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Vertical City, An Architect’s Dream

Zoe Sinclair / 10 September 2008

dubai - Stretching its six intertwining building components into a tower 2.4 kilometres high, Dubai City Tower is expected to be the latest architectural vision to capture the attention of citizens.

The ‘Vertical City’, as it is described, is an architect’s proposal that began circulating in emails and at a skycraper forum last week, but its origins are yet to be determined.

The professional project pitch details 400 habitable stories, topped by a 400m energy-producing spire, making it 2.4km high.

By comparison, Emaar’s Burj Dubai is largely predicted to be around 800m high and 160 floors.

A “mile-high tower” in Jeddah has been planned by Kingdom Holdings, while Nakheel is building Al Burj, which, according to project sources, will have a final height of 1.28km, although the developer is keeping the details under wraps.

But neither an architect nor a developer detailed on the plans for the Dubai City Tower. Major developers Emaar, Nakheel, Dubai Properties and Damac categorically denied to Khaleej Times any involvement or awareness of the project.

However, the proposal of such an engineering feat is indicative of the environment of possibilities Dubai has created for tall towers, according to Steven Oehme, Regional Director of Value Management and Sustainability at Hyder Consulting Middle East.

“It is certainly possible,” Oehme said. “You can’t just use today’s technology, but it can be planned and the possibilities are there. Fifteen years ago, there was nothing even half the height of the Burj Dubai.”

The time frame from drawing board to construction and completion for such developments, in this case termed a super-tall skyscraper, often banks on future technologies.

A “Mega-city Pyramid” proposed for Tokyo Bay in Japan needs a structure of incredibly strong, light materials still being developed.

While Burj Dubai is expected to be completed in September 2009, five years after the construction started, the one-kilometre-high tower Mubarak Al Kabir in Kuwait is estimated to take 25 years to complete since its announcement was made last year.

Oehme said the flurry of architect proposals, and buildings under construction, could speed up technology and encourage more investment in tall towers.

  “People didn’t really see the significance of building that tall,” he said.

“There wasn’t an environment that supported a building that tall. The Petronas Towers in Malaysia changed all that.

They held the mantle for nearly a decade.”

Now, in the Gulf region, Burj Dubai is a year from completion. Khaleej Times has learnt Al Burj plans are being finalised and recently Timelinks announced plans for the Ziggurat, a 1.2-kilometre-high pyramid city to house one million people.

Oehme said the feasibility of a project like Dubai City Tower was highly technical and wondered how many of the proposals would materialise.

“It’s not just a matter of scaling things up. Every factor has to be considered.  In ten years there could be two or three tall towers in the region or there could be 20 or 30. But now, our understanding of tall towers is enormous,” Oehme said.

zoe@khaleejtimes.com

 
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