ArmaForm Core used in the facade structure of KAFD World Trade Center


The King Abdullah Financial District, in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is to become the leading financial centre in the Middle East. The site consists of 59 towers in an area of 1.6 million m², providing more than 3.5 million m² of space for various uses and accommodation for 12,000 residents. Situated on a prominent corner, KAFD World Trade Center (WTC) will be the second tallest tower, at a height of 303 meters. Envisioned as an iconic architectural landmark and gateway for international trade, the tower will provide more than 137,000 m² of office space and a public observation deck at 300 meters height.

BFG International, Bahrein, the Gulf region's leading supplier of composite products, has been awarded the contract for design and manufacturing of the facade system of the King Abdullah KAFD WTC. The facade cladding is built out of advanced composite materials and covers a surface area of more than 40,000 m². To cope with the requirements of the facade structure, BFG was searching for a sandwich solution combining high structural strength with low weight.

Our low density green PET foam core, made of 100% post-consumer PET, turned out to be the core material of choice due to its reduced weight while providing the required stiffness and strength properties.

The structural sandwich panels are made of fiberglass/fire-retardant polyester skins, cored with ArmaForm Core PET GR in 70 kg/m³ and finished with gel coat. The lightweight nature of our foam allows facade panels of up to 14 meters length. All in all, the longer the individual facade panel, the less necessary supporting structure, the easier and faster the handling during assembly and the lower the transport and installation costs. In addition, fewer joints and seams means enhanced aesthetic appeal for the facade.

Stiffness and light weight were not the only challenges the designers and architects had to cope with: the Arabian climate, with its extremely large variations in temperature, from sub-zero at night to +55°C during the day, in combination with winds and sands require the use of very robust materials. ArmaForm Core foams provide enough temperature stability to manage these temperature changes.

As in all public buildings, safety is a key issue for the WTC: the materials in use need to comply with stringent fire, smoke and toxicity standards. FRP composites have very good fire properties and meet the most stringent standards. External testing of the entire façade panels shows that ArmaForm Core complies in all relevant aspects of ASTM E84 (class A) and NFPA 285.


See also: Composites Manufacturing May/June 2018 "Shaping the future of Architecture"