Al Hamra Tower

Ajial Real Estate Entertainment Company built a commercial tower in Kuwait at a site previously occupied by the Al Hamra and Firdous cinemas in Kuwait City.  Estimated to cost $950 million, the 2,098,962 sq. ft. (195,000 m2) project includes office space, a health club, parking, and a high-end shopping mall with theaters and a food court, and was completed in 2011. The list of firsts for this concrete structure is extensive: It is the tallest stone-clad building in the world, the tallest twisting structure in the world and the tallest building in Kuwait. Because of its height, three zones of elevators were installed. Shuttle elevators bring passengers to approximately one thirds, and two thirds up the building to sky lobbies, where they transfer to local elevators to reach their particular floor above.

The primary benefit of this elevator zoning was the ability to stack the local elevators of each zone on top of local elevators below.  This reduced the overall building core footprint maximizing the leasable area.  In order to accomplish this, two sets of three 40 person lifts serve each of the two sky lobbies.  For these shuttles, the machines were wider than the shafts the elevators occupy, and the machinery couldn’t extend outside of the shaft footpint, requiring a vertically stacked machine and control arrangement in a multi-level mechanical room.

Finally, due to the specialized mechanical and electrical systems required to support a high rise tower, the elevators needed to be sized for replacement of fans and transformers. So in the Al Hamra Tower, the service elevator has an especially high weight capacity and panels and doors that can be removed to transport objects as large as the elevator.

VDA provided services through shop drawing review for elevators and escalators in the retail podium, as well as the thirty-seven (37) passenger and service elevators in the 77-story tower. At 412 meters, the building is taller than any existing building in Kuwait.

Project Info

Service Type

New Construction


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP


2,098,962 sf

Project Type

Featured Projects, International, Offices

Equipment Type

Elevators, Escalators


Kuwait City, Kuwait

Completion Year



$950 Million

Key Personnel

Richard S. Sayah Senior Vice President