Saturday, 16 February 2013

Abraj Al Bait

Country Saudi Arabia
Floors 76
Height(m) 577
Height(ft) 1893
Builder Kingdom Holdings
Developer Kingdom Holdings

Abraj Al-Bait Towers as seen from Masjid al-Haram in June 2012

General information

Type Mixed use: hotel, residential
Location Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Coordinates 21°25′08″N 39°49′35″ECoordinates: 21°25′08″N 
Construction started 2004
Opening 2012

Architectural 601 m (1,972 ft)[1]
Top floor 558.7 m (1,833 ft)[1]
Observatory 558.7 m (1,833 ft)[1]

Technical details
Floor count 120 
Floor area Tower: 310,638 m2 (3,343,680 sq ft)
Development: 1,575,815 m2 (16,961,930 sq ft)

Design and construction
Architect Dar Al-Handasah Architects
Main contractor Saudi Binladin Group

The Abraj Al-Bait Towers, also known as the Makkah Royal Hotel Clock Tower, is a building complex in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. These towers are a part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that strives to modernize the holy city. The complex holds several world records, the tallest clock tower in the world, the world's largest clock face and the building with the world's largest floor area. The complex's hotel tower became the second tallest building in the world in 2012, surpassing Taiwan's Taipei 101 and surpassed only by Dubai's Burj Khalifa. The building complex is metres away from the world's largest mosque and Islam's most sacred site, the Masjid al Haram. The developer and contractor of the complex is the Saudi Binladin Group, the Kingdom's largest construction company. The complex was built after the demolition of the Ajyad Fortress, the 18th century Ottoman citadel which stood atop a hill overlooking the Grand Mosque. 

The tallest tower in the complex stands as the tallest building in Saudi Arabia, with a height of 601 metres (1,972 feet). The structure has surpassed Dubai International Airport in having the largest floor area of any structure in the world with 1,500,000 m2 (16,150,000 sq ft) of floorspace.

The site of the complex is located across the street to the south from an entrance to the Masjid al Haram mosque, which houses the Kaaba. To accommodate worshipers visiting the Kaaba, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers has a large prayer room capable of holding more than 10,000 people. The tallest tower in the complex also contains a five-star hotel, operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, to help provide lodging for the millions of pilgrims that travel to Mecca annually to participate in the Hajj.

In addition, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers has a 20 story shopping mall (the Abraj Al Bait Mall) and a parking garage capable of holding over a thousand vehicles. Residential towers house permanent residents while two heliports and a conference center are to accommodate business travelers. In total, up to 100,000 people could be housed inside the towers. The project uses clock faces for each side of the hotel tower. The highest residential floor stands at 450 metres (1,480 feet), just below the spires. The clock faces are 43 m × 43 m (141 ft × 141 ft), the largest in the world. The roof of the clocks is 530 metres (1,740 feet) above the ground, making them the world's most elevated architectural clocks. A 71-metre-tall spire (233 ft) has been added on top of the clock giving it a total height of 601 metres (1,972 feet), which makes it the second tallest building in the world, surpassing Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The tower also includes an Islamic Museum and a Lunar Observation Center which will also be used to sight the moon during the Holy Months.

The building was planned to be 734 meters tall in 2006. In 2009, it was published that the final height will be 601 meters. The complex was built by the Saudi Binladin Group, Saudi Arabia's largest construction company. The clock tower was designed by the German company Premiere Composite Technologies, and the clock by the Swiss engineering firm Straintec. According to the Saudi Ministry of Religious Endowments, the project cost $15 billion.

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