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Rotating Skyscraper in Dubai: Innovation or Disaster?

  1. Jun 25, 2008 #1
    So I was browsing the web when I stumbled on this:

    Da Vinci Tower

    It's supposed to be the worlds first dynamic building that's self powered by wind turbines and all floors can individually rotate 360 degrees.

    When reading about it however, I couldn't help but think about a time in my intro to engineering class when an engineering lawyer came in as a guest lecturer and showed us some of the greatest engineering blunders of all time. Now looking at this prospected design, you can't help but think is it really going to work?

    I mean yea it looks great in the 3D renderings and all, but in all practicality I think the architects are really jumping the gun on this one. Can wind turbines really generate enough power to supply a 68 story building? Most importantly, since nothing like this has ever been done before, there's no way of predicting all of the many possible safety hazards which could occur.

    I just want to know what everyone's opinion is on this design and whether or not you believe it will be as successful as its architect (David Fisher) predicts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2008 #2


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    I saw this in the paper today too. It could not possibly be able to generate all of its own power via wind. Wind energy simply isn't dense enough for that. Don't have time right now, but I'll do a quick calc later...
  4. Jun 25, 2008 #3


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    Innovation will always push the boundaries of what's already been done. You mention great engineering blunders; well; most of these had consequences which were unforeseen at the time of conception. Generally, lessons were learnt; and modern techniques significantly aid the engineers responsible for the success of the project. Errors still happen (London's Millennium Bridge springs to mind), but you can rest assured that the predictive work involved in this project goes way beyond 3D renderings.

    In terms of construction, the theory is sound. While 18 monts for construction may be optimistic, the idea of factory, modular construction is sound and well proven. Revolving structures are also well proven, though not to this magnitude.

    Finally, regarding the power system, the science and engineering behind sizing such generation systems is well understood. Whether it's been done correctly or not, I have no idea! The quote is that solar and 'turbines' will provide power for the entire building (plus enough for five others), but the turbines between floors providing energy from movement of the floors sounds a bit far-fetched. A few dozen kW maybe.
  5. Jun 26, 2008 #4
    You gotta love dubai with all there money and elaborate buildings and proposed buildings.
    Im sure they have enough money to provide the amount of solar panels and win turbines to generate the power required to rotate the building. Dubai is also located on a peninsula near the indian ocean so I imagine they get alot of wind to power turbines.

    As Brewnog said "but the turbines between floors providing energy from movement of the floors sounds a bit far-fetched. " I would agree I dont understand how you would get much power from turbines between the floors because the energy comes from the motors that are powered by the panels and wind turbines. Like recycling energy or something but that doesnt seem like it will work veyr efficiently.

    Speaking of crazy buildings what do you guys think of al Burj http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Burj
    1400m high looks like its going to be more then double the height of The Empire State building.
  6. Jun 26, 2008 #5
  7. Jul 8, 2008 #6


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    Perhaps they're using natural convection between the floors? I doubt it, but who knows.

    The only concern I have is that it seems nearly impossible to test all of the vibrating modes of the building, particularly from wind loads. It seems to me there would be certain floor configurations that would lend themselves to being unstable.
  8. Jul 9, 2008 #7
    From a building services perspective, I can't imagine how will you going to fit the HVAC/R and electrical systems to the rest of the floor area, unless you concentrate all these services at the building stationary core which I think is a bad architecutral design.
  9. Jul 9, 2008 #8


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    Yeah, and from a safety standpoint, I don't see how they could make a stairway that goes anywhere but down the center. In case of fire, the building needs to have staiways at significant distances away from one another.
  10. Jul 9, 2008 #9
    As well as plumbing, I guess all the restrooms would be concentrated around the center
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