Tornado Tower, Doha, Qatar

More than 30,000sqm of Wicona unitised curtain walling have been used to striking effect for the award-winning Tornado Tower on the shores of Doha Bay in Qatar.

A Whirlwind in a Desert Storm

The building’s signature hyperboloid shape depicts a whirlwind in a desert storm and its distinctive form runs the full height of the 200m office tower. The 52-storey tower is now the most recognisable building on the Doha shoreline. This ambitious scheme provides 58,000sqm of office space with 360° panoramic views.

The Unitised Solution

More than 6,000 Wicona unitised glazed panels in 50 size variations – a different panel size for each floor – allow the curvature of the building to be expressed without the need for curved glass. Trapezoidal panels, spanning up to 3.8m high and 1.5m wide, and their collection of angles, give the building its dramatic curve.

The Wicona unitised façade uses 450 tonnes of aluminium, and was safely installed across 50 storeys using floor cranes. The trapezoidal units, which were assembled and glazed off site, hold 34mm reflective glass for the vision areas and opaque glazing to conceal the building structure between floors.

The unitised panels also support an external steel ‘lattice’. This outer structure is a key architectural feature and lighting installed at the junction points of the steelwork accentuates the form of the building at night, to spectacular effect.

The Wicona Approach

Wicona unitised 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.

Comments from the Project Engineer

Karlheinz Beck, Project Engineer, Wicona:

“In addition to helping to realise the architect’s vision for the building’s unique shape from ground to roof, the unitised approach allowed the full height glazed façade to be installed without scaffolding.  It also accommodates high building movement, the high wind loadings that the tower will be subject to and efficient drainage, particularly where the building inclines.”

Building Features

The Tornado Tower is located in the West Bay district of Doha – an almost entirely manmade peninsula. Other features of the building include:

  • A helipad on the 51st floor
  • 16 high-speed lifts which travel at 2 floors per second
  • 1,700 parking spaces over three basement levels
  • Gymnasium
  • Restaurants and cafés
  • Retail outlet
  • A complex external lighting system designed by Thomas Emde and programmed with 35,000 different light displays.

The Project Team

Client: QIPCO Holding (Qatar Investment Projects and Development Holding Company)
Architects: CICO (Qatar)/SIAT (Munich)
Building contractor: MIDMAC/Six Construct
Structural engineer: CICO/SIAT/Mienhardt Singapore
Façade fabricator: Jungbluth Aluminium Partners (Belgium)
Façade solution: Wicona/Hydro Building Systems

Project Awards and Accolades

Best Tall Building in the Middle East and Africa – Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)

Facts and Figures


6,000 glazed panels
32,000sqm of unitised curtain walling
450 tonnes of aluminium
2.5m euro façade contract


Dollars: 200m
Building height: 52 storeys, 200m
Office space: 58,000sqm leasable area


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