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Middle East tall tower numbers rise, but come in bunches

Middle East tall tower numbers rise, but come in bunches

Zawya, 16 December, 2018

The number of skyscrapers completed in the Middle East in 2018 increased to 13 in 2018, up from nine last year, with the bulk of these being completed in Dubai, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

The United States-based non-profit organisation’s annual ‘Tall Building Year in Review’ report published late last week stated that 10 of the 13 skyscrapers (defined as a building with a height of 200 metres or above) that were completed in the region this year were in Dubai – up from just three last year. However, six of these buildings “were part of one of two multitower projects”, the publication said, pointing out that four of the towers were in the Damac Towers by Paramountscheme, while two were part of Emaar Properties’ The Address Residence – Fountain Views scheme.

“The fact that more than half of the completions in the region were actually represented by only two projects has skewed results somewhat from what otherwise would be considered an average year,” the publication stated. “If each project were considered as a single building, there would be nine completions in the region, which is consistent with recent history.

The other towers to complete in the Middle East region in 2018 have been Jeddah’s 205 metre-high Golden Tower, plus two towers in Kuwait City.
Globally, there were 143 towers of 200 metres or more to complete in 2018, which was four fewer than last year’s record of 147 completions in a year.

Some 88 of these were built in China, putting it considerably ahead of the United States with 13 completions and the UAE with the 10 Dubai completions.

The Middle East, and most notably Dubai, became a magnet for architects looking to build supertall (300 metre-plus) towers proir to the financial crisis. As a result, the region still has 23 of the 100 tallest towers in the world, according to CTBUH data, second only to Asia (59 of the top 100) globally.

However, in response to emailed questions from Zawya, Anthony McCarter, practice lead for Aecom Middle East’s Structures division, said: “Since the economic downturn in 2008, the demand for tall buildings in the Middle East has been driven much more by business case, either as a stand-alone building or as the iconic centrepiece of a larger masterplanned development.”B

“As demand for land in urban centres increases, this will continue to drive the creation of new tall towers, with growth in cities being focused in multiple centres,” he said.

“Business case, status and the desire for prestige real estate will continue to create the demand for towers,” McCarter said.

Despite this, the current focus by many devlopers on affordable housing tends to create demand for “low and medium rise towers rather than supertall” because the tallest buildings have higher construction costs, he said.