DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 10, (AP): Dubai is reaching for the sky once again, with the developer of the world’s tallest building vowing Sunday to build an even taller tower bedecked with rotating balconies and elevated landscaping inspired by the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon.
The government-backed company behind the project, Emaar Properties, hopes the new tower will entice a fresh wave of view-seeking homeowners even as it raises numerous other promised skyscrapers and repairs a prominent one gutted by fire on New Year’s Eve Company Chairman Mohamed Alabbar said the new observation tower would be “a notch” taller than the 2,717-foot (828-meter) Burj Khalifa.
Just how much taller he wouldn’t say. Unlike the Burj Khalifa, the new $1 billion tower will not be a traditional skyscraper but more of a cable-supported spire containing “garden” observation decks graced with trees and other greenery.
Emaar says it will also contain a boutique hotel, restaurants and glass balconies that rotate outside the wall of the tower. The structure’s design means it is unlikely to be widely recognized as a taller “building” than the Burj Khalifa even if it surpasses it in height.
The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, for example, says at least 50 percent of a structure’s height must contain usable floor area for it to be considered in its ranking of the world’s tallest buildings. That typically disqualifies telecommunications and observation towers that have only a small number of floors.
It and the Burj Khalifa could also be surpassed by a skyscraper being built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that promises to rise more than 1 kilometer (3,281 feet) high. The new Dubai tower will be the centerpiece of a new 6-square-kilometer (2.3-square-mile) development on the edge of the Dubai Creek, near a protected wildlife sanctuary that regularly attracts flamingoes and other water birds.
Alabbar likened the structure, designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, to a 21st-century Eiffel Tower that can act as a magnet not just for tourists but also for property buyers willing to pay a premium for nearby apartments with a view. It is due to open by the time Dubai hosts the World Expo in 2020.