A residential skyscraper in Dubai that will change shape as individual floors spin around a central core has begun taking bookings from potential buyers. How quickly they will put their names down for the flats will depend, however, on how seriously they choose to take the enterprise.
The building is the brainchild of a Florence-based architect, David Fisher. It appears revolutionary in more ways than one. As the floors swivel, the silhouette of the tower will mutate. The floors will be divided by horizontal wind turbines which will generate enough energy to power the structure. The roof will be clad with solar cells.
The dwellings will be manufactured as a series of pods in a factory outside Bari in southern Italy, transported to the site and attached to the concrete column. They will arrive already painted, decorated and, in some cases, with walls hung with artwork.
Dynamic Architdecture: An introduction
The plan was outlined by Mr Fisher in a press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York yesterday, with assistance from digital graphics and a violinist. "Today's life is dynamic, so the space we are living in should be dynamic as well," he said. "Buildings will follow rhythms of nature. They will change direction and shape from spring to summer, from sunrise to sunset, and adjust themselves to the weather. In other words, buildings will be alive."
The details of when the Dubai tower will be completed, where the financing for it is coming from and how much potential buyers should expect to pay remained vague, however.
The lead partner was identified by Mr Fisher as Rotating Tower Dubai Development Limited, which he said was based in Britain.
He did not seem able to confirm that the authorities in Dubai had yet formally signed off on the construction of the tower. But the factory in Italy is gearing up to start making the pods in the coming weeks, he said.
Potential investors may pause, meanwhile, because the highlight of Mr Fisher's professional career to date appears to have been developing pre-constructed marble bathroom suites for hotels. "I have not designed skyscrapers, that's right," he acknowledged to a reporter.
He also admitted that the morphing nature of the building might make one question its structural soundness. "You asked if it is safe," he said. "I had my doubts at the start, but now I am very confident."