Construction Estimating Today!

Where our industry is headed and how to cut costs

April 30th, 2010

Dubai Tower

Dubai has been no stranger to eccentric architecture. From buildings that look like wind sails to entire neighborhoods hundreds of meters from the coastline on man-made islands, the city is a marvel of creative engineering. The Dynamic Tower will take innovation to the next step. It is scheduled to be the world’s first moving skyscraper, a 420 meter tower made of 80 floors that each can rotate on its own axis changing the shape of the building constantly.

The Building

The towers were conceived by Italian architect David Fisher. It is to be a mixed use building containing a hotel, apartments, and offices. Each floor is powered by turbines and solar panels located between floors and is completely energy self-sufficient. In fact, it is speculated to produce enough energy to also power the neighboring 5 buildings. Each floor is to rotate at a rate of 1 rotation every 90 minutes maximum, though floors will be moving at different speeds  to create an effect where the building is actually morphing into new shapes. The added effect is that the residents will also be treated to a new view pretty much constantly.


In order to pull off this great feat Mr. Fisher has employed the talents of Les E. Robertson, the chief engineer responsible for the World Trade Center. Both architect and engineer have given confidence not only that this can be built, but that it’s construction can be completed in under 22 months. This  considerably less than the 3 years it takes to build the average skyscraper, even ones that do not rotate on every floor. Some hints as to why this is can be found in the building cost estimates.

The Costs

The first moving building is not the only “First” title that Mr. Fisher and Mr. Roberton are seeking. This building is also scheduled to be the first modular skyscraper ever built. Each floor is to be built out of 12 modules developed off site and transported to the building location, where it is to be assembled 1 story at a time. This approach will only require 80 technicians while the typical skyscraper requires about 2,000 workers.

The plumbing and electrical will already be fitted. For efficiency, only cold water will be delivered using the same plumbing as the sprinkler system. The pressure will be changed at the point of deliver to adjust for the difference needed between the two systems and it will be heated at the pointof delivery. This will drastically lower the amount of plumbing needed.

No exact figures have been published for estimating construction costs, though figures have been stated in between 700 million and 1.3 billion dollars. The luxury suites are selling at about $3,000 per square foot. Apartments are going between 3.7 million and 36 Million. Lifts will allow for for owners to park thier cars on the same floor as their suite. Another of the same building is already being designed to be built in Moscow and New York.

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