Wikinvest Wire

Dubai: Spinning Out of Control

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.

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.
Yes, as long as oil price remain high - imagine what they'll putting on the drawing board if oil ever hits $100 a barrel.

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.


Anonymous said...

"Solar panels would drive the rotation mechanism."

I wonder how much energy would be needed to rotate all these floors and then how many acres of solar pannels would be needed to generate this amount of power. Also if they are going to rotate all night then they would need to store the power in batteries, I wonder how many batteries would be needed.

This doesn't sound feasible to me, but this isn't my area of expertise so what do I know.

Anonymous said...

how is the guy who cleans the windows from the outside going to do his job if they keep spinning on him

donna said...

"Dubai! Because Everyone wants to live in a big pile of sand!"

Seriously, what the hell are they thinking?

Anonymous said...


What about Vegas and Phoenix then?

jmf said...


here is a interesting number

Palm Tree Islands
Nakheel PJSC, a state-owned developer building three palm tree-shaped islands off Dubai's coast, in December issued $3.52 billion of Islamic bonds in the world's largest sale of such securities. The company Nov. 7 said it aimed to sell $2.5 billion of three-year Ijarah sukuk, and then increased the issue after receiving bids for 2.5 times the debt on offer.

Anonymous said...

By a couple different first-hand accounts, the construction in Dubai is simply insane. How necessary or practical [whatever] proposal is over the long-term isn't often asked; it always seems to be only a matter of having "the biggest/most-amazing [whatever] in Dubai". And for all teh diversification, the gov'ts are still heavily dependent upon oil, which ain't gonna last forever. Looks like another Petra all over again.


Anonymous said...

Dubai and the Middle East are also big time players in Natural Gas.

Although I would consider Dubai pretty fascist especially with the lack of immigrant worker rights.

Anonymous said...

This has to be the most retarded civil engineering idea I have heard of to date. It'll make Fisher rich I'm sure but he has his head up his butt if he thinks the idea will offer a reliable, efficient, long-lasting system.

Goes to show, money does not equate to brains.

kenshi said...

RE Power: the power required to rotate even a large but counterbalanced mass is not that large. Solor panels could definitely provide enough energy to do it, especially in a sunny place like Dubai.

Anonymous said...

Just wait for the sandstorms! The mechanisms that allow rotation will wear out just like our tanks, APCs, helos and other stuff in Iraq. How will replacement of roller or ballbearings be accompliahed without taking the whole thing apart? Despite the significant engineering challenges, can this proposed building made truly be safe by western standards? Doubtful. Consider, if all the floors move independently, and one or more floors suddenly seizes up, wouldn't the stress of the lock-up produce shear loads that could compromise the integral strength of the supporting core? Sadly, this type of project reminds me of the immature excess by so many influential people in that part of the world. Diamond encrusted cell phones, private DC-10s, 767s, 747s, L-1011s and an expected A380, garages filled to the brim with Ferraris, Bentleys and other rolling stock, gold plated commodes, etc....These guys should invest their wealth into building a society that actually produces something, not nonsense like this. When oil peaks, eventually the whole place will return to its original state, a sandbox. Keep in mind, I don't know of any country in the Mid-East, with the exception of Israel, which can build a bicycle!

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