An innovation project One Za’abeel is designed by “Nikken Sekkei firm”, Japan‘s largest architectural design, firm for the benefit of “Ithra Dubai” Dubai’s powerhouse land owner, developer, and operator.

One Za’abeel by Nikken Sekkei - Sheet1
The twin Tower skyline_ ©One Za’abeel

One Za’abeel is a mixed-use two-tower project with a horizontal connection housing one of the world’s largest cantilevers. Located in the center of Dubai, positioned at the entrance to the Dubai International Financial Districts. The towers, so as the bridge, they offer unparalleled 360° views of the city. The transparency of the glass symbolizes a connection to the world trade center. 

It has been designed to incorporate the world’s best living, working, and leisure experiences in the heart of Dubai, to create something simply spectacular and everlasting.”

 -One Za’abeel home page- 

Two parallel towers, Tower A, hosting a hotel and offices, and Tower B, for residential purposes, stand 304 meters and 241 meters, respectively. They are connected by a 226-meter-long concourse named The Link. This “link” will be the first vertical resort in the world. A standout feature as the most extended cantilever structure in the world extending 100 meters above ground, it is suspended perpendicular to both  A and B. 

The overall project represents a symbol of “the gateway into Dubai” as a tie-up between Dubai’s new and old businesses. The project also has seven basements below ground level, serving as the deepest in the Middle East. Those spaces will be exploited for the benefit of over 2500 car parks, storage, and maintenance rooms – maximizing above-ground efficiency. The two towers and associated basements are connected by two underground tunnels at basement 2 and basement 1 levels.

One Za’abeel by Nikken Sekkei - Sheet2
One Zaabeel ground floor entry_©One Za’abeel

“The plan for this mixed-use development consists of offices, hotels, residences, and retail located at the gateway to the city center area when coming from Dubai Airport. Employing a simple arrangement with the mass of the twin towers and cantilever “The Link,” and the mass of the four low-rise structures, its elegant, iconic design strikes a clear departure from the existing buildings around it.”  -Nikken Sekkei LTD – 

Construction | One za’abeel 

Laying the foundation: Approximately 16,1000m3 of concrete was poured continuously for the 3.5m deep Tower A raft foundation. 

One Za’abeel by Nikken Sekkei - Sheet3
The Link _©Nikken Sekkei

The link Attachment: the construction was operated by Alec Engineering and contracting, a part of the investment corporation of Dubai. It is the main contractor for One Za’abeel. The cantilever bridge weighs a massive 8,500 tonnes of pure steel, which is heavier than the Eiffel Tower. It is being built in seven segments: each fabricated off-site and then transferred  to the construction site at the podium level. 

The main challenge was sliding the bridge over the existing vehicular bridge, used by over 1,000 cars in peak hours. 

Cantilever Structure above the road_©Alec Engineering

The bridge is slid in 7 portions  (from Tower A to B) after each assembly. Once the sections are completed and slid, the bridge will then be lifted to its final position 105 m above ground level by a strand jack strand, securing it to the towers. They will be pre-cambered so that when the Link is erected and attached, the towers will deflect back to their vertical position. The final image of the installed bridge will form the intended philosophical idea of a gate. They also ensured any unsettling risks by developing an “early warning system” to detect any settlement in the bridge. 


The sustainability aspect was operated by “WSP”, one of the world’s leading engineering professional services firms, developing  creative, comprehensive, and sustainable engineering solutions for a future where society can thrive. “The development is designed to incorporate high standards in sustainability with a focus on energy and water efficiency, improved indoor air quality, thermal comfort, and waste reduction. This commitment supports Dubai’s vision to be one of the top sustainable cities in the world.” – WSP

For example, the building façade is engineered to reduce heat gains, thereby reducing the cooling energy demand necessary to maintain comfort in the building compared to typical developments across the region. There is an efficient irrigation system, and Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) system used to reduce potable water consumption.

Moreover, the fresh air supply rates have been designed in line with the international standard ASHRAE 62.1, the recognized standards for ventilation system design, and acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ), to guarantee sufficient air exchange. Products with low-volatile organic compounds (materials, paints, adhesives) have been carefully selected during the fit-out to reduce the impact on human health for end users.

Dubai is constantly challenged to make its city one of the best living spaces in the world. Calling for prestigious offices like Nikken Sekkei, “where they take an integrated approach to their projects as a professional service firm. Across all in-house disciplines of architectural design: urban design, research, planning, and consulting — their teams work collaboratively to deliver better solutions for clients”, for the development of an innovative and unique project as One Za’abeel proves how far they can go for the benefit of a futuristic city