Hydro aluminium on award-winning building

The Tornado Tower in Doha, Qatar, which features aluminium building systems from Hydro's brand Wicona, has won a major international architectural award.

December 18, 2009

The Tornado Tower in Doha, which features extensive use of Wicona unitized curtain walling, won the accolade for Best Tall Building in the Middle East and Africa.

Leading authority on tall buildings

The honor comes from the U.S.-based Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the world’s leading authority on the design, construction and development of tall buildings. 

The awards recognize projects from across the world that "display extraordinary contribution to the advancement of tall buildings, bringing fresh ideas and innovative processes which help advance the profession of design but also improve the ambiance and the well-being of the inhabitants of the cities where they have been constructed."

The 52-story Tornado Tower features more than 30,000 square meters of Wicona unitized curtain walling, installed as 6,000 glazed panels in 50 size variations. 

Innovative solution

The highly innovative unitized façade solution allows the curvature of this iconic building to be expressed without the need for curved glass. Trapezoidal panels and their collection of angles give the 200-meter-high building its signature curve and hyperboloid shape that depicts a whirlwind in a desert storm.

The Wicona unitized façade used 450 tonnes of aluminium for the project. The units were fully assembled and glazed off site, holding 34mm reflective glass for the vision areas and opaque glazing to conceal the building structure between floors.

Spectacular effect

The unitized panels also support an external steel lattice. This outer structure is a key architectural feature and the lighting system installed at the junction points of the steelwork accentuates the form of the building at night to spectacular effect, using 35,000 different light combinations.

Wicona offers one of the most widely used and technically advanced unitized façade solutions, which applies the principles of off-site construction to the building envelope.

Off-site construction

The units are fully glazed and sealed in a controlled factory environment, and the completed panels are moved to site for fast installation on to pre-prepared fixings. 

The advantages of the approach include reductions in time on site by up to 70 per cent for earlier fitting out and completion; reduced reliance on scaffolding for improved site safety, and high quality and performance because the façade panels are prefabricated off site.

This is also a highly efficient solution for sites with restricted access, and glass handling and material storage on site are eliminated, reducing material damage and loss – a major advantage for city center projects and constrained sites.

Well-suited for tall structures

Wicona unitized solutions are particularly suited to high-rise, complex and bespoke façade designs.

The panels can accommodate any combination of profiles, external feature caps and glazing, and can carry stone cladding; metal, composite or polycarbonate panels; windows, doors and fixed light glazing; brise soleil sunshading and photovoltaic panels, for complete design flexibility.


Updated: October 11, 2016