Dubai plans first rotating skyscraper

Filed on November 29, 2006

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The Arab city with the palm-shaped islands and the sail-shaped hotel is adding to its eclectic skyline by building the world’s first rotating skyscraper, a 30-story apartment tower that revolves on its base.

The tower, announced Wednesday, will use the Persian Gulf’s abundant sunshine to power the building’s slow rotation that brings it full circle once a week, said Nick Cooper, a British engineer designing the rotation mechanism.

This will be a fair building,’ said Cooper, of M.G. Bennett and Associates Ltd. of Rotherham, England. Everybody will have the same views for the same amount of time, so you won’t have certain rooms with the best view.’

The 80,000-ton building with 200 apartments will sit on a giant bearing 30 yards (meters) in diameter, coated with a nearly frictionless polymer, Cooper said. Twenty small electric engines will turn the building a few degrees each hour, Cooper said.

It will be indexing around on the hour,’ Cooper said. It moves very slowly. It’s not a theme park ride.’

But a theme park’s manmade lakes, malls and simulated dinosaur park will be the primary view from the so-called Time Residences. The developer plans to complete the structure by 2009 as a centerpiece in the giant Dubailand amusement park now under construction.

Work on the rotating tower is supposed to begin in June.

Cooper’s previous rotating projects include the drill machine that bored the English Channel Tunnel and a rotating rock crushing unit used in giant mining operations.

Dubai has used a slew of announcements of iconic project to generate publicity. Most _ but not all _ end up being built. The city’s three palm shaped islands are in various states of completion. The smallest is nearly finished while construction of the largest has been halted.

Other improbable projects have been scrapped or delayed, including a heavily touted underwater hotel that was canceled.

Plans call for the rotating building to incorporate a swimming pool and a crescent-shaped moon lounge’ on the rooftop, with a theater and observatory.

Not only will it defy the laws of gravity and momentum, but also it stands to redefine the standards for luxury living in the region and the world,’ said Tav Singh of developer Dubai Property Ring.

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