Dubai doesn’t do half measures. The city’s latest endeavor, a Calatrava-designed super-tower, continues that trend. Emaar Properties would usually be outraged that their Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on the planet, was to be cast in shadow by a new building. However, they’re also backing Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava’s new tower along the city’s creek.
Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Dubai-based Emaar Properties, has estimated costs at around $1 billion, $500 million cheaper than the Burj Khalifa when it opened in 2010. However, the final height of the building is yet to be confirmed—all we now know is that Calatrava‘s tower will rise above 2,700 feet, the height of the Burj Khalifa.
The tower itself will feature fully-glazed rotating balconies and observation decks (of course) as well as interior landscaping that takes influence from the hanging gardens of Babylon (now at dizzying heights). The showpiece observation area will be called “The Pinnacle Room” and will offer views over Dubai. Alongside this, up to 20 stories will house mixed-use facilities such as restaurants and a boutique hotel.
Calatrava’s design is said to be inspired by the profile of a lily flower while also mimicking a minaret (Arabic for lighthouse/beacon), a distinctive building commonly found in Islamic architecture and symbolism. The contours of his design will be formed using a cable system that will also anchor the tower to the ground.
The core of the building, as depicted, will rise up supported by the cable structure, housing all the building facilities and services. At the top, where the diameter is widest, will be the Pinnacle Room that will house an array of greenery.
“The slender stem serves as the spine of the structure and the cables linking the building to the ground are reminiscent of the delicate ribbing of the lily’s leaves,” said Calatrava’s firm. “The structure also provides a beacon of light at night, with lighting that will emphasize the flower-bud design of the building.”
Speaking of the project, Calatrava said: “From the beginning, my team and I have tried to put the best of ourselves into this project, since it is very special and [it’s] a great honour to participate.”
“The design has clear reference to the classic art from the past and the culture of the place while serving as a great technological achievement. In my whole career, I have perceived technology as a vehicle to beauty and to art. This project envisages an artistic achievement in itself, inspired by the idea of welcoming people, not only from Dubai and the UAE, but from the entire world. It is a symbol of an abiding belief in progress.”