The new project – The Tower in Dubai Creek Harbour — comes as Dubai developers continue to announce new schemes despite a softening real estate sector, with the Emaar-built Burj Khalifa’s ranking expected to be usurped by a tower currently under construction in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Alabbar would not confirm the height of the proposed new tower, saying only that it would be “a notch” taller than the Burj Khalifa, which stands at more than 828 m.
Supported by a matrix of cables, the futuristic tower will anchor the redevelopment of the Dubai Creek, the heart of old Dubai where traditional dhow boats continue to ferry goods.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, chose the design by renowned Spanish/Swiss neo-futuristic architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter Santiago Calatrava Valls, from a competitive international design pitch for this new landmark, an Emaar statement said.
The Tower serves as the vibrant core of Dubai Creek Harbour, a 6-sq-km world-class master-plannned development that is two times the size of Downtown Dubai and located 10 minutes from the Dubai International Airport.
The waterfront development is centred off the Dubai Creek, the cradle of Dubai’s history and culture, and in close proximity to the Ras Al Khor National Wildlife Sanctuary, protected under the Unesco Ramsar Convention and home to over 67 species of water birds.
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “The Tower in Dubai Creek Harbour is our tribute to the positivity, energy and optimism that Dubai and the UAE celebrate, led by a leadership committed to all-round progress. A shining beacon of hope for the world, celebrating diversity and human achievements, this new iconic landmark further highlights the country’s ambition and futuristic vision and enhance our nation’s pride. It will be the destination for the world to visit, enjoy and celebrate life, as Dubai prepares to host the Expo 2020.
He added: “The design by Santiago Calatrava, chosen after a competitive pitch from the world’s top architects, was a perfect fit to our requirement for a landmark that defined our urban core for Dubai Creek Harbour. It integrates not just design excellence but also strong environmental and smart-tech considerations. With The Tower, we are delivering a compelling destination that will add long-term economic value to Dubai and the UAE. It will also position Dubai Creek Harbour as one of the most desired residential, leisure and touristic attractions, providing visitors and residents with a modern, luxurious and sustainable environment in which to live, work, learn and entertain.”
The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour draws design inspiration from the lily and evokes the image of a minaret, which is a common feature and distinctive aspect of Islamic culture. The elongated oval-shaped bud and geometric texture set the template for the observation decks. The slender stem serves as the analogy for the structure, which is engineered to its most efficient diameter. It is linked to the ground with sturdy cables, in turn, inspired by the delicate ribbing of the lily leaves. The cable array gives the structure its strength, anchoring the ‘bud’ securely to the ground with technical precision using modern engineering materials, said the statement.
Offering unprecedented experiences for 360 degree views of the city and beyond, the crowning glory of The Tower will be The Pinnacle Room opening to grand views of the sky. The VIP Observation Garden Decks recreate the splendour of the ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon,’ one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The piece-de-resistance will be the fully glazed rotating balconies that extend outward, rotating outside the skin of the tower. The tower will also have a world-class boutique hotel for visitors.
The design will be finalised following elaborate wind tunnel testing and all mandatory seismic testing. Every aspect of The Tower is designed and being developed to the highest international standards of safety – from the choice of materials to the technology being used. All local government codes and regulations will be adhered to with close co-ordination and guidance from the concerned authorities, it said.
Celebrating the iconic status of The Tower, the lighting will emphasise the ‘flower bud’ design as a floating element at the top of the structure, serving as a beacon of light at night. The structural core and tension cables will be gently and dynamically illuminated. Movement Lighting will be used to enhance not only the visitor journey but also the view from outside.
The Tower takes into consideration environmental and sustainability features that will serve as industry benchmarks. It starts with the thoughtful design with an environment-friendly tram service to be integrated for effortless access. On-foot visitors have a multitude of access points on to the plaza. A number of green corridors are envisaged for pedestrian access and effortless connectivity with Dubai Creek Harbour, the statement said.
Emaar has unveiled high-end residences in Dubai Creek Harbour including Dubai Creek Residences, Creekside 18, and most recently, Harbour Views homes in The Island District, a vibrant lifestyle hub. All homes open to premium views of the Dubai Creek, a stylish marina with a yacht club, the adjacent Ras Al Khor natural bird sanctuary and the impressive skyline of Downtown Dubai. The residences also open to the spectacular views of The Tower.
A bustling 4.5-km Creek Boardwalk envelopes the Island District. Among the nearby amenities are event spaces, galleries, fascinating water features and a trendy Vida hotel that all add to the quality of life.
The building is expected to be completed for the Dubai Expo trade fair in 2020, the same year that the kilometre-high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah is due to overtake the Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building.
Funding for the $1-billion project will be 50 per cent equity and 50 per cent debt, Alabbar said, undeterred by a residential property market that consultancy Cluttons says has softened for at at least five quarters.
The balance between supply and demand is very encouraging, Alabbar said. He declined to give figures, but said: “I don’t see a pullback. We are doing better than 2015.”