The Aspire Tower is the emblem of the Asian Games 2006 in Doha, Qatar. The tower rises 318 meters above sea level, and stands directly next to the sports facilities. Construction began in April 2005. At the top of the tower a flame of 8-10 meters in height burned during the Asian Games, which was later replaced by a laser projector.
Designed by architect and engineer Hadi Simaan of Ove Arup and Partners, the tower served as a focal point during the Asian Games in Qatar in December 2006.
The tower has also been known as the Khalifa Doha Sports Tower or the Olympic Tower.
During the Asian Games there were three video screens for summaries, news, advertising and even live footage. With its many technological innovations, the Aspire Tower is a monumental building and one of the greatest prides of Qatar, one of the states of the Persian Gulf.
No doubt the technology of the Aspire tower represents another major breakthrough for the concept and composition of media facade, however, in this as in other construction technology, the sense of speech and graphics is inscribed on its skin, and contributes greatly to the life of the building. It is here, where they must present a more critical attention to achieve spaces for interesting visual content and not just scenographic.
The project was conducted by Hadi Simaan, its particularity consists of a pattern of illumination recorded in the whole area of the building. The technology works via the use of grills that bear close to 4000’s tricolor LEDs, individually programmed to work together in creating dynamic, monumental compositions inscribed on the pixel-skin of the building.
Qatar is officially the State of Qatar, an oil-rich nation and one of the emirates of the Middle East, located on a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Qatar is the first country worldwide in per capita GDP.
The designer, Hadi Simaan, has described the structure as “a celebration of the earth and sky”.
The shape of the tower resembles a stylized torch, thanks to the elements of metallic screen manufactured by Haver & Boeck.
The architect, Hadi Simaan, has argued that the steel structures that surround the nucleus also act as visual forces, creating an energy that radiates from the center in a rising spiral of light.
Once completed, the tower included a pool of 80 meters in height, suspended in the air and united to the tower by its straight side, a 5-star hotel with suites and rooms for banquets, conferences and business centers, a lookout, a gym, duty-free spaces, lounges, a four-story presidential suite, a sports museum and a revolving restaurant at 200 meters.
The design employs a core of concrete serving as the main support and as the only means of load transfer the foundation. The rest of the building is a revolved steel structure that protrudes from the core.
The base of the Aspire Tower has a diameter of approximately 70 meters. In the center, the diameter is close to about 27 m. The maximum diameter at the top is 45 m. The exterior of the tower was built over a period of 15 months alone (without the interior finishes).
Concrete and steel make up its basic structure.
LED technology installed across the front allows the creation of effects; each LED is individually controllable in all colors.
The exterior of the building is covered by a mesh of steel DOGLA-TRIO 101, which, during the Asian Games, was festively lit by glittering LED lights. This fabric has a horizontal distance between the wires that varies between 14 and 44 mm. This increases the open surface area from 72% to around 85%. The increased surface open at the top of the tower makes possible the transparency of the mesh to the observer, even with extreme visual angles of up to 5 degrees at the foot of the tower.
A combination of wire mesh and LED technology allows the display, in one of the rings, of video and text visible at great distances.
This system has been used in a ring of 8 meters high, below the pool. The area is divided into three LED video screens for high resolution with a size of 15 meters x 8 meters, three panels of lower resolution of 35 meters x 8 meters, which can be used, for example, for the reproduction of logos or advertisements. The density and the number of LEDs can define with precision the resolution and, therefore, the quality of reproduction.
The combination of LED technology and wire mesh implemented in this manner for the first time in the world at the Aspire Tower can create many different lighting effects, and even represent moving images. By installing the LEDs in the mesh so as not to interrupt profiles in the aesthetics of the facade of fabric, a homogeneous appearance of the facade is achieved when the LEDs are off. In addition, this method of attachment allows one to easily inspect the strips of LEDs individually during maintenance.
The facade consists of 3,452 individual items with a total area of approx. 30,000 sqm.
Another of its major features is the power light on the surface of the structure – it was designed to be fitted with a passive energy source obtained from the use of solar panels.
One of the most interesting features of the tower is the broadcast of videos around a section of 8 meters on the same tower and was done through the use of Color Kinetics Inc.’s Chromasic technology.
At the bottom of the building, huge LED screens were posted to surround the circumference of the tower so that its enormous luminosity avoided as much as possible light pollution in the surrounding area. The software’s Color Artistic License used to achieve the visual discourse of the screen, works in conjunction with Art-Net DMX, an Ethernet system that uses the advantages of broadband and fiber optics for the vertical distribution of the lights on this surface. This makes it possible to have a translucent screen as a cover media that covers about 1,800 square meters in the bottom of the structure, which is capable of supporting visual content that can be seen up to 100 meters away without losing its resolution. To achieve this, the installation of the LED’s is located inside grids of stainless steel, making an integral area the whole area of the tower, i.e. without this one would see a huge screen space that limits the total composition which aims to form the surface of the structure.