Dubai’s Wind Powered Rotating Skyscraper is Building in Motion

dubai skyscraper building rotating wind image dynamic towerThe world’s first moving building, Dynamic Tower, a skyscraper with 80 independently rotating floors, is being planned for Dubai (which has big green plans for 2008), with another 70-storey structure to be built in Moscow.

These cutting edge buildings, over 400 meters tall, will be constructed of prefabricated sections mounted on a central concrete core, at an estimated cost of $700m.  Catering to the upper crust, apartments are priced to sell at $3.7m – $36m, and will include such necessities as in-house parking, indoor swimming pools, voice controlled systems and an ever changing view.

Aside from the tremendous “cool” factor, the design incorporates a number of advanced environmental building principles (links to EPA in the United States):

Wind Power: The power for the building will be supplied by horizontal wind turbines installed between the floors, thus avoiding the visual impact, one of the major drawbacks of the familiar “propellor” turbine.  The blades are designed and constructed of materials to allow for quiet operation – a necessary feature, since they are only meters away from the residents.  The architect, Dr. David Fisher, explained wind is a problem for most skyscrapers, and he decided to make use of it instead.

Solar Power: Photovoltaic solar panels will be installed on the roof of each rotating floor, and because they are constantly in motion, 20% of each roof will be open to the sky and to the sun.

These sources are designed to generate more electricity than is used in the building, and to make this the first skyscraper that is self-powered.

Prefabrication: The individual units will be manufactured off-site in a dedicated factory, thus reducing the costs by about 10% and increasing the efficiency of the construction by 30%.  Prefabrication has the added benefit of allowing for a cleaner construction site, with a simpler and shorter process of assembly, less use of resources and energy, and minimal site disturbance.

High Density Building: High rise construction is an efficient use of area with a reduced footprint, as opposed to sprawling, low density development.

Building Materials: The use of natural and recyclable materials, insulated glass and structural insulating panels.

Natural Lighting: The units in the building should have sufficient natural light from the large expanse of glass and the rotation.

Check here and here for videos of the planned buildings in motion.

More links on greening buildings and Dubai:
A Green Survey of Dubai and United Arab Emerites
Dubai’s twirling tower
Rotating Wind Powered Apartment Skyscraper
Dubai plans ‘moving’ skyscraper
US Green Building Council
USEPA guidelines for Green Building

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About Daniel Pedersen

Having spent my Jerusalem childhood ear-deep in science fiction stories, I’m still waiting for clean and abundant fusion power. On the way, I dabbled in solar-powered desalination and alternative building technologies at Swarthmore College, and studied the chemistry and mutagenic effects of particulate air pollution at MIT for a PhD in environmental engineering.Since returning to Jerusalem in 2002, I’ve directed air quality research campaigns from Rosh Hanikrah to Eilat & Aqaba for Hebrew University. I’ve led cooperative regional projects, wrote a successful proposal for the largest air-quality study in the history of the Middle East, and established the first monitoring network in Palestinian cities. Last year I edited a weekly TV environmental spot on Channel 2 and wrote a companion blog.At Hadassah College I train the next generation of environmental science professionals, audit Israel’s chemical and environmental laboratories for the Israel Laboratory Accreditation Authority, and provide environmental consulting services to diverse clients.Daniel can be reached at daniel (at)

47 thoughts on “Dubai’s Wind Powered Rotating Skyscraper is Building in Motion

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  15. Melanie

    Dubai is already bankrupt, and it’s building stupid things like this that has done it to them. A good example of what happens when you have rich people run things without democracy.

  16. Jose Nieves

    I am concerned about how this moving building will withstand an earthquake. It seems like a fragile structure when the earth is shakling and trembling. I love those wind turbines though. Is amazing to think that this building will be self powered.

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  24. Bracken

    This is a very unique and cool idea. I am amazed that those blades will capture enought energy to spin that building, I also hope it has a braking device just incase of superspeed gusts. I would move in, but the price tag seems to be a little much.

  25. Bracken

    This is a very unique and cool idea. I am amazed that those blades will capture enought energy to spin that building, I also hope it has a braking device just incase of superspeed gusts. I would move in, but the price tag seems to be a little much.

  26. deborah byrd

    We’ve been wondering about the plumbing, also. One thought was a circular sealed trough that allowed a waste pipe to move along with the building’s rotation. another thought was a holding tank that would allow for dumping after the rotation was complete and located at specific intervals along the core. Kind of like a docking station for a space module that would lock into place after rotation is complete and automatically empty the tank. Would love to see the plans!

  27. Jelly

    Technically, the planned wind turbines (“power for the building will be supplied by horizontal wind turbines”) will not be horizontal. Wind power generators have two classes: HAWT and VAWT; the difference being the plane on which the axis lies, horizontal or vertical. Since these will be mounted on a central vertical structure that makes these plans for a VAWT.

    Otherwise, interesting idea. S

    BUT, who gets to decide which side of the structure faces which way?


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  29. Kevin

    I can’t figure out how they are going to run water/sewer pipes into a rotating building with standard technology. Has anyone else thought this through and figured it out. I envision plumbing/electric running up the center, non-rotating portion of the building, but how can you pipe that out to the rest of the building.
    My only thought is that the building cannot continually rotate in the same directions. Rather, it has to oscillate it’s rotations back and forth, and then they can use flexible piping.

    • Donutgiraffe

      Yes, in that case they could use flexible piping, but then you would have to deal with some major motion sickness. That’s why I don’t think this is possible: Either you have motion sickness or you have impossible piping.
      This all seems like a really bad idea in the first place.

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  31. Daniel Pedersen

    I’ve been following more coverage of this project – apparently there are plans for one in New York City (but where would you put it so that it can be seen…)
    One of the criticisms I’ve read: how does the plumbing work? How would you attach pipes in the moving section to the stationary core? Or maybe you just have to put the toilets, showers and sinks in the central core.

  32. Richard Buckton

    This will be a good way to offset some of the less green things that are done in Dubai – developments like Palm Island and The World have been criticised for the disruption they cause to marine life etc.


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