Al Qasba canal is a popular and vibrant waterside development of offices, shops and restaurants. But six months before it opened, the area was little more than desert.
Halcrow designed the entire development and also supervised construction to meet this incredibly fast-track timetable.
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Video produced in 2005
The project was originally conceived as a plan to join the Al Khan and Khalid lagoons by building a new canal, and then to use the tidal variation between the two lagoons to drive sea water in and clean out the Khalid lagoon, which had become polluted. Halcrow was appointed to design the canal, and did some complex modelling of the tidal movements to establish that this cleaning action would be achievable.
Construction of the canal started in 1998, and was completed in 2000. However, during construction, the client identified that the site had the potential for commercial development, and appointed Halcrow to design four-storey buildings on either side of the, together with road and foot bridges crossing it. The client wanted this entire development to be complete when the canal was finished – a period of just six months.
Halcrow was responsible for designing all the new facilities - including structural design of the buildings and the new bridges – as well as project management and supervision of the construction.
The canal itself is one kilometre long and 30 metres wide. It is fitted with an automatic, tide-controlled gate at one end, which regulates the natural tidal flushing of the lagoons.
There are three major road bridges and one footbridge across the canal. Each of the road bridges has a span of 40 metres, with twin decks accommodating six lanes of traffic, footpaths and side verges, and the footbridge spans 38 metres.
The superstructures of all the bridges are built from steel acting compositely with reinforced concrete deck slabs, and clad with decorative GRP cladding to blend with the architecture of the surrounding development. The footbridge was a late addition to the development, and was designed and built in just 60 days.
Halcrow’s work on the project also included the architectural design and structural engineering of six four-storey buildings overlooking the canal that together provide a total area of 28,000 square metres of commercial and retail space. The buildings have been built using concrete, but designed in a picturesque traditional Islamic style.
During construction of the buildings, more than 520 bored piles were installed in just three weeks.
To save time, the colonnade areas of the buildings were built on temporary supports because the steel columns of the required size were not available in the local market at the time. When they became available,164 circular steel columns were fitted in place and jacked to pre-specified forces to transfer the load of three constructed floors from their temporary supports.