UrbaCon has delivered two major projects that presented a number of challenges
Qatar-based UrbaCon Trading and Contracting has announced the completion of two key projects in the country. These include the new luxurious Banana Island resort just off the coast of the capital Doha and a mega underground car-park with a capacity to accommodate 3,000 vehicles.
The Banana Island resort offers an array of accommodation units – all with an ocean view. It comprises a 96-room hotel, 34 two- and three-bedroom poolside villas and 11 Maldives-style villas built above the water on stilts, according to Mohamed Moataz Al Khayyat, chief executive of UrbaCon.
The resort will offer traditional Qatari hospitality and extensive facilities that include a 800-m-long private beach, a marina with 30 berths, a dive centre, a lap pool, a children’s pool, a full range of water sports, tennis, beach volleyball, a balance wellness centre, an entertainment centre with a nine-hole putting golf course, a bowling alley and a VIP cinema theatre. The crescent-shaped island is within a 20-minute ferry ride from Doha or a 10-minute helicopter ride from the Doha airport.
UrbaCon has also handed over the 111,000-sq-m underground car-park, adjacent to the Souk Waqif and the corniche, which was built a cost of $250 million. The facility, which took almost three years to plan, design and build, was delivered to the client, the Private Engineering Office, early this year.
This massive structure, which used more than 122,000 cu m of concrete, was commissioned in order to address the existing parking issues in the Qatari capital, while providing shaded parking during the searing summers.
The car-park is spread over three levels (each covering 37,000 sq m), with the lowest level reaching a depth of 12 m. The facility is accessible via five tunnels, three from the corniche and two from Souk Waqif.
“Given the site of the project, UrbaCon flagged a number of obstacles that needed to be overcome in the early phases of construction. Being so close to the sea, dewatering the site and implementing a high-quality waterproofing membrane were fundamental to ensuring water was kept out, while special formwork had to be used in order to support the retaining wall, which was executed using Doka systems, via 12.5-m one-sided shuttering,” says the spokesman.
He adds that while traffic disruption is to be expected in urban projects such as this, creating the tunnels underneath a busy road such as the corniche would have usually wreaked havoc on commuter traffic.
“However, thanks to the use of specialised chemicals from Germany, UrbaCon was able to solidify the earth, enabling the application of micro-tunnelling below the corniche without any disruption to the flow of traffic on the surface,” he notes.
For added comfort, the car-park is equipped with three cooling towers, and 34 air-handling units, allowing the ambient temperature to be kept between 24 to 28 deg C. The top of the car-park which is at group level accommodates an amphitheatre that can hold 1,800 people, a restaurant, playground, fitness area and two fountains.
Built to meet and exceed the latest health and safety requirements as well as provide convenience for disabled users, the car-park is equipped with 16 elevators, seven fire escapes and is now open for use by the general public.