Tornado Tower

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Height: Occupied
186.5 m / 612 ft
Height: To Tip
195.1 m / 640 ft
Height: Architectural
195.1 m / 640 ft
Tornado Tower Outline
Height: Helipad
194.3 m / 637 ft
Floors Above Ground
Floors Below Ground
Top Elevator Speed
7 m/s
Tower GFA
80,000 m² / 861,113 ft²


Official Name Tornado Tower
Other Names QIPCO Tower
Structure Type Building
Status Completed
Country Qatar
City Doha
Street Address & Map Majlis Al Taawon Street & Al Funduq Street
Building Function office
Structural Material composite
  • Core: Reinforced Concrete
  • Columns: Steel
  • Floor Spanning: Steel
Completion 2008
Rankings Click arrows to view the next taller/shorter buildings
Regional Ranking #200 Tallest in Middle East
National Ranking #26 Tallest in Qatar
City Ranking #26 Tallest in Doha

Companies Involved

Design CICO Consulting Architects & Engineers; SIAT
Structural Engineer
• (not specified) Stroh + Ernst AG
Other Consultant
• Geotechnical Prof. Quick und Kollegen - Ingenieure und Geologen GmbH
• Wind Wacker Ingenieure
• (not specified) AECOM

About Tornado Tower

Soaring over the West Bay district, Doha’s Tornado Tower rises high, overlooking the Bay and most of its high rise neighbors. With its simple form and gentle curves, the tower offers a memorable, elegant silhouette that is recognizable from all vanishing points. Sitting strongly on a pristine plaza, Tornado Tower tapers gently inwards towards its slender mid-height point, then outwards again towards its summit.

The name Tornado was developed by the design team to describe the distinctive, hyperbolic shape of the building. This form is enhanced by a unique lighting system, designed especially for the tower by renowned light artist Thomas Emde. His kinetic light sculpture, by its movement of light, suggests the torsion of a tornado. The lighting system is programmable and is capable of producing over 35,000 variations of lighting patterns to create a stunning visual effect at night.

To construct a relatively lightweight building, a tubular steel “diagrid” structural external envelope was employed. The diagonal pattern of the skin increases the stiffness of the lateral force-resisting system of the perimeter walls. The concrete core of the building is connected to this perimeter structure with clear spanning steel beams topped with composite slabs creating a flexible, column-free office space at each floor level. All floors are also designed with state of the art, raised flooring systems to maximize flexibility for office space planning.

Located on a flat site of 18,500 square meters (199,000 sq ft), the building occupies only around 3,000 square meters (32,300 sq ft) of this, leaving free space around it to enhance the striking visual appearance of the building’s form and shape. The circular footprint of the building, with a diameter of 60 meters (197ft) at the ground floor, includes a ground level restaur-ant, support facilities and a bank. Sixteen high-speed passenger elevators swiftly serve over 84,000 square meters (904,000 sq ft) of office space throughout the building, a first floor cafeteria and conference rooms and the 27th floor recreation area which includes a gym and a juice bar. The building is accompanied by 1500 car parking spaces housed within three levels of underground basement parking. Due to the shape of the building, the total lettable office space available on each floor varies from between 1,260 to 2,400 square meters per floor (13,560–25,800 sq ft). This offers high flexibility in both the size of office space available and the specific sub-division layout of office space within those areas. Surrounded by 360-degree view terraces, the topmost three floors of Tornado are dedicated to VIP offices. The top level of the VIP floors also has direct access to a helipad.

The design of the building is an honest one in that the perimeter structure is an integral part of the design expression—it is on show with the exposed tubular structural system of the façade clad in part with aluminum composite panels. High performance glass and internal sun shading devices ensure that cooling costs are reduced and architectural detailing ensures a relatively airtight building, reducing air leakage to a minimum. In addition rainwater is recycled and used for irrigation purposes. Fire safety measures include dedicated fire lifts and extra stairs. The use of a steel perimeter structure, rather than the more usual concrete structure predominantly utilized in the region, makes for much more slender structural members, maximizing the uninterrupted panoramic views across the city and beyond.

The building itself makes a positive impact to the whole West Bay area of Doha. As an instantly recognizable focal point it brings context and positional sense to the streetscape, with the building situated in a wide, open plaza rather than mounted on a podium. The surrounding areas are left relatively uncluttered with the provision of car parking hidden away below ground, leaving only visitor parking at street level. Detailed traffic impact assessments were carried out to ensure the infrastructure in place was sufficient to cope with the additional vehicular movements anticipated to be generated by the fully occupied building.

The artistic and entertainment value of the kinetic sculpture of the external façade lighting makes the building equally as impressive after dark as during daylight hours and creates a lasting impression not only from on land but also from out at sea where its light show takes on the appearance of a lighthouse denoting a safe and reassuring haven. In this way, the building is important to the wider community not only as a place to work but also as a work of art, prompting discussion and debate.

CTBUH Initiatives

Tornado Tower Chosen as Featured Building
Nov 2013 – Featured Tall Building

Tornado Tower CTBUH Signboard Completion
Jun 2011 – Event Report

Second meeting of the CTBUH Qatar chapter announced
Sep 2010 – Event

More Initiatives

CTBUH Initiatives Related to Tornado Tower

Tornado Tower Chosen as Featured Building
Nov 2013, Doha – Featured Tall Building
The use of the diagrid as an appropriate structural system for high rise buildings seems to be gathering pace around the world, and Tornado demonstrates its advantages perfectly.
Tornado Tower CTBUH Signboard Completion
Jun 2011, Doha – Event Report
Doha’s Tornado Tower, winner of the 2009 Best Tall Building for Middle East and Africa, has now completed a signboard which commemorates this accomplishment.
CTBUH Activities in Qatar
Sep 2010, Doha – Event
The last week of September 2010 saw much CTBUH activity in Qatar. The local CTBUH Chapter organized their 2nd regional meeting, while CTBUH Communications Manager Jan Klerks was invited
CTBUH Activities in Qatar
22-27 Sep 2010, Doha – Event Report
The local CTBUH Qatar Chapter organized their 2nd regional meeting, while CTBUH Communications Manager Jan Klerks was invited to speak at TowerTech trade fair in Doha.
First Regional Meeting of the CTBUH Qatar Chapter
31 May 2010, Doha – Event Report
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat organized the first regional meeting of the Qatar Chapter. This event was held at the Tornado Tower.
Doha Tower Tech
12-15 Oct 2009, Doha – Event Report
CTBUH Research & Communications Manager Jan Klerks and Trustee William Maibusch represented the CTBUH as the guests of honor during the TowerTech fair in Doha.


2009 Best Tall Building Award Winners: Tornado Tower, Doha, Qatar
22 Oct 2009 – Stuart Allen & Frank Zabel, CICO Consultants

CTBUH 8th Annual Awards
22 Oct 2009 – Dinner 2009

Interview: Tornado Tower
22 Oct 2009 – Stuart Allen & Frank Zabel, CICO Consultants

Research Papers

An Overview of Structural & Aesthetic Developments in Tall Buildings Using Exterior Bracing & Diagrid Systems
1 Dec 2016 – International Journal of High-Rise Buildings Volume 5 Number 4

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