April 18, 2008 Dubai has well earned its reputation for architectural extravagance and excess. Not a cent has been spared as various developers vie to produce the biggest, the most stunning, the most luxurious and the most outrageous projects ever undertaken. And while this next project is right up there in terms of luxury, exclusivity and head-spinning architectural genius, it adds a fascinating extra dimension - the ability to generate ten times as much power as it will use. Each floor of Dynamic Architecture's wind-powered rotating skyscraper is a single apartment with the ability to rotate independently, giving residents the ability to choose a new view at the touch of a button - quite a party trick. Wind turbines between each floor will generate a vast surplus of electricity capable of powering the whole surrounding neighborhood. The method of construction is also fascinating; each floor will be pre-fabricated in segments in a quality-controlled factory before being lifted and secured into place on a concrete spine, bringing costs and construction times down significantly. Construction is set to begin soon in Dubai, with a second tower to follow in Moscow and numerous other sites around the world being considered.
The genius in Dr. David Fisher's design of the Dynamic Architecture wind-powered rotating skyscraper is its powerful and unique appeal to so many stakeholders. With luxury and jaw-dropping architecture becoming so common in Dubai, and so many wealthy and impressionable people wishing for their homes to stand out from the crowd, the tower's unique ability for each floor to rotate independently will surely place it in high demand. It will also be a stunning landmark for the city, catching the sun as it quietly twists like a monolithic Rubik's cube.
The wind turbines between each floor make the tower an environmentally positive construction, generating a large excess of power to put back into the energy grid. Each turbine has the peak ability to produce around 0.2 megawatt hours of electricity. Given Dubai has an average of 4000 hours of wind annually, with an average wind speed of 16 km/h, the turbines are estimated to produce around 1,200,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year. Four of the 48 turbines in the building will be enough to power the entire tower, leaving the other 44 to provide surplus energy back into Dubai's power grid.
The tower's unique properties allow for an equally innovative construction process. Instead of building the tower from the ground up, floor by floor as most skyscrapers are built, the rotating tower will be built in parallel stages. As a team on site builds the enormous concrete core, or spine of the building, complete with the elevators, a separate team will be working in a dedicated factory, prefabricating each floor in segments. Once the core is complete, the segments will be lifted up the side of the building and each floor will be assembled and attached, from the top floor down, around the central spine.
This method holds a number of advantages over traditional construction schedules. Firstly, since the core and floor segments are being built in parallel, the construction can be much quicker, resulting in a time saving of around 30% for a similarly sized regular tower. Secondly, vastly fewer workers need to be on site at the tower, meaning only around 90 specialist workers will need to work in difficult and dangerous conditions at the tower itself, the remainder being in an optimal, safe and comfortable factory setting.
Thirdly, each modular apartment can be easily customized to the buyer's desires, and every small component can be finished and quality assessed much more easily than an on-site construction, leading to higher standards of quality control. Architect David Fisher sees the construction method as the equivalent of an industrial revolution in construction, bringing large-scale building practices into line with industrial practices in other areas. The first industrial prefabrication factory will be located in Italy.
The rotating tower is slated to begin construction soon in Dubai according to Dynamic Architecture - and the 420-meter, 80-floor Dubai tower will be followed by a 70-floor, 400-meter tower in Moscow which is currently in advanced design phase. The company is in preliminary talks with the cities of Milan, London, New York, Hamburg and Sao Paolo for further implementations.
All images courtesy of Dr. David Fisher and Dynamic Architecture (all rights reserved).