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In our previous article on Architecture of Tall Buildings published on April 13, 2015,  we elaborated on this segment of the construction of tall buildings industry in the GCC and its evolution.  Far from questioning the ‘raison d’etre’ or the real need for such structures, we would like to make here as close to reality a statement of what has been achieved on the ground last year.

Abraj Quartier-Commercial Towers picture (Credit to UDC) is featured above.

Indeed, in 2016, a record of 128 buildings were completed worldwide, according to the the Chicago-based council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)’s Year in Review: Tall Trends of 2016.

It says :

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While Africa has yet to see a 200-meter-plus completion since 1973, the Middle East ended the year, for the second time, with nine such completions. This continues a steady trend of completions in the region, but pales in comparison to its all-time high of 23 in 2011, a spike that was attributed to a global post-recession recovery in tall building construction. 2016 was the first year since 2006 that the Middle East has not seen the completion of a supertall (300-plus-meter) building, but one should be wary of assuming that this is indicative of a regional swing away from the supertall height threshold. Optimistic projections show as many as nine supertall buildings completing in the Middle East in 2017.

In an unusual turn, the United Arab Emirates did not have the greatest number of completions in the region for the year. That accomplishment belongs to Qatar, which saw four towers completed in 2016. The UAE followed with just two completions, and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain tied with one completion each. The tallest building to complete in 2016 in the Middle East is Regent Emirates Pearl, a 255-meter tower in Abu Dhabi that twists along its height at a rate of approximately 0.481 degrees per floor. The tower was featured in the online version of the CTBUH Tall Buildings in Numbers study.

Consequent to the reduction in petro-Dollars revenues, a certain slowdown has been noticeable in the region’s construction industry dynamics.  Qatar nevertheless led last year the region in building tall towers. The report states that in 2016 that country has managed and for the first time to lead the region by completing four tall buildings.

This report however mentioned that in a decade no “super tall” buildings (300m+) did come to be built anywhere in the region.

Worldwide, China led with 84 projects of tall buildings completed closely followed by the USA follows with seven and South Korea with six.  Indonesia is fourth with five buildings and the Philippines and Qatar coming up with four towers each are fifth.

This slowdown in the MENA where last year no ‘super-tall’ towers as per the local media were produced, was commented by the CTBUH as this doesn’t mean the era of tall towers is over for the Middle East.

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Speaking to the National, a UAE daily, earlier this month, one financial expert explained this state of affairs.

“Previously, this region hadn’t been quite so sensitive as to whether numbers stacked up. It’s been a case of build it and they will come, but as liquidity tightened the numbers needed to work.”

And that :

“One should be wary of assuming that this is indicative of a regional swing away from the super-tall height threshold. Optimistic projections show as many as nine super-tall buildings completing in the Middle East in 2017.”

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