Kaleidoscopic Dubai

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Kaleidoscopic Dubai

Location Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Challenged by a 2009 design competition, Cooper Carry designed Kaleidoscopic Tower to evoke the complex cultures, history and geography that make up the city of Dubai. Using the metaphor of a kaleidoscope, we sought to provide the dynamic city of Dubai with an exciting mirror through which to see itself.

A diagramming of the site revealed multiple faces which look at different landscapes of the city. Toward the north, Deira and Dubai Creek tell of old Dubai, the village, and the souk. A view to the Sheikh Zayed Road gives the contrast of a canyon of modern skyscrapers. Gazing at the Gulf, we see the technological marvel of artificial islands. We determined that there should be several mirrors (several places to look).

The proposed design includes an assemblage of structural legs at the base of the tower which frame and direct this activity. Ramps, pedestrian bridges, walkways and canopies form sinuous threads, stitching the site and city beyond into a more coherent whole. As the separate legs move upwards, a twisting motion ensues, unifying the structure into a singular expression. Viewing pods are distributed at the structural hinge points, celebrating and marking the journey upwards.

In order to create a column-free vertical envelope stretching 170 meters, we implemented a hybrid space truss. Tubular steel members interlock to form an exoskeletal cage containing an inner wrapper of shimmering, colored glass through scrim. Two silhouettes emerge which shift in dominance throughout the passage of the day; angular in the light, soft and glowing in the dark. This layering, in turn, provides the window through which Dubai, its history, and future, are observed and enjoyed.

With its ever-changing patterns, the proposed design creates a kaleidoscopic vision of a people and its aspirations.