The vaults atop Bahrain's new library and conference hall, top-right photo, make extensive use of fiber-reinforced polymer composites. The roof is one of the largest composite roofing structures in the world and sits next to the famous Al Fateh mosque, whose focal point is the world's largest composite dome, according to AOC LLC. Collierville, Tenn.-based AOC supplied the Firepel K133 flame-retardant polyester used in the library's composite vaults.
The molds for the vaults, below-left, were built of reinforced concrete and finished with a cultured marble surface. Next, the front fascia, with overhang, was assembled on the ground, bottom-center. Each vault is 164 feet long with a front overhang that is 52½ feet wide and 30 feet high.
Composite Designs & Technology of Pune, India, did the engineering, while BFG International Ltd. Bahrain manufactured, assembled and installed the roof components.
``The desired architecture would not have been economically viable in conventional materials,'' Suhas Kolhatkar, director of Composites Designs, said in a news release.
``Steel and concrete weigh about 40-50 percent more than composites and would have imposed tremendous dead weight on the building's substructure and footing.''
Assembled vault sections were crane-lifted, bottom-right, 92 feet above the ground to the top of the conference hall and installed in back-to-front sequence.
``The installation of a single vault took three days, including pre-assembly. The entire project, from concept design to final installation, took only 16 months,'' said Kolhatkar.
The hall is located in Juffair.