In a phased construction project at Dubai Festival City Mall, during which the complex remained operational, our structural engineers delivered design and supervision services for the building’s remodelling and expansion, including the creation of the centrepiece Festival Square (re-opened September 2015).

Starting with a condition survey and modelling of the existing building in Revit software, works included phased deconstruction of 12,000 sq m of the mall and integration of new lighter-weight structure, adding 57,000 sq m to the total area. The result is a net increase in gross leasable area of 41,435 sq m — one third more the original mall’s retail space.

In addition, the development bridges the gap to a neighbouring hotel plot, replacing an existing walkway and providing seamless access through a new flagship department store. The new and remodelled elements combine to transform the mall into a traditional ‘figure of eight’ retail configuration.

Structural challenges included dealing with the constraints of the existing building, such as pile capacities and the weight transfer capacity of the structure. The increase in area was achieved through a careful load balance approach, with new floors offset against the removal of substantial landscaping and non-structural build-up in the canal walk area on the ground floor. Core walls have been reduced to enable space conversion, and modifications made for building services routing and distribution

The new areas are steel frame with composite metal deck slabs. Long span beams of up to 32m have been used to provide column-free spaces. Festival Square features a 52m span vaulted sprung roof.

WME helped procure authority approvals directly with the Dubai municipal authorities, enabling early release of construction packages for onsite works.