Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is the sky the limit?

Yesterday's post was a plea to free one's imagination. Today's is one example of the result of such an exercise.

Are rotating skyscrapers designed to generate electricity even practical/sustainable? (For example, it's not clear to me how much energy it will take to rotate the building and where that will come from. Bucky Fuller would want to know how much the darn things weigh).

We'll never know the answers to these and other questions and design practical solutions to our growing list of "crises" if we don't "dare to be naive".

When I visited China last December I was struck by the number of high rise apartment buildings that were being constructed to accommodate the historic rural-urban migration that's underway. They were going up almost side-by-side with new coal-fired electricity plants -- one new plant each week.

One thing's for sure the concept is a heck of a lot more interesting than the status quo. (GW)

Rotating skyscraper plans for Moscow, Dubai -- N.Y.?

By Sinead Carew
June 24, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After taking in an expansive view of Manhattan from a friend's apartment, architect David Fisher came up with a way to make the most of a good location -- a rotating building.

Fisher now hopes to build his so-called dynamic towers -- prefabricated sun- and wind-powered skyscrapers that will keep changing shape as each floor rotates around a central axis -- in Moscow and Dubai by the end of 2010.

A 70-floor building has received planning approval for Moscow, and an 80-floor building in Dubai is awaiting approval. Instead of just one revolving floor, like other buildings around the world, every floor in Fisher's towers will rotate.

The Florence-based Israel-born architect, who has never built a skyscraper before, says he would also like to build a third dynamic tower in New York City, but currently has no firm plans for such a project.

"I call this building a machine for living," he told a news conference at New York's more traditionally designed Plaza Hotel on Tuesday.

Russian real estate developer Mirax Group is behind the Moscow tower, while the planned Dubai building is backed by Fisher's Rotating Tower Technology Company.

Along with swimming pools and gardens, the buildings will also be fitted with car elevators so that residents can park right outside their homes.

The towers are expected to generate enough electricity for themselves and other nearby buildings from solar panels and wind turbines fitted horizontally between each floor.

People who own an entire floor will be able to simply speak to control the rotation, with speeds varying from an hour to three hours for each full rotation.

Leslie Robertson, who was the structural engineer for New York's World Trade Center Twin Towers, which collapsed in September 2001 after being hit by two hijacked planes, is an engineering consultant for Fisher's project.

Asked if New Yorkers would feel queasy about a dynamic high-rise, Robertson conceded it would not suit everybody. "If you're concerned about issues like that you don't take the apartment at the top, you take a townhouse," he said.


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