Gallery: Dubious Dubai: The Towers We Will Never See


One of the sad things about the recent demise of the construction boom in Dubai is that we will no longer have so many wonderful architectural renderings to show. Some come from talented starchitects jumping through architectural hoops; others like the amazing confection that was Falcon City, feature the Eiffel Tower, pyramids and hanging gardens of Babylon. Sigh, so many glories that will never be built.

There was Rem Koolhaas, who first proposed a DeathStar in neighbouring Ras al Khaimah, and then lost his marbles again, with his master plan of a waterfront city.

Atkins proposed the “green” Anara tower with a fake wind-turbiney thing at the top to look cool but not do very much at all; we called it eco-bling.

Dubai was a hotbed of technological experimentation as well; at the Palazzo Versace, they are installing a refrigerated beach. TimesOnline explained:

The beach will have a network of pipes beneath the sand containing a coolant that will absorb heat from the surface. The swimming pool will be refrigerated and there are also proposals to install giant blowers to waft a gentle breeze over the beach. [They correctly noted:] The scheme is likely to infuriate environmentalists.

Another technological tour de force is the elegant Seawater Vertical Farm from Studiomobile. They tell us that “the seawater vertical farm uses seawater to cool and humidify greenhouses and to convert sufficient humidity back in to fresh water to irrigate the crops.” More: Vertical Farm in Dubai Uses Seawater

And of course, there were David Fisher’s rotating towers, which Inhabitat covered, even going so far as to announce that it was going to start construction. But alas, it was not to be; the economy tanked and people ran for the exits, often just abandoning their cars at the airport.

At one point we quoted Rachel Noble of Tourism Concern:Dubai is like a bubble world where the things that are worrying the rest of the world, like climate change, are simply ignored so that people can continue their destructive lifestyles.” And unfortunately like all bubbles, it eventually burst. We shall not see the likes of it again for some time.

More on Dubai in TreeHugger:

+ Dubai Gets More Dubious

+ Wretched Excess Dept.: Dubai Tower Has 57 Swimming Pools

+ Bye, Bye, Dubious Dubai

+ Dubai Gets Less Dubious with Xeritown by SMAQ and X-Architects

+ Dubious Dubai


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  1. otii May 6, 2011 at 7:49 am

    i like it

  2. feline74 January 8, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Depending on the output of the Vertical Farm, I can see where that might actually get built someday–it’s useful!

    And what’s to keep someone from implementing some of these designs elsewhere, someday?

  3. CRCurran December 4, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I don’t wish ill on anyone but Dubai is a place that shouldn’t be. It uses slave labor and vast resources that have been expended to create it and maintain it. Despite some of the eco buildings that have been designed, it is all green washing when you consider the city as a whole.

  4. davidwayneosedach December 4, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I’ve only been to Dubai once and let me tell you I loved skiing in their indoor ski area. As for your feature I hope I live long enough to see some of those exotic designs become reality! I particularly like Falcon City. I would like to think that the Eifel tower was an exact replica of the one in Paris!

  5. Milieunet December 4, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Strange conclusion. Why are these buildings never built? No idea. The same will all kind of projects in the USA. The selection is five buildings is very small with all projects in Dubai

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