New details announced about Santiago Calatrava's iconic tower in Dubai Creek Harbor

Image courtesy of Emaar

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties unveiled new designs for architect and engineer, Santiago Calatrava’s landmark observation tower in the Dubai Creek Harbor. Calatrava’s monumental design, chosen out of six proposals from competing firms, is influenced by the natural forms of the lily and evokes the shape of a minaret, a distinctive architectural feature in Islamic culture.

Image courtesy of Emaar

It has been an enormous honor to participate in this project. My team and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with a renowned firm like Emaar Properties,” said Mr. Calatrava. “The building’s design is inspired by the Islamic tradition, evoking the same history that brought the world the Alhambra and the Mosque of Cordoba. These architectural marvels combine elegance and beauty with math and geometry. The design of the tower of Dubai Creek Harbor is rooted in classical art and the culture of Dubai itself.  It is also a major technological achievement. Throughout my career I have used technology and engineering as a vehicle for beauty and art. This project is an artistic achievement, inspired by the goal of making this space a meeting point for citizens, not only from Dubai and the UAE but all across the world. It is a symbol of belief in progress."

Image courtesy of Emaar

The design by Santiago Calatrava, chosen after a competitive pitch from the world’s top architects, was a perfect fit to our requirement for a landmark that defined our urban core for Dubai Creek Harbor. It integrates not just design excellence but also strong environmental and smart-tech considerations. With the tower, we are delivering a compelling destination that will add long-term economic value to Dubai and the Emirates,” said Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties. “It will also position Dubai Creek Harbor as one of the most desired residential, leisure and touristic attractions, providing tourists and residents with a modern, luxurious and sustainable environment in which to live, work, learn and entertain.”

Image courtesy of Emaar

The iconic structure combines modern, sustainable design with the rich culture and heritage of the United Arab Emirates. The building’s numerous observation decks are part of an elongated, oval-shaped bud at the top of the tower. The slender stem serves as the spine of the structure and the cables linking the building to the ground are reminiscent of the delicate ribbing of the lily’s leaves. The structure also provides a beacon of light at night, with lighting that will emphasize the flower-bud design of the building.

Image courtesy of Emaar

This project is one of many iconic works designed by Calatrava, including the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the Calgary Peace Bridge, the Olympic Sports Complex in Athens and the Turning Torso Tower in Malmö that was recently awarded the Ten Year Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Calatrava has also recently been commissioned to design three bridges in Huashan, China and has two projects in the U.S. currently under construction, the Margaret McDermott bridges in Dallas and the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in the WTC in New York.

© Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava designed the tower with a large focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. The tower will use a highly-efficient cooling system and the water collected from this system will clean the structure’s façade. Elegant landscaping and vegetation will encourage solar protection. An integrated shading system and wing doors will also contribute to energy efficiency.

© Santiago Calatrava

The structure will include ten observation decks, including The Pinnacle Room, which offers unprecedented, 360 degree views of the city and beyond. Among the various decks are two VIP observation garden decks, made to recreate the splendor of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Eight Wonders of the Ancient World.

© Santiago Calatrava

The building will also include numerous balconies that rotate outside the façade of the tower. There will be a café on one of the three public observation decks and numerous spaces throughout the building can be used for events. The tower’s ground-level Central Plaza will serve as a bustling neighborhood center with world-class retail, a museum, educational facilities, and an indoor auditorium.

Chairman Allabar with Santiago Calatrava. Picture courtesy of Emaar

The tower is located in the center of Dubai Creek Harbour, a six square-kilometer world-class development located on Dubai Creek. Dubai Creek has long been Dubai’s center of history and culture and is in close proximity to the Ras Al Khor National Wildlife Sanctuary.

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