Omrania & HOK Present CMA Tower at International Tall Buildings Conference in New York

Capital Market Authority (CMA) Headquarters, King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo © Faisal Bin Zarah


80-story tower in Riyadh will be one of the world’s most high-tech supertall buildings


NEW YORK – Basem Al-Shihabi, Omrania’s Managing Director, and Roger Soto, an HOK design principal, both participate at the annual international conference of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which takes place from 26-30 October 2015 at the Grand Hyatt in New York.

Together they showcase the high-performance design of the 80-story Capital Market Authority (CMA) Tower, an iconic supertall building under construction in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Designed as a joint venture between Omrania & HOK, the CMA Tower will serve as the headquarters of the government organization responsible for regulating Saudi Arabian capital markets. Rising 1,263 feet (385 meters) and 80 stories, the faceted crystalline structure will have 73 occupied floors and a gross floor area of 1.9 million square feet (182,137 square meters). The design of the tower responds to the guidelines and vision set forth by the developer of the district, the Al Raidah Investment Company.

When it opens, the CMA Tower will position Riyadh as the financial and economic center of the Middle East. It is the centerpiece and tallest structure within the King Abdullah Financial District, a mixed-use development that creates a world-class financial hub for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It also will be one of the world’s most high-tech supertall buildings. The design team is targeting LEED Gold certification.

Harsh environmental conditions in Saudi Arabia pose unique challenges to the construction of supertall buildings. Intense solar radiation increases heat gain and the accumulation of fine-grain sand clings to building surfaces. In their presentation, Al-Shihabi and Soto will describe how the team overcame these challenges by creating a high-performance enclosure that incorporates solar shading, photovoltaic solar collection, facade lighting and an innovative facade access system. This integrated solution reinforces the overall building design and geometry while minimizing solar gain and internal cooling loads, reducing HVAC requirements and reclaiming electrical energy.

The major components of the high-performance enclosure system include triple-glazed insulated glass units; unitized type glass curtain wall; a horizontal gantry, or catwalk, located on each floor; an array of angled glass fins connected to the gantry for shading; and a photovoltaic array located in the crown of the building.

The building’s main structural skeleton comprises a central core, perimeter columns, composite floors, roof crown and a continuous raft foundation. The central core is made of cast in-situ reinforced concrete walls interlinked in a hexagonal-shaped pattern by coupling shear beams. The form tapers inward and outward as it rises, providing floor plates that range from 27,000 to 28,000 square feet of gross floor area. Together with its active facade, the iconic geometry of the building contributes to a highly functional yet strikingly originally form on the skyline.

The modular plan creates a highly efficient interior environment with clear-span floor plates that maintain their flexibility and adaptability across every level of the structure. Combining public circulation and private amenity space, the podium structure at the base of the tower includes an auditorium, cafeteria and two-story atrium.

An innovative vertical transportation system integrates one of the world’s largest installations of the TWIN® elevator system with double-deck shuttles. Two elevator cabs travel independently—one above the other—in the same shaft.

Al-Shihabi and Soto present “Iconic Office Tower Propels Saudi Arabia into the New Global Century: Challenges and Innovations” on 27 October 2015 at 1:45 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt New York.


The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)is the world’s leading resource for professionals focused on the inception, design, construction and operation of tall buildings and future cities. Founded in 1969, the not-for-profit organization is based at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology, with an Asia Headquarters at Tongji University in Shanghai and a Research Office at Iuav University in Venice, Italy.  For more information, please visit the CTBUH website


For more on the CMA Tower, please visit the project page 

“Iconic Office Tower Propels Saudi Arabia into the New Global Century : Challenges and Innovations”,  to read the full document, please download the CTBUH Research Paper

Omrania, a renowned architecture firm, has established a reputation for excellence in blending aesthetic and functional design, setting a benchmark for architecture firms in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.