Wednesday, April 11, 2007
This WSJ story($) about the latest innovations in skyscraper technology shows just how far man has progressed in the never-ending quest to impress other men.
The competition in building skyscrapers must be a particularly heated one due to the unique shape of the structure. That is, you probably don't hear too many developers in Dubai arguing, "My shopping mall is bigger than yours."
In skyscraper-crazy Dubai, tall isn't enough. In a design to be unveiled today in the oil-rich emirate, David Fisher, an Italian-Israeli architect, has dreamed up a 68-story combination hotel, apartment and office tower where the floors would rotate 360 degrees. Each floor would rotate independently, creating a constantly changing architectural form.Yes, as long as oil price remain high - imagine what they'll putting on the drawing board if oil ever hits $100 a barrel.
Each story of the tower would be shaped like a doughnut and be attached to a center core housing elevators, emergency stairs and other utilities. Wind turbines placed in gaps between the doughnuts would generate electricity.
The doughnuts won't rotate fast enough to give guests upset stomachs. A single rotation would take around 90 minutes. "It's quite slow," says Mr. Fisher.
Mr. Fisher's isn't the first plan for a rotating tower in Dubai. Last year, a local developer showed off plans for a 30-story 200-unit condominium tower that would rotate one revolution per day. Solar panels would drive the rotation mechanism.
It is hard to say whether the plans are simply rotating pies in the sky -- or projects that will actually be erected. But given what has been built in Dubai already, anything seems possible so long as oil prices remain high.
This video shows the skyscraper in action. You have to watch a short commercial, but it's worth it just to see what sort of excess is being planned for this city in the United Arab Emirates.
Here's the link if the video fails to appear (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't).
Six months ago a series of photos were posted here - Booming Dubai. The boom appears to continue unabated, the area now called a "playpen for architects" where the ruling family and government seek to create great financial center for future generations.
If big oil fields in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait continue declining at current rates, it won't be too long before the area will once again be a big sandbox rather than a playpen, prompting the question of why anyone would want to do business in that part of the world without all the oil.
We'll see - there might be some pretty spectacular construction projects between now and then as the price of oil rises.