team Spiros I Papadimitriou (GR), Sebastian Duque (CO), Roubini Makridou (GR)

How emblematic can be a tall-structure 5 times shorter than the city's top-tower? What iconographic power can have a building in a city whose ever changing coast-line does not stop rendering literal landmarks? ID_con is twisted ground generating a looping tower. It performs simultaneously as event-plaza and emblematic-frame; it is a topography that offers a three-dimensional arena in which Dubai's iconography is almost virgin: public space.

The ground-floor is conceived as a dune that reconfigures the Za’abeel’s Park artificial textures -grass, trees, flowers, water, and pavement- in a double set of twisted stripes forming linear gardens. Under the tower the stripes attached to cultural facilities are fulfilled with water. The remaining area renders a dune-landscape which attracts crowds for evening gatherings. The tower surface is covered with recycled PVC plates which, in exposition to sunlight, reflect a golden-sand gamma.

The void captured by the looping tower serves locally as a gigantic interactive screen. The void’s contour is equipment with a system of steam nozzles, laser-eyes and spot lights that transform the emblem into a giant tool capable to back-up the ground-festivals. Not only lighting games, texts, and images, but also rain, fog, steam, ice, and even snow, might fall from above.

At the top is located a panoramic café connected to the ground by a pair of circulation systems: (a) interior emergency stairs and a service elevator, and (b) a looping-lift whose capsules are based on the gyroscope and that operates as a hybrid between cable-cars and Luna-park weal. On an average speed of 21m/min, fourteen equidistant capsules of ten passengers each can complete a loop in 31 minutes. During rush hours, the capsules can be grouped in fours, speeding up the passenger movement.

The structural principle, inspired by the “string of beads” -an accessory broadly used in the Arab and east-Mediterranean world- is conceived as a double direction system: a set of consecutive space-frame elements which support compression efforts -the amber beads-, and a cable-system -the string- that rigidifies and stabilises asymmetric efforts. This system is anchored to a horizontal underground RC structure. Besides structurally, formally and programmatically, ground and building perform as one single entity.

status international competition "Tall emblem structure in Za'ableel Park"
program iconic structure
plot area 20.000 sqm
built area 850 sqm
organized by Thyssen Krup Elevators, Municipality of Dubai
location Dubai, UE
date 2009

juryH.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Municipality), H.E. Hussein Nasser Lootah (Director General of Dubai Municipality), Javier del Pozo Portillo (Chairman of ThyssenKrupp Elevator Business Unit Southern Europe, Africa & Middle East) Jaume Duró y Pifarre(Former Chairman, International Union of Architects),Rafael de la Hoz Castanys (Architect), Dalila ElKerdany (Architect), Nabil Gholam (Architect), Zaha Hadid (Architect)absent, Imad Hassan (Architect), Josep Luis Mateo (Architect), Tarek Naga (Architect), Antonio Ortíz García (Architect), Alfonso Vegara (Architect), Cino Zucchi (Architect)