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By Jody McCutcheon
Dubai is known for its excesses and indulgences: crystal studded cars, 7-star hotels and indoor ski runs mean this emirate isn’t well-known for being at all eco-friendly. Perhaps until now, that is: a spectacular new building, the upcoming Dubai rotating tower, will make citizens in this desert nation rethink sustainability.
Set to be inaugurated by 2020 – just in time for Dubai’s EXPO – this innovative, rotating tower will be a structure unlike any other. Called the Da Vinci Tower, the building will allow its residents to enjoy a 360 degree view of their surroundings; the desert, sea, and the city, whilst the building constantly changes its shape, like a living organism.
Its 80 floors will house private apartments, offices and a luxury hotel, but none of the residents or visitors to the tower need worry about motion sickness, since the building’s full rotation will be slow, taking around 90 minutes, to avoid giving anyone the slightest hint of dizziness.
But what about sustainability, you may ask? The Da Vinci Tower in Dubai will be fully powered by clean energy, thanks to solar panels on its roofs and wind turbines placed horizontally between every floor. These additions mean that the tower will be the first building in Dubai to be entirely self-powered, but there’s another benefit: it will produce green energy for the city as well. In fact, enough surplus electricity should be produced to power five other similar sized buildings in the vicinity, and engineers claim the building could generate up to 1,200,000 kilowatt-hours of energy each year.
An ethical construction trait resides in the way the tower is being built: from prefabricated items. Key prefabricated objects, including the water piping, flooring, air conditioning, and all other finishes, will all arrive to the worksite completely finished, thus reducing construction time, building costs and site risks. This latter point is especially poignant, since Dubai has often been accused of exploiting its construction workers and caring little about their safety and welfare.
The brain behind the project belongs to David Fisher, Italian founder of Dynamic Architecture. After visiting Manhattan’s Olympic Tower back in 2004, he started wondering how he, too, could push architectural boundaries. He started to imagine how he could add a fourth dimension to a building, one which has been missing until now: time. The result is a building that twists and turns, following the sun as it rises and sets.
With an estimated cost of $372 million, the Da Vinci Tower, also known as the Dynamic Tower, will be surely appeal to Dubai’s well-heeled population. And with its sustainable energy characteristics, hopefully this nation, whose vast wealth is derived from oil, will realise there are cleaner and better ways to generate energy.
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