The Marina Torch
|The Marina Torch|
|Status||Partially damaged by fire|
|Location||Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
|Antenna spire||336.8 m (1,105 ft)|
|Top floor||276.3 m (906 ft)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||National Engineering Bureau|
The tower was designed by National Engineering Bureau.
The tower became the tallest residential building in the world in 2011 (surpassing Q1, in Gold Coast, Australia), then lost the record in 2012 to 23 Marina and subsequent Princess Tower directly across the street. It is 336.8 metres (1,105 ft) tall, with 79 floors above ground.
It was damaged by fire on February 21, 2015. and as of July 2016 is undergoing restorative works, during which the Pool facility is under closure.
The original concept design by architects Khatib & Alami was 74 floors, with three basement levels and a four-story podium, and had a total planned built up area of 111,832 m² (1.2 million ft²). It was to have 504 apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms and four duplex apartment suites. The three basement floors and part of the podium were to hold car parking for 536 vehicles, while floors five and six were to contain a swimming pool, health club, gymnasium, cafeteria, aerobic rooms and sit-out cover seal terraces.
However the original developer of the project for the proposed tower, Al Rashideen Trading Company, transferred ownership of the project to a new developer, Select Group. Select Group then appointed a new consultant, National Engineering Bureau, who amended and modified the concept design and, following delays, eventually secured the necessary approval from Dubai Municipality.
Dubai Municipality's approval of the design was delayed because of its comments on the National Engineering Bureau's modifications to the concept design, and the purported risk of structural failings arising from the design modifications.
In April 2007, the project was running 18 months behind schedule, with the tower's foundations still under construction. The original expected completion date of June 2008 had been extended to late 2009, with the further extension into 2011. The Marina Torch was opened in May 2011.
A fire broke out in the building at 2:00 am on February 21, 2015. Witnesses said the fire started with a grill located on one of the building's balconies. Seven people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. Video footage showed structural debris falling from the burning stories to the ground. The fire appeared to have started in the middle of the building and spread rapidly due to falling flaming debris and high winds, which caused the flames to flare up, resulting in "massive problems" for the fire department and a several miles long traffic jam on a nearby highway.
External cladding was charred from the 50th floor to the top of the tower. As of February 28, 101 apartments were uninhabitable and their occupants were offered temporary free lodging by some hotels and houses. Dubai Municipality confirmed there was no damage to the structure. Lifts were brought back in phases and eight of the 9 lifts were back in operation within 7 days. By 21 March 2015, there were 81 units still not habitable. The remaining apartments (out of 676) were back in occupation.
Tenants requesting emergency accommodation were found free hotel accommodation for up to 2 months. All resident owners are covered by insurance for alternative accommodation for up to 3 years. In April, after insurance assessment, tenders were drawn up for repair of the damaged building.
Repairs were started in May 2015 under the project management of the building's architect, National Engineering Bureau.
In the wake of this disaster, in the fall of 2015 Dubai Civil Defence announced it would be purchasing several Martin Jetpack vehicles to assist first responders in managing high-rise fires. Delivery was set for 2016.
2016 exterior renovation
Approval to proceed on a full exterior renovation of the cladding damaged during the fire in terms of building permits was granted by Dubai authorities in July 2016.
Following this, scaffolding has been erected and building works will proceed through the summer of 2016.
During this period the Pool facility at the Torch has remained closed, this is mainly due to the fear of safety issues from potential building materials. It is estimated to re-open in October 2016.
View of Dubai Marina from the 64th floor of The Torch.
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