Built in between the 30th and the 48th storey of the hotel, the 42nd storey sky bridge, known as the ‘Skypod,’ links together the two twin towers of the luxury Four Seasons Hotel, to form the central part of the H shape design. As a key feature of the hotel, the Skypod will house a stylish restaurant, bar and six meeting rooms, all offering panoramic views of Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf, across its two floors.
Due to the complex and challenging nature of constructing the sky bridge structure, Belgian-based contractor, Six Construct approached RMD Kwikform for a formwork and shoring solution that could safely support the project. Regional manager for RMD Kwikform Bahrain, Shekhar Sawant comments: “This project was amazing, not only did we have to create a solution that was safe and could support the sky bridge construction at heights of up to 180m from ground level, we also had to devise a way of dismantling the equipment once the work was completed.”
Working with the Six Construct site team, RMD Kwikform engineers utilised the benefits of its heavy-duty Megashor shoring system, to design a tower solution up to 40m tall.
Made up of Megashor and steel Superslim Soldier components, each of the numerous Megashor towers could be constructed in modular sections on the ground and lifted into place. This was particularly important, as the sections had to reach the 42nd storey, with each module needing to be kept under the available crane capacity limits onsite.
Once the Megashor towers were put into place and secured, R700 trusses were mounted on top of the towers and used to span the 37m between the main core walls of the towers. In-turn the trusses were then supported on special wall brackets. In order to achieve both the support for the sky bridge and safe access for the construction team working at height, Superslim soldiers were mounted on top of the R700 trusses and used as spreaders to support the erection of the final Rapidshor shoring phase.
Once the Rapidshor shoring was erected, the main structure, including access deck could be constructed. This comprised of reinforced 500mm thick, 2.9m deep transfer beams and a main slab, all cast in-situ, some 180m above ground level. With materials transported up through the main structure, safety was extremely important, especially as the platform was exposed to the elements and in particular wind. Once the main 42nd story was created, the removal of the formwork could take place.
“By being able to put together a solution that could be built from the 30th floor, instead of the ground, we were able to dramatically reduce the amount of equipment and time required for the project. Even so, the shoring solution we ended up designing still had to reach over 130m tall, from the 30th to the 42nd storey.
“But the real engineering challenge didn’t relate to how to get the shoring up, it was more about dismantling it once the job was done. This was the clever part of the design, as our engineers came up with a system using purpose made winches that travelled on rails above the trusses, spanning between the core walls. This solution enabled the formwork to be removed safely once the slabs and beams were cast, with the trusses then lowered using specialist strand jack arrangements from above the finished 42nd floor level”, added Shekhar.
Key to the success of the Four Seasons project was the partnership approach developed between RMD Kwikform and the Six Construct site team.
By working together RMD Kwikform was able to support the site team at every stage of the project, from assessment, planning and design to on-site project support.
Shekhar Sawant concluded: “To date this project has definitely been one of the most challenging and taxing formwork and shoring solution we have ever designed in Bahrain. With a very short space of time from the initial brief to the completion of the project, the speed in which the sky bridge was constructed is testament to the work carried out by the integrated Six Construct and RMD Kwikform site teams. It is also a lasting and very visual display of what can be achieved with the right teamwork.”
Now occupying the central island of the new Bahrain Bay mixed use development, visitors to the iconic 201.5m high, 48 storey Four Seasons Hotel, will be able to benefit from spectacular sea views from the Skypod in what is set to be one of the World’s top hotels.