In Dubai, a renowned architecture firm proposed a conceptual design of a huge circular five-story structure that would surround the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifawith a height of 829.8 meters, almost double that of the Empire State Building.
The project, known as Downtown Circlejoins “community, luxury and futuristic urban planning” in a tremendously ambitious design, which has brought to life a series of fascinating illustrations.
The main architects of the ZNera Space studio, Najmus Chowdry and Nils Remess, conceive Downtown Circle as a horizontal line against the dizzying and futuristic skyline of Dubai’s seemingly endless skyscrapers.
Convincing and radical as the design of the Downtown Circle is, it is – for now – implausible from a practical and financial point of viewthey admit Chowdry and Remess.
“The idea was to start a conversation”Chowdry told CNN. “Something that could make people will rethink urban developmentthat the congestion of the city be reconsidered… We are promising the sustainable city”.
“We are working on very important aspects that raise the debate on how we are planning cities,” added Remess. “The reason we chose the Burj Khalifa was because it’s in a very dense urban area, and we want to address the issues that come with dense populations in cities.”.
The structure, which is intended to rise 550 meters above street level, would have a circumference of more than three kilometers. The ring would rest on five huge pillars – with their bases situated on vacant lots – that could serve an additional purpose.
“We wanted to create a microclimate in the center of the city and create a kind of envelope around the area to control the temperature and make it more livable when it is hot”Chowdry explained. “You can use those [pilares] verticals as urban air purifiers”.
The structure of the pillars could incorporate a innovative smog filtering design created by ZNera Spacewhich was shortlisted for the 2018 World Architecture Festival award in the “Future Experimental Project” category.
In Dubai, temperatures often exceed 40°C, and the architects want their design to set a new benchmark for sustainability in the region.
“The entire roof will be a stretch of solar panels”Chowdry revealed. “What we also want to do is apply a technology that we have already used in a previous project, hydrogen solar cells.”
This technology uses solar energy to convert water into hydrogenwhich can power the air conditioning and provide power to the building.
The design has been drawn up in accordance with the Dubai master plan to achieve a sustainable urban environment by 2040.
The concept also proposes transportation options from one end to another, including a electric tram system that could reach speeds of 100 kilometers per hour and infrastructure to house air taxis.
This architectural ambition is not without its engineering challenges, such as creating a structure strong enough to house the interior features, but light enough to be supported by the pillars..
“The structure itself is quite light. I imagine it as a (big) airplane: the skin, the ribs, become the structure and the interior is all hollow”Chowdry noted.
“But then it is supported by these columns and the circular ring,” he continued. “We chose to make it circular because it is the most stable structural format.”
The proposed Downtown Circle would weave residential spaces between commercial, corporate and cultural areas to form a “self-sufficient city within a city,” Remess said. “If you live there, you can get to your office, or to your park, or to your house in a 15 to 20 minute walk. In Dubai, it’s hard to do that.”
The highlight of the design interior is a continuous green beltcalled sky park, which connects the five floors of the structure. “The Skypark is the backbone of the whole design,” Chowdry noted. “It will be a mixed-use green space and it will also act as a space to rethink what agriculture is going to look like in the future, especially in cities.”
“If we look at history, agriculture came first and then we built the city,” Remess said. “Now we have lost this concept a bit. With this green belt within the structure, we want to bring agriculture and food production back to the center of the city.”
The concept is attracting attention, but not all of it is positive. Since the mockups were posted on the company’s Instagram page, some commenters have said that the design could destroy the fabric of the downtown district.
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Downtown Circle: the pharaonic project that would turn Dubai is a futuristic setting