Rotating Skyscraper Might Rise (Again) in Dubai

Described as the 'world's first rotating skyscraper,' Dubai's Dynamic Tower might (key word: might) be back on after it was first proposed in 2008. (Photo: Dynamic Architecture)

A Dubai skyscraper composed of prefabricated luxury housing units that are stacked 80-stories high and can independently rotate — yes, rotate — up to 20 feet per minute has swiveled back into the news after a period of inactivity.

The eye-catching — not to mention ambitiously nausea-inducing — brainchild of Israeli-Italian architect David Fisher, the proposal for the so-called Dynamic Tower has been kicking around for nearly a decade now. In 2008, it was announced that the perpetually shifting condo-stack would be completed and open to strong-stomached, ultra-rich residents by 2010.

That obviously never happened.

In the years since, there have been sporadic whispers that the Dynamic Tower project was back on. Again, construction on the proposal never commenced and those on the market for pirouetting investment properties in the United Arab Emirates were left empty-handed.

Now, as reported by Motherboard, it would appear that Dynamic Tower is back on yet again with an anticipated finish date by 2020 in anticipation of that year’s World Expo, an event that the UAE expects will draw 25 million visitors from across the globe to the aggressively futuristic desert city perched on the Persian Gulf.

Still, UAE-based news and lifestyle website What’s On notes that developer Dynamic Architecture has yet to secure a building site. There’s also no word yet on who exactly plans to finance the project. (Back in 2008, the estimated price tag for the tower was a stunning $700 million.) Whatever the case, keep in mind that the Eiffel Tower, another super-tall structure that no one thought would ever happen — or at least last as long as it has — was also built for a previous world exposition.

In addition to its remarkable height of 1,378 feet (just a smidge shorter than Dubai’s current tallest residential tower, the recently topped-out Marina 101), the most notable feature attribute of Dynamic Tower is, naturally, those slowly spinning apartment units that will sell for $30 million (!) a pop.

Positioned along an elevator- and utility-housing central column that runs the length of the structure, each individual unit, as mentioned, will be prefabricated off-site in a factory allowing for quicker and easier construction. Each unit will also be individually controlled — that is, residents will have the ability to control, via voice-activated command, which direction their apartments rotate in and how far they pivot. Spinning at a maximum of 20 feet per minute, a full rotation would take just under an hour-and-a-half to complete.

In addition to always-changing views, one not-so-insignificant perk of living in an apartment that can rotate on command is the opportunity to capture maximum sunshine.

Apartment, please turn 80 degrees to the left so I can enjoy this spectacular sunset from my bedroom instead of the kitchen.

With each “floor” capable of rotating at different degrees in different directions at different speeds and times, the constantly changing Dynamic Tower certainly lives up to its name. And unless every single resident comes together to participate in a lets all face the same direction at the same time party, there's a slim chance that the facade of Dynamic Tower will ever look entirely uniform.

Of course, an 80-story residential tower with apartment units that revolve on-demand has the potential to be a massive energy suck. Not the case here, as Fisher has envisioned the spaces between each spinning floor to be equipped with small armies of horizontally positioned wind turbines — 79 per floor, to be exact — that generate the power needed for rotation. The tower will also be clad with solar panels for additional energy needs. In fact, between the wind turbines and solar panels, Fisher believes his creation could potentially generate enough juice to help power neighboring buildings as well.

Again, Dynamic Tower, a project that's been off and on since 2008, is perhaps not worth holding one's breath despite the newly announced anticipated completion date. However, in a city that's home to an indoor ski resort, an underwater hotel and the tallest manmade structure in the world, a self-powered rotating skyscraper shouldn't be completely disregarded as pure fantasy.