Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dubai will become city of supertowers

Dubai: The city will have the largest number of supertowers - buildings that rise more than 100 habitable floors - as five more will be added to the seven under development, Gulf News has learnt.

The new supertowers are part of a cluster of 11 projects worth Dh25 billion to be built in a major master-planned development that will be announced in October.

All five supertowers will be about 600 metres tall - rising more than 100 floors. These are some of the most unique projects incorporating the latest building technologies and consuming up to 60 per cent less energy," Adrian Smith, who designed Burj Dubai - currently the world's tallest tower - told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

His firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects, is designing the projects.

Thirteen supertowers are currently under development worldwide, including seven in Dubai. The five new ones will change the equation heavily in favour of the emirate.

The supertowers already announced in Dubai include Al Burj, Burj Al Alam, Princess Tower, Marina 101 and Pentominum.

Dubai is set to re-define its skyline with a number of supertowers that will rise more than 100 floors and 600 metres, with a combined estimated value of Dh25 billion ($7 billion).

The projects, to be announced later this year, will be part of a new master-planned development that will raise Dubai's profile on urban development and masterplanning.

Dubai Government has already approved the projects, currently titled AC Towers, EP Site 07, 09 and 15. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, the projects are expected to be completed in five years. Smith, the lead architect, also designed the Burj Dubai - currently the world's tallest tower at 160 floors.

"Dubai has already become the host to the highest number of supertowers in the world," Smith said. "We are going to add a few more to the city's growing skyline. Out of the 13 supertowers that are being designed by us, five of them will be located in the UAE and one in Qatar."

His company has already signed with the "yet to be announced developer" to build these towers, which are unique in their own ways and will be more energy efficient. Eco-friendliness, energy efficiency, sustainability and intelligent building systems are key to the strength of these towers, designed to stand out among the hundreds of towers that are being developed.

Smith said the new technology that he plans to employ on the buildings will pull air from the top floors, that are about 10 degree cooler, and spray them at the lower levels where temperature is higher. "This is a unique technique never employed in supertowers. Dubai will be the first city in the world to have them implemented," he said.

"The new buildings that we have designed for Dubai can save energy by 40 to 60 per cent. We can get to '0' level in energy consumption. "We can, in fact, design buildings that can create energy for the city. Instead of consuming energy, these buildings can actually contribute energy to the city."

AC Towers

AC is a cluster of three supertowers - rising above 100 floors, to be connected at base with an atrium and with skybridges. A mixed-use project, it will have a built-up area of 800,000 to 900,000 square metres and parking facilities for more than 6,000 people. It will have a hotel, and residential, commercial, retail and entertainment space for people to be able to live and work.

"The new towers that we have planned, the AC Tower and EP towers will, for the first time, employ the latest architectural ideas and techniques. They will be more energy efficient, high density building and highly sustainable," Smith said. "For example a canal and waterway will pass through the AC Towers and will create an open space for educational and theatrical activities."

EP 07 Tower

Among the three EP projects, EP 07 will rise 125 floors and reflect Dubai's pearl trading and farming heritage. The mixed-use project will be approximately 600 metres high and will have a built-up area of 350,000 square metres. "We have designed them to reflect on Dubai's rich heritage - developed especially for Dubai. It is covered by ribbons of steel that helps it to utilise the solar energy and make it sustainable," Smith said. "The steel ribbon helps save energy. Besides, the buildings have been designed to withstand wind pressure and manage the pressure more efficiently. At peak, it will tilt less than 1.25 metres either way."

EP 09 Tower

Three curved structures, each hosting two buildings, form EP 09. With a build-up area of 450,000 square metres, the six towers will be of 30-40 floors.

The three pairs will be a mixed-use community with one purely residential and the other two having commercial, retail, hospitality and entertainment facilities - all connected at the base, but separated above by a distance spanning 175 metres. "These will be very energy-efficient intelligent and smart buildings. There will be open garden spaces with water, creating an oasis surrounding the six buildings," Gordon Gill said. "These buildings will have landscaped roof, garden and podium. "Besides, energy saved by one tower could be passed on to another. This way, these buildings complement the use of energy. "This concept is unique and we are going to implement this in Dubai for the first time with the new Dubai-based master developer."

EP 15 Tower

Within EP, the EP Site 15 Tower combines simple geometric principles with new and emerging technologies to create a modern, soaring "tower of light". Like a prism, the tower has a series of faceted surfaces that increase the light and air travelling through the building, which maximises energy generation in building systems. "The EP 15 Tower filters wind and light and the prism shape helps the tower to withstand the pressures of high wind and minimises risks," Smith said. "The six holes on the building helps pass the wind through and costs 25 per cent less."

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