British studio Foster + Partners has released a proposal for a futuristic hyperloop freight system that could one day ship cargo from Dubai to Asia and Europe. The renderings and accompanying video were produced in collaboration with Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One, and the resultant system has been christened DP World Cargospeed. Cargo would be autonomously loaded into autonomously driven pods that appear to closely resemble the passenger pods Virgin revealed in February, and accelerated up to 700 miles per hour using hyperloop technology. The electrically-powered pods are moved through tunnels that have had the air pumped out, removing any wind resistance. From the video, it seems that Foster + Partners is aiming for an integrated, multi-modal shipping solution. Cargo is unloaded portside and brought into the nearby hyperloop loading area, while trucks, autonomous shuttles, and drones are could be potentially used to handle last-mile delivery. Everything feeds into an electric ecosystem, with solar panels on the hyperloop’s tunnels (and station) feeding the movement below. The shipping program would be an outgrowth of Virgin’s partnership with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, and the 75-mile-long Dubai-Abu Dhabi hyperloop stretch could be online as soon as 2020. BIG’s concentric transport hubs, one in each city, will eventually anchor the route and house autonomous Virgin shuttles. While DP World Cargospeed is currently nothing more than a few polished images, with Virgin preparing to lay hyperloop tubes in India, a cross-continental shipping network that latches on to the commuter system could eventually be in the cards. As the video’s narrator describes it, DP World Cargospeed would start off as a system for high-priority goods ordered on-demand, with the higher cost of shipping offsetting the higher infrastructure costs. Still, Virgin hopes that it can get the cost “as low as trucking, with the speed of air delivery”.
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What if you could cut the travel time between two cities from a an hour's drive to less than 15 minutes? That's Virgin Hyperloop One's plan for a high-tech, high-speed autonomous transportation system that could one day link Abu Dhabi and Dubai. And now, with the unveiling of a prototype design for the pods that will carry commuters at nearly the speed of sound through low-pressure tubes using magnetic levitation, the plan is inching closer to reality. The first hyperloop pod prototype, created by Virgin Hyperloop One in conjunction with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), debuted last week as part of UAE Innovation Month, and it gives travelers the first sense of what a trip on the future 'loop might really look like. And, no surprise given that Richard Branson is a major investor, the vibe is very Virgin: sleek, modern, and bathed in moody colored light. The dream of hyperloop transportation has been one of tech's most hyped ideas since Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk proposed the idea with a white paper back in 2013. While the billionaire entrepreneur is not involved with this particular project, Virgin Hyperloop One has big plans of its own for the developing technology, including other on-demand travel networks linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Mumbai to Pune. Along with its high speed, the hyperloop is contained underground and completely autonomous, which may be a major factor in reaching the RTA's goal of making as many as 25 percent of travel in Dubai driverless by 2030. The Dubai-Abu Dhabi hyperloop is expected to one day transport up to 10,000 people per hour between the two Emirati hubs, which are located about 75 miles apart, when it opens to the public, which could be as early as 2020. The Emirati hyperloop will be anchored by a B.I.G.–designed transport hub, making it clear that even when you take time out of the travel equation, things can still still look mighty futuristic.
Video posted to Instagram by observers in Dubai shows a powerful fire tearing through the city’s Marina Torch Tower, a 1,105-foot-tall tower overlooking the city’s marina. The 676-unit tower burned for roughly two hours early Friday morning local time before firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze. Video of the blaze showed one exposure of the tower almost entirely engulfed in flames with flaming debris falling from the tower. The Dubai Media Office relayed a message at 4 a.m. local time from the Dubai Civil Defense announcing that the blaze had been extinguished, adding and that “no casualties have been reported so far.” The fire represents the second such blaze at the tower, which previously caught fire in 2015. That fire was reportedly started by a barbecue grill being used on one of the building’s balconies. That fire led to extensive exterior renovations designed to replace damaged exterior cladding on the structure resulting from the fire. The current fire is under investigation.
After teasing audiences with a 170-second-long video last month, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled further information on its collaboration with Elon Musk's Hyperloop One, a super high-speed transit network in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With expected travel times of just 12 minutes between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the route would slash current car journey times of two hours between the cities. It's a tantalizing prospect and BIG has been working on the project since May of this year. The firm has developed concepts for autonomous point-to-point travel including Hyperloop One's transport portals and pods while also working on a feasibility study financed by the Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA). The plan so far involves a pods—capable of carrying humans and freight—traveling in excess of 680 miles per hour through pressurized tubes that would stretch between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These pods will carry six people and would be part of a zero-emission electric propulsion system. Speed is also a concern relative to passenger circulation outside the pods. "All elements of the travel experience are designed to increase convenience and reduce interruptions," BIG said in a statement. "The main objective of the design is to eliminate waiting from the passenger experience." BIG's designs for the portals build on a study that looked at inter-city transport network integration with existing infrastructure and population density in the two cities. As a result, the firm's proposal involves easily identifiable departure gates that passengers can swiftly access. While pods may be small in size, BIG explained that their frequency rate of arrival and departure would cater to high demand. Pods would also be able to operate autonomously away from the pressurized tubes, meaning they could travel on regular roads. "Together with BIG, we have worked on a seamless experience that starts the moment you think about being somewhere—not going somewhere,” said Josh Giegel, president of engineering of Hyperloop One, in a press release. “We don’t sell cars, boats, trains, or planes. We sell time.” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, added: “With Hyperloop One we have given form to a mobility ecosystem of pods and portals, where the waiting hall has vanished along with waiting itself. Hyperloop One combines collective commuting with individual freedom at near supersonic speed," he said. "We are heading for a future where our mental map of the city is completely reconfigured, as our habitual understanding of distance and proximity—time and space—is warped by this virgin form of travel.”
This week in Dubai, UAE officials and architects from Santiago Calatrava's firm broke ground on what will be the world's tallest skyscraper. The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour will rise 3,045 feet skyward when it is completed in 2020, at a cost of around $1 billion. “The design and architectural features of The Tower demand unique engineering approaches that are currently being implemented on site," said Santiago Calatrava, in a statement. "Extensive studies were undertaken in preparation for the groundbreaking, and the learning that we have gained from the experience will add to the knowledge base of mankind.” Departing zero percent from the bells-and-whistles approach so common to UAE mega-projects, the tower combines traditional Islamic architecture motifs with Calatrava's signature white fish bones. Although renderings can deceive, the tower looks like Erte's Venere In Pelliccia traded her dress for one from David's Bridal, taffeta train and all. The fly-over animation below takes viewers up, through, and around the tower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC02sSzCAI4 Flashy amenities are key to this tower's appeal: Its pointy tip is devoted to something called the Pinnacle Room, a panorama viewing area that features VIP "garden decks," or observation platforms. These and other decks rotate outward, providing additional viewing points. In some ways, Calatrava's design recognizes the challenges of building densely in the desert: Water collected from the cloudbuster's cooling system will be recycled to clean the facade, while strategically placed flora will shield the building from the harsh rays of the sun. As a downtown anchor, the tower's main plaza will offer high-end retail (is there even another kind of retail in a project this size?), education facilities, a museum, and an auditorium.
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. https://youtu.be/tb8eOV0s5bA 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."
Alabbar added that he intends to present the tower as a "gift to the city" before Dubai's 2020 World Expo, with which Norman Foster, Bjarke Ingels and Nick Grimshaw are all involved.
Dubai, seemingly the architectural playground of choice in recent times, was selected to host the 2020 World Expo three years ago. The event, which will last six months, will have the theme of "Connecting Minds, Creating Future." Not wanting to miss an opportunity to flaunt extravagant designs, Danish architect Bjarke Ingles and Brits Norman Foster and Nick Grimshaw have wasted no time jumping on the Dubai bandwagon. Their three firms, BIG, Foster + Partners and Grimshaw Architects have all received the green light to contribute pavilions touching on themes like mobility, sustainability, and opportunity. His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo Higher Committee in partnership with Emaar Properties, unveiled the winners of the competition this month. BIG will design the "Opportunity Pavilion" which showcases an extravagant undulating facade curved in three dimensions. The structure invites audiences in by revealing the central lobby and core of the pavilion which also houses an array of trees and plant life. Foster + Partners put forward their "Mobility Pavilion," which is equally outlandish and curvaceous. Foster reportedly drew on his experiences when master-planning Masdar City—a city in Abu Dhabi that will rely solely on renewable energy. Finally Grimshaw Architects' "Sustainability Pavilion" maintains the trend toward elliptical design, with a replica of a large solar collector. Usually seen in the desert, similar designs require a tower to focus the light onto the collector (and others in the vicinity). Here, the large disc, which is acutely curved to form a bowl, is surrounded by many smaller versions that stand freely around it. The three pavilions make up only a fraction of the 200 hectare site of the Expo, expected to open in four years.
Dystopia or dream? Dubai wants to build a domed “mall of the world” as Earth’s first climate-controlled city
Dubai's insatiable thirst for world firsts and records appears unquenched, as the city sets its eyes on yet another landmark title. Already home to the world's tallest building and with plans in the pipeline for the first fully rotational skyscraper, developer Dubai Holdings has unveiled plans for what would be the world's first climate-controlled city, something they call "The Mall of the World." https://youtu.be/p-lUp9sUFZw Although it may not be quite on the scale of Buckminster Fuller's plan to encapsulate Manhattan, Dubai is giving the late American architect a run for his money. The Mall of the World, if built, will be a staggering nine times larger than The Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. The 4.3-mile-long shopping mall would be encapsulated by a retractable dome that would be capable of offering an air-conditioned environment to the inhabitant shoppers who want to escape the city's searing desert heat. According to the developer, the space will be have almost 300 buildings with an annual capacity of up to 180 million visitors. By comparison, The Mall of America, built in 1992, offers a 5.4 million square feet of floor space (plus an additional 2.5 million in a separate plaza). Due to be complete by 2020, Dubai Holding COO Morgan Parker has said that the dome "will be critical to the Emirate's economic growth." Already more than 100 engineers and architects are working on plans that will see the area occupy around 48 million square feet of space when complete. Also included in the scheme will be a vast network of 33 roads as well as walkways, cycle paths, bus routes, and Venetian-style waterways. Aside from copious amounts of shops and restaurants, the dome will also offer:
- The largest indoor family theme park in the world
- Wellness district catering to medical tourists in a 3-million-square-foot area
- Cultural district comprising theatres built around New York’s Broadway, The Celebration Walk, similar to the Ramblas Street in Barcelona and shopping streets based on London’s Oxford Street
- Dubai’s largest celebration centre accommodating 15,000 revellers
The unsinkable can't sink twice, can it? Australian businessman Clive Palmer certainly hopes not. His replica Titanic, called Titanic II, is due to set sail in 2018 with the ship's maiden voyage taking a less treacherous path than her predecessor, sailing from Jiangsu in Eastern China to Dubai. The route through the South China and Arabian Seas and the Indian Ocean are supposedly iceberg free. https://youtu.be/QxDi_No5mNM Palmer originally floated the idea for the project in 2012, with planning beginning immediately, but the scheme has since been subject to delays, pushing the launch date to 106 years after the original Titanic's maiden excursion. Unlike the original, which used some 3 million rivet bolts to join the hull (of which some in the cold conditions broke upon contact with the iceberg), the Titanic II will have a welded hull and be approximately four yards wider. Another disparity that will be welcome news to passengers will be that it will have a 2,700 lifeboat capacity for its 2,435 member crew, unlike the original which controversially carried lifeboat capacity of 1,178 for its 2,223 passengers due to aesthetic reasons. http://titanic-ii.com/sites/default/files/videos/Grand_Staircase_Cam2.webm "The new Titanic will of course have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation and radar systems and all those things you’d expect on a 21st century ship" said James McDonald, marketing director, Blue Star Lines. Like the original, first, second, and third-class tickets will be available to purchase with segregated dining and living spaces corresponding to the tiered ticketing scheme. The vessel will cost $429 million, have a top speed of 24 knots (one knot more than the original) and be able to accommodate 2,400 passengers, (an increase of 177) and 900 crew.
Santiago Calatrava took the top spot in an international design competition for an observation tower in the Ras Al Khor district of Dubai, commonly known as Creek Harbour. Awarding the prize was Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The project has been hailed as an "architectural wonder" by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, who also compared it to the Burj Khalifa and the Eiffel Tower. Beating five other firms in the competition, Calatrava's design draws on forms found in traditional Islamic art and architecture, while merging modern and sustainable design paradigms with the aesthetic. The curvature of the towers appears, from the render, to be derived from bézier curves (a form of mathematical parabola) which are comprised from straight lines. These lines, most likely to be steel cables, would be attached to a central core which rise up and punctuates the Dubai skyline. "Combining Islamic architecture with modern design, the tower at Dubai Creek will become a national monument as well as a cultural and tourist destination,” said Mohamed Ali Al Alabbar, president of Emaar Properties. The same developer was also behind the Burj Khalifa. "In our proposed design, we have united local traditional architecture with that of the 21st century,” said Calatrava in a press release.
Dubai, a city famed for its taste in extravagant grandeur has become a playground for architects of late. Already home to many world firsts and record breakers, a new phenomenon in the form of an old idea may be on the horizon in the form of “Dynamic Tower,” an 80-story rotating skyscraper. Originally proposed by architect David Fisher eight years ago in 2008, the structure could be completed by 2020 if everything goes according to a new plan, says Dynamic Group, the firm behind the concept. Usually, when a firm claims to have conceived something as audacious as a “rotating tower,” they often refer to a little rooftop windmill, or the fact that the structure moves 0.01 inches in the wind. However, with Dynamic Group, this is not the case. https://youtu.be/iY0Uuyf8Xhw Dynamic Group's proposal comes complete with a video (with requisite dramatic music and a Ferrari) showing off its masterpiece. Concepts for Moscow and Paris also feature in what the firm describes as a “new era of architecture.” The tower aims to rise to a lofty 1,378 feet, which would make it the world's second tallest residential tower behind New York’s 432 Park. Designers claim as many as 80 floors will be able to fully rotate on a central column. It doesn’t stop there, either. According to What’s On, Dynamic Group said that floor rotation can be controlled via voice commands, providing, probably, the perfect way to wake that sleepy housemate up if all else fails. Unsurprisingly, the skyscraper will host some wealthy occupants, offering many luxury apartments. Some 79 wind turbines will be used generate energy for the tower along with solar panels that will be laid on the roof of each floor as well as the top roof itself. Fisher boldly claims that the tower would generate a surplus of power—enough "to power five other similarly sized buildings,” wrote What’s On. The designer also hopes to build 90 percent of the structure from prefabricated units. Dynamic Group claim the project will cost (a rather precise) $3,299,770,550 though whether the tower is realised, or simply spins out of control remains to be seen.
The Willis Tower (formerly known as, and still referred to by locals as, the Sears Tower) has been bumped from the Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat’s (CTBUH) top ten tallest buildings in the world list with the completion of the Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China. The significance of the Willis Tower’s fall from the top ten is in the fact that Chicago, as the birthplace of the skyscraper typology, has consistently been included in the list of top ten tallest buildings for at least the last 50 years. At 1,450 feet tall, the Willis Tower held the position of tallest in the world for 24 years from 1974–1998, when it was topped by the 1,483-foot-tall Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat measures buildings “from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional-technical equipment” Perhaps in a twist of irony, the tallest buildings in the world that have pushed Chicago out of the rankings have often been designed in Chicago or by Chicago-based offices. Though designed in its San Francisco office, the Shanghai Tower is the work of Chicago-based Gensler. The current world’s tallest building, Dubai's 2,717-foot-tall Burj Khalifa, was designed by Chicago-based SOM, also the designers of the Willis Tower. SOM is also responsible for the design of One World Trade Center in New York, which bumped the Willis Tower from its position as tallest building in the United States. Chicago-based Adrian Smith of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, former design partner and head of the Burj Khalifa project at SOM, is also responsible for the Jeddah Tower which will take the crown of tallest in the world when it is completed in 2020, rising over Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at a height of over 3,300 feet. Though Chicago no longer boasts the tallest skyline, the expertise of its architects is in higher demand than ever. According to the CTBUH, Chicago’s Willis Tower, and many other towers in the United States, will hardly break the top 50 tallest buildings in the world within the next 10 years, yet it can counted on that many of the multitudes of Asian towers soon to be crowding the top will be designed in the city where it all began.