Imagine the world’s tallest skyscraper surrounded by a five-story ring, hanging 550 meters up in the sky. This is the latest idea for downtown Dubai called the Dubai Circle. Dubai is famous for achieving the impossible, but does this circular skyscraper really fit into the iconic skyline? Could something like this ever be built? Let’s find out. If you enjoy our content make sure to leave a like and subscribe to Top Luxury. Dubai has undergone one of the most radical transformations over the last 4 decades.
The city was a vast desert not so long ago, however, that changed with the discovery of oil in the middle east. Since then Dubai has gone on an unparalleled construction drive that has seen the rise of some of the world’s most iconic destinations. The city is now home to Burj Al Arab, described as the world’s first 7-star hotel, the world’s biggest aquarium, the largest Ferris wheel, and the tallest skyscraper: The Burj Khalifa. Seeing the scale of Dubai’s transformation, no idea seems too far-fetched for the buzzing metropolis. But today we are talking about their most insane idea of them all. The Dubai Circle: A Neighborhood in the Sky Dubai-based experimental architecture firm ZNera Space has come up with a plan for the Dubai Circle which is essentially a giant ring in the sky. The 3-kilometer wide ring will encircle the Burj Khalifa and serve as a ‘neighborhood in the sky’. The architects behind the idea are Najmus Chowdry and Nils Remess who wanted to design an alternative to Dubai’s ever flourishing skyline. On the company’s instagram page, the concept is described as a response to the dilemma of how to build densely while retaining liveability. The architects call it “an alternative to the singular and unconnected high-rises found in most metropolitan areas.” The concept was brought to life with the help of architectural rendering firm Pictown, who have created some captivating illustrations of how the Downtown Circle would look like in reality. From the outside, the Dubai Circle would look like a giant ring hanging above the city streets. The ring could be identified from afar as it encompasses all of Downtown Dubai within its three-kilometer radius. Built 550 meters above the ground, it would go higher than the One World Trade Center. Passengers would be able to travel from one end to the other in suspended pods while they capture a 360 view of the city below. The building’s interior will offer office space, cultural areas, and housing. All of the offerings will be arranged into two separate ring sections joined together with a continuous green belt called Skypark. Inside the Skypark, the residents will experience different natural settings like canyons, sandy dunes and plants from various floras. The whole structure will be supported by five massive pillars with their bases resting inside empty lots. Instead of just being concrete structures, the pillars will act as air purifiers using a smog filtering design created by ZNera Space. With the help of these pillars, the architects want to Envelope Dubai Downtown within a microclimate that makes the city more liveable in hot weather. So, would it be possible to build the Dubai Circle? Or will this remain a proposal forever? The image renderings put online by ZNera immediately triggered a conversation over the plausibility of building something similar. Several commentators rightly pointed out the difficulties of building something high up in the air with little support. Some called it a delusional concept while others suggested that it was more suited for the Metaverse. However, that is precisely why these blueprints were put out. The people behind the project wanted to start a conversation around the future of urban living. Najmus Chowdry says that the firm is promising a sustainable city for the future and The Downtown Circle is “Something that could trigger people to rethink urban development, to rethink city congestion” Majority of the observers agree that implementing this concept will be a bridge too far for the foreseeable future. However, this isn’t the first outlandish idea proposed for Dubai. A proposal to build a series of dome-like resorts resembling the moon already making the rounds on Social Media. The planners have already identified the Dubai Pearl as the ideal location for the first moon resort which would be the world’s largest sphere. The Downtown Dubai Circle is just an addition to a list of extraordinary architectural plans for this part of the world. If the Dubai Circle indeed moves beyond the concept stage, it will take some form of inspiration from existing structures with similar mid-air construction and a revisionist circular design.
Dubai for example is already home to the world’s longest cantilever building. The Link is a sky podium connecting two towers built either side of a six-lane highway. It was lifted 100 meters above the ground and runs for a length of 226 meters. The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is another project where three individual towers are linked at a height of 200 meters by a 340 meter long skypark. Something similar can be observed at the Raffles City project in Chongqing China. This eight skyscraper complex features a 300 meter long horizontal skybridge called “Crystal” that connects four of the skyscrapers at the top. The most obvious difference is that while we can observe mid-air constructions, the supporting structures are much more robust than the 5 pillars carrying the Dubai Circle. For such an elaborate building to stand on five pillars, it will need to be very lightweight.
The architects envision it like a spacecraft that can be very light for its size with lots of hollow space on the inside. When we only look at the shape the project that comes closest to the Dubai Circle is the Apple Park. It’s nicknamed the Spaceship due to its circular design and packs many of the features proposed for the Dubai Circle. However, the circumference for the Apple Park’s ring is only half of the Dubai Circle and on top of that the Apple Park is on the ground instead of half a kilometer up in the sky. While there are existing buildings that can inspire something like the Dubai Circle, there are obvious engineering challenges to overcome in order to turn this concept into reality. Looking at Dubai’s progress in the 21st century, it is difficult to rule out even the wildest architectural ideas. For now, the people behind the Dubai Circle have succeeded in bringing attention to the future of urban planning. They designed the concept in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and envisioned a building that would take care of the biggest urban planning issues like congestion, pollution, and food production. Burj Khalifa was the perfect destination for a proposal like this because it is the tallest skyscraper in the world and warrants attention. It might not be located in the most densely populated areas in the world but can spring a conversation over the future of the bigger metropolises like NewYork, Tokyo, or Mumbai. If indeed a building like The Circle existed, urbanization would look very different. Less congested streets, and purified air are outcomes that will be welcomed by everyone. This would be particularly useful for megacities like Mumbai that are fighting problems like congestion and smog at a greater level than the rest of the world. With this proposal, the principal architects hope to start a conversation and it seems like they are succeeding. But what do you think of The Circle? Would you like to see this around the Burj Khalifa?