighting, heat pumps for centralised hot water systems and the latest smart technologies providing automation and optimising utility systems. With its revolutionary design, One Za'abeel is aiming for Gold LEED certification. 

A Beacon of Modern Architecture!

With the construction of the world’s longest cantilever building at One Za’abeel, Dubai has conquered another milestone, reaffirming its place as a modern hub of innovation and architectural design. From meticulous planning and creative solutions to futuristic software and 3D plaxis modelling, no wonder the project is one-of-a-kind and will soon be shining on the Dubai Skyline. 

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    What is the length of the world’s longest cantilever building in Dubai?

    The length of the world’s longest cantilever building is 226 metres at One Za’abeel in Dubai.

    Who are the designers of The Link- the world’s longest cantilevered building?

    Architecture and Design Firm: Nikken Sekkei

    Developers: Ithra Dubai

    Contractor: ALEC Engineering

    Project Management– MACE Internationals

    Where is One Za’abeel located?

    Located at the entrance to the Dubai International Financial District, One Za’abeel stands tall with its impressive architecture and a stunning 360-degree view of the city.

    What is the purpose of designing a cantilevered building at One Za'abeel?

    The world’s longest cantilevered building at One Za’abeel is a marvel feat of engineering, standing out boldly from the rest of the mixed-use development whilst creating a striking silhouette as it soars into the city skyline.