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Spin city?

The Dynamic Tower is being promoted as the world's first fully rotating building, but how feasible is the project from a services perspective? MEP Middle East investigates.


The Dynamic Tower is being promoted as the world's first fully rotating building, but how feasible is the project from a services perspective? MEP Middle East investigates.

Building in Dubai can be similar to taking part in a conversation where everyone is talking at once. In order to make yourself heard you need to either shout the loudest or provide an interesting viewpoint.

One newly proposed project that is currently attracting interest has pulled out all the stops to appear individual, but questions are already being asked as to its feasibility.

Dynamic Tower was announced in late June in a great fanfare by developer Rotating Tower Dubai Development of Dynamic Group. The primary focus of the attention was on the news that each floor of the 80-storey building would be able to rotate by 360° independently.

Mooted by the developer as "the first building in motion", this feature will, it reported, allow residents to move their apartments to face the direction they desire, while creating a continually changing building shape, as illustrated above.

Dynamic Tower was conceptualised by architect David Fisher, a man with no previous experience in skyscraper design. One area of experience he does plan on bringing to the proposed building however is that of prefabrication.

Having previously been involved with the design and use of prefabricated bathroom pods, Fisher reasons that the use of prefrabricated units will be key to the delivery of this project.

The architect's aim is for the majority of the building to be constructed from prefabricated sections that are custom-made in a factory then delivered to site for assembly around a concrete core that will be poured in situ.

Fisher estimates that by using this method only 80 technicians will be needed on the construction site to complete the build process instead of the 2,000 that would be required for a similar sized project built using traditional methods.

A further 600 workers would be employed in the prefabrication facility he adds. The main MEP systems will also be installed in the factory as part of the prefabricated units reports Fisher.

The first 20 levels of the proposed building are designed as offices; with a six-star hotel planned for the next 15 levels; 35 floors of luxury apartments and ten floors of villas are due to top the 420m-tall building.

MEP in motion

One of the major questions that the Dynamic Tower project immediately raises is just how will the building function? In addition to installing MEP systems to supply the building occupants with services such as power, water and drainage, systems will also be needed to ensure the rotation of the floors.

Details of how this will be achieved have not been revealed, with Fisher only willing to state that the challenge of designing the MEP services systems will be overcome "through the use of technologies already developed in other fields".

All central core engineering systems will be connected to the rotating parts of the floors, the developer reports. New York-based MEP consultant LEHR has reportedly been appointed to the project engineering team, but remained unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.

In terms of the rotation of floors, drive and control system specialist Bosch Rexroth has been named as the party responsible for the engineering and manufacturing of all systems related to the mechanics of the revolving floors.

This includes the interface between the MEP systems and the floor as well as a specially designed control system to sychronise the drives. Up to 20 Rexroth drives would be needed to move each prefabricated floor of the building around the central axis according to initial reports.

Green thinking

Sustainable design is another feature of the proposed building reports Fisher, with renewable energy sources intended to be the primary source of power.

"The Dynamic Tower is environmentally friendly and the first building designed to be self-powered, with the ability to generate its own electricity as well as that needed for other nearby buildings," claims Fisher.

"It achieves this feat with wind turbines fitted between each rotating floor: an 80-story building will have up to 79 wind turbines, making it a true green power plant," he adds.

The initial project designs unveiled include horizontally-mounted wind turbines between each of the building's storeys. The carbon fibre turbine blades will be specially manufactured for the project according to initial reports.

The efficiency of the system and effect on the overall project price have yet to be released. Additional plans involve the inclusion of photovoltaic cells on the roof of each rotating floor.

To further improve the energy efficient operation of the project, insulated glass and structural panels will be used for the build reports Fisher.

With Fisher stating a 22-month construction schedule for the project and a completion date of 2010, the feasibility of providing MEP services for a rotating building will soon become evident. The industry will watch and wait to see.

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