Feature - 25 June 2008 (SPG DesignBuildNetwork)

Rotating Tower, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The first of architect Dr David Fisher’s “dynamic architecture towers” – planned for an as-yet-unspecified location in Dubai – is slated to start construction by August 2008. Science fiction films like The Matrix have conjured cities of the future where machines and biological life are intertwined. But unlike in The Matrix’ terrifying apocalypse, where humans become life-support systems for machines, the vision of the Italian architect is of dynamic, ever-changing buildings that function as “machines for living”. Revolutionary turn

Fisher’s rotating skyscrapers move beyond the usual architectural evolution of design in several ways. Not only will Dubai’s be the first rotating tower in the world but it will generate more power than it uses and its parts, aside from the concrete core, will be created in a factory as opposed to being constructed on site. “My buildings are unique because they are the first that will be dynamic and change shape every moment, first to be built in a factory and the first to be completely self-powered,” Fisher said in a New York press conference on 24 June 2008. Dubai’s tower – orders are being taken from prospective tenants to move in from 2010 – will have 78 floors that can revolve individually, each adjusted to complete a full 360-degrees of rotation in 1-3 hours. Between each floor a wind turbine is sandwiched horizontally, making for a total 77 wind turbines in the Dubai tower – using the high winds that often plague skyscrapers in its favour rather than merely shoring up the structure’s resistance to them. The Dubai tower, Fisher says, will produce enough energy via its wind turbines and external photovoltaic panels to sell the excess to the city around it. Although the solar panels are only about 15 per cent efficient at best, the Dubai rotating tower’s large surface area means maximum solar exposure. It has been reported that the turbines may generate 1.2 million kWh each year in Dubai. Fisher said plumbing presented perhaps the biggest challenge to the designers due to the building’s rotation. However, the water supply will be delivered mostly normally while relying on an innovative flexible pipe layout for connection . . .

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