Dubai is a fascinating place for architects, with some of the world’s tallest, strangest and best projects in the process of being built right now. However, despite Dubai’s relative wealth, it couldn’t escape the effects of a global recession. We look at some of the best projects that haven’t yet got past the drawing board in the second part of our top ten.
6. BURJ AL ALAM
Burj Al Alam – renders by Fortune Group
The Burj Al Alam was to be one of the world’s tallest buildings until its construction was put on hold shortly after piling works to the foundations was completed due to delays in payments from investors. At a proposed 510 metres high, it would be taller than the famous Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan, but renders show it to be a delicate, intricate design with a slender, hyperboloid tower topped with a crown resembling a crystal flower. As a mixed-use tower, 74 floors would be dedicated to office space and the top 27 floors would be residential and luxury hotel accommodation. Within the six storey crown there would be a luxury Turkish bath, sky garden and private club facilities, and there would be retail units situated in the base of the tower. Construction began in 2006, but the tower is still suffering from heavy delays and may be on hold for the foreseeable future.
7. ANARA TOWER
The Anara Tower – renders by Atkins Design Studio
Don’t be fooled by its appearance – the Anara Tower wasn’t a wind turbine but, more surprisingly, it didn’t even contain a wind turbine anywhere in its design. The turbine-style glazed pod at the very top of the tower was, in fact, a luxury restaurant designed to give the best of panoramic views from around 600 metres in the air. The shape of the tower was also designed in such a way that 60% of the building had panoramic ocean views, as well as having two multi-purpose sports courts, food and retail areas, a swimming pool and four sky gardens providing green outdoor space for residents.
Influenced by the iconic shape of minarets, Atkins Design Studio sought a recognisable shape for both local and international visitors, deciding on the wind turbine design. Not only did the design showcase the tower’s eco-credentials (maximising water and energy efficiency in addition to complying with LEED certification requirements), but it had also been designed with the future in mind, with the rear elevation allowing for future expansion of the building through four connecting sky bridges. Unfortunately the tower design wasn’t completely ‘future-proofed’, and was cancelled in 2009.
8. ROAD AND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY HEADQUARTERS
The RTA Headquarters – Centre: interior render from Design Design LLC; Left and right: renders of opposing elevations by Zwarts and Jansma
Planned to be built in the middle of an artificial lake, the new Road and Transport Authority Headquarters would have been an eye-catching addition to Dubai’s skyline. Created by the Dutch firm Zwarts and Jansma Architects and influenced by the shape of the RTA logo, the structure featured two 20 storey high electronic screens that would have displayed traffic data to the surrounding area. The surface of the manmade lake was to come alive in office hours, swirling and rippling to make a kinetic water show, but at night it would have been calm and serene, reflecting the sky and the building in a ‘water mirror’ effect and making the structure appear to float above the water. The architects were especially interested in the intersection of waterways, subways and highways in reflecting the core work of the Road and Transport Authority.
The unusual exterior, described as a ‘glass crystal with Venetian blinds’, would have been created through the use of sun breaks to reduce reflection and solar gain, saving 20% of the energy usually used to cool the interior. The gridded nature of the façade and its unusual angles would also have made the structure appear different from different angles due to light refraction.
Unfortunately, the project has now been cancelled.
9. TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL AND TOWER
The Trump International Hotel & Tower – Left: Original design; Centre & right: Revised design – all renders by WS Atkins
Set to be the centrepiece of the famous Palm Jumeirah Islands in Dubai, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Dubai underwent several incarnations before deciding on the imposing modernist split tower structure that was set to be completed by 2009. The original design was a tulip-inspired structure with four golden petals sheathing a central circular tower, but later redesigns focused on a split tower that linked at the top, with a monorail and station situated in the open core between the two tower shafts. Positioned in the ‘trunk’ of the Palm Islands, the tower would have acted as a gateway-like structure to the rest of the resort.
As a partnership between local developers Nakheel and the Trump Organisation, the project foundered as a result of the global recession, along with several other Nakheel projects. After being put on hold indefinitely in 2009, the project was finally cancelled in early 2011.
10. DYNAMIC TOWER
The Dynamic Tower – Left: Differing shapes of the Tower; Right: The mechanics of the Tower – all renders by Dynamic Architecture
The Dynamic Tower is a fairly radical idea, even for the architectural excesses of Dubai – a 420 metre high tower where each floor revolves independently at a maximum rate of 6 metres per minute, or one revolution every 90 minutes. The movement would result in a tower with a constantly evolving shape and appearance. In addition, it would be the world’s first prefabricated skyscraper, with over 90% of the tower manufactured in a factory and shipped to site, where it would be assembled in two-thirds of the time of a normal skyscraper. The only true construction work on site would be the building of the core, which would contain services and supply each floor with clean water based on the technology used for in-flight refuelling of aircraft. Each apartment would be a pre-built ‘module’ that would come preinstalled with kitchen and bathroom suites.
Despite the size and scale of the project, the tower would be self-powered through the use of renewable energy. Solar panels fixed to the roof and top of each floor and wind turbines situated between each floor will provide enough electricity to power another five similar-sized towers as well as meet the needs of the Dynamic Tower.
The project has, however, been controversial for more than just the design. The architect, David Fisher, has never built a skyscraper before, and has distributed a biography that claims he has an honorary doctorate from an institution that does not exist. He has also failed to state where the tower would be built as he ‘wanted to keep it a surprise’. Due to delays in acquiring land and issues with patents, as well as financial funding problems due to the global recession, construction has not yet started on the project, despite announcements in 2008 that completion would occur in 2010.