Armacell in the KAFD World Trade Center in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


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 square meters, providing more than 3.5 million m² of space for various uses and accommodation for 12.000 residents. Situated at 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 provides more than 137.000 m² of office space and at 300 meters height an observation deck open for public.

BFG International, Bahrain, leading supplier of composite products in the Gulf region, has been awarded the contract for design and manufacturing of the façade system of King Abdullah KAFD WTC. The façade 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 façade structure BFG was searching for a sandwich solution that combines high structural strength with low weight.

Our low density ArmaFORM PET foam core, 100% made of post-consumer PET, turned to be the preferred core material of choice: reduced weight while at the same time providing required stiffness and strength properties.

The structural sandwich panels are made of glass fiber / fire retardant polyester skins, cored with ArmaFORM PET GR foam in 70 kg/m³ and varnished with gel coat finishing. The lightweight nature of our foam allows façade panels of up to 14 meters length.  All in all, the longer the individual façade panel is the less supporting structure is required, handling during assembly is easier and faster, installation as well as transportation costs are reduced. Not to mention the aesthetic appearance of a façade done with less joints & seams.

Stiffness and at the same time 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 PET foam cores provide enough temperature stability to manage these temperature changes.

As in all public buildings, safety is a key issue of WTC:  the materials in use need to fulfil the stringent fire, smoke and toxicity properties. FRP composites have very good fire properties and meet the most stringent standards. External testing of the entire façade panels shows that ArmaFORM PET complies in all relevant aspects of ASTM E84 at A level-classification.