Archive for architect

Quick Architectural Tour in Singapore

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2018 by vincentloy

I was in Singapore the past few days in a sudden move. Besides than attending a job interview, I also take this opportunity to travel around in this gorgeous island and visit some architectural icons. Besides than facing the interview with huge anxiety, I was actually enjoying the rest of my brief 3 days 2 nights trip to Singapore. The total cost spent on this trip is less than RM900. This amount covers bus ride to and from Singapore, parking fee at bus terminal, stay at budget hotel (not hostel), meals, phone data, and public transport in Singapore.

Here are 7 architectural icons in Singapore that I have visited during the trip:

1 – DUO Towers (Architect: Ole Scheeren, Year completed: 2017)

I am very intrigued by the unique form, hexagonal patterns and the balance of rigid geometry with curving surfaces of this complex of twin towers. They gave the design an overwhelming presence.

2 – The Gateway (Architect: I.M. Pei, Year completed: 1990)

This twin towers are located just opposite the DUO Towers and the former are here much earlier. A very simple modernist approach but still leaves a striking impression due to its sharp edges and angle that contributes optical illusion.

3 – Marina Bay Sands (Architect: Moshe Safdie, Year completed: 2010)

A ship-like structure suspended above three towers is definitely one of the landmarks of Singapore.

4 – Parkroyal on Pickering (Architect: WOHA, Year completed: 2013)

Massive curvaceous sky gardens and undulating layers of precast concrete forming parts of the design that created similar image to eroded rock formations are the highlights of this hotel building.

5 – The Pinnacle @ Duxton (Architect: ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism, Year completed: 2009)

An upmarket public housing project in Singapore, The Pinnacle @ Duxton features 7 residential towers with 2 sky decks that connect all of them. The highest sky deck at the 50th floor is accessible to the public.

6 – The Hive, Nanyang Technological University (Architect: Heatherwick Studio, Year completed: 2015)

A very unique university building. The design goes beyond the stereotype classroom layout; all the learning spaces are in circular plan with no corners to encourage collaboration. The building has a naturally ventilated central atrium surrounded by shared circulation spaces and informal garden terraces. The outer appearance of this building really reminds me of stacked ‘dimsum baskets’.

7 – The Interlace (Architect: OMA + Ole Scheeren, Year completed: 2013)

Multiple residential blocks stacked in playful manner while creating picturesque voids, dramatic overhangs and numerous courtyards, pools and gardens for the residents.  ‘The Interlace’ won Best Building of the Year from World Architecture Festival in 2015.

I do enjoy this kind of trip whereby I can visit and experience some amazing architectural projects. I hope for more of such trips in near future to other places too. Singapore is certainly a city with luxurious and unorthodox architecture that one should explore if you are an architectural enthusiast like me.

(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this post)

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B.V. Doshi wins Pritzker Architecture Prize 2018

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2018 by vincentloy

You may not have heard his name. I didn’t know who he is before today. B.V. Doshi (Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi) is the winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the highest honour presented annually to a living architect and is often referred as the Nobel Prize of architecture. Although he is not as popular as those star architects, but he now joined the elite group of past Pritzker winners such as Richard Meier, Oscar Niemeyer, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, Toyo Ito, etc. He is the first Indian architect to win the prize.

Excerpt below is from an article in Archdaily (https://www.archdaily.com/890126/balkrishna-doshi-named-2018-pritzker-prize-laureatez):

Doshi has been a practitioner of architecture for over 70 years. Previously, he had studied and worked with both Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Doshi’s poetic architecture draws upon Eastern influences to create a body of work that “has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s,” cites the jury. 

Born in Pune, India in 1927, Doshi began his studies in architecture in the year of his country’s independence, 1947. After a period in London, he moved to France to work under Le Corbusier, and from there he returned to India in order to oversee work on Le Corbusier’s plans for Chandigarh, and on Le Corbusier’s projects in Ahmedabad such as the Mill Owner’s Association Building (1954) and Shodhan House (1956). Doshi also later worked with Louis Kahn on the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, beginning in 1962.

Since founding his practice Vastushilpa (now known as Vastushilpa Consultants) in 1956, Doshi has combined the lessons learned from these two modern masters with a local sensibility. His distinctly Indian form of critical regionalism synthesizes the sculptural concrete and brick forms of his mentors with recognizably Indian architectural layouts and urban morphologies. One of the clearest manifestations of this style is perhaps his own studio, known as Sangath, where striking concrete barrel vaults are combined with gardens, sunken communal spaces, and water features to mitigate the heat. In 1978, Doshi founded the Vastushilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design to develop planning and design approaches suited to the Indian cultural context; today, the foundation serves as a crucial link between the academy and the architectural profession.

In over 100 projects completed during his career, Doshi has also worked on a number of low-cost housing developments. After completing his first in the 1950s, he stated that “It seems I should take an oath and remember it for my lifetime: to provide the lowest class with the proper dwelling.” The apotheosis of this oath was perhaps the Aranya Low Cost Housing development in Indore. Completed in 1989, this network of houses, courtyards and internal pathways provides housing for over 80,000 people ranging from low- to middle-income families, and won Doshi the 1993-1995 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Some of B.V. Doshi’s past projects are Sangath – B.V. Doshi’s Office at Ahmedabad (first picture), LIC Housing at Ahmedabad (second picture), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (third picture), Amdavad ni Gufa (underground art gallery) at Ahmedabad (fourth picture), Aranya Low Cost Housing at Indore (fifth picture), Kamala House at Ahmedabad (sixth picture), etc.

In recent years, the jury behind selection of Pritzker Prize winners is more inclined towards selecting those who use architecture to contribute critically to the community and to the lower class society rather than opting for those with highly popular names attached with ‘loud’ and extravagant projects. It is a good move.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

I.M. Pei, an architect who had just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I.M.Pei, a renowned Chinese-American architect has just turned 100 years old few days ago. A lot of major architecture websites do share news of his centenary birthday and a glimpse of his architectural projects under his career that spanned over six decades. He defied the typical saying that ‘architect do dies early due to the stress, heavy workload and constantly being all-nighter’.

Born on 26th April 1917 in Guangzhou, China, I.M.Pei moved to USA and studied architecture in University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was inspired by works by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer during his years in architectural education. He was particular fascinated by modern architecture and International Style.

I.M.Pei’s design style is described as modernist with significant cubist themes. He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with progressive designs based on simple geometric patterns. He has designed over 70 projects across the world and has received multiple awards and honors such as the Pritzker Prize (known as Nobel Prize of architecture) in 1983, AIA Gold Medal in 1979, Royal Gold Medal in 2010, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, etc.

Here below are 10 of his most iconic works:

131 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, USA (1949) – I.M.Pei’s first project.

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan (1963)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, USA (1973)

OCBC Centre, Singapore (1976)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Looking just at 10 of his works above, you will obviously notice that he applied strong geometrical shapes into his design. It has become his signature approach in architecture. He designed a variety of projects ranging from community centers to highrise towers. He is no doubt one of the greatest living architects of our generation.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

My architectural highlight of 2016

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2016 by vincentloy

Year 2016 is coming to an end. It is the year when I stopped working (have worked for almost 4 years) and started my postgraduate study on architecture in Curtin University, Perth, Australia. If everything went well, I will be graduating with a Master of Architecture end of next year.

During these first two semesters of my study this year, I have undertaken two studio projects. The first one is to design a masterplan to rejuvenate the site of the present Perth International Convention Centre and its surrounding (for my Urban Design Studio in first semester). My concept is to create a Waterfront City, maximizing the potential of the river that has a lot to offer and enhancing various linkages to the CBD at north, Elizabeth Quay at east, King’s Park at west and Swan River at south. 3 images to best describe my project below:

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(Copyrights reserved to the images above. Please do not use the above images without my permission)

The next one is to design an indoor archery centre in Whiteman Park (for my Integrated Design Studio in second semester). The challenge of this project is that the building has to be low-cost, quick and easy to be built and maintained, phased, flexible to cater to other functions, and responds well to the present site and the archery sport itself. My idea is to create an archery ‘poly-house’, a warehouse-like structure enveloped with random polycarbonate cladding for passive design strategies and aesthetic purpose. 3 images to best describe my project below:

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(Copyrights reserved to the images above. Please do not use the above images without my permission)

Now, I’m looking forward to one more project (Complex Design Studio) next year before my Thesis project in my final semester. I’m hoping for an interesting design brief for my Complex Studio next year.

The three architectural websites that I have visited the most in 2016 remain the same as in the previous years:

www.archdaily.com

(The best website out there to check on countless amazing architectural projects every year with well-written articles and images. What’s great is that the website has new articles daily)

www.skyscrapercenter.com

(My favourite category in architecture – skyscraper. This is the database by Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat on all skyscrapers around the world that is constantly updated)

www.skyscrapercity.com

(Another site on skyscraper. This one is forum-based and is the best platform for me to view on latest images or updates of completed, proposed and under-construction skyscraper projects)

The three most striking architectural projects built in 2016 that captured my most attention are: (The three images below are from Archdaily)

World Trade Center Transportation Hub by Santiago Calatrava

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Antwerp Port House by Zaha Hadid Architects

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VIA 57 West by BIG

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The three most talked about events or happenings of the year that are related to architecture are:

15th Venice Architecture Biennale this year from 28 may to 27 November and is directed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Alejandro Aravena.

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(Image above from DesignBoom)

The Floating Piers project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude at Lake Iseo, Italy that made its round in social networking sites mid of the year when it is opened to the publicfrom June 18 to July 3. The project is now dismantled.

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(Image above from Blog.Daum)

And the heartbreaking news of the death of Zaha Hadid, one of world’s most famous architects and is arguably the most celebrated woman architect of the generation. She died on March 31, 2016 at age of 65 due to heart attack.

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(Image above from Architect Magazine)

That’s it for my architectural highlight of the year 2016.

Urban design is fun.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by vincentloy

Urban design is the first out of the three design studios I have to complete in my Master of Architecture course. It is generally defined as the process of giving form, shape, and character to groups of buildings, to whole neighborhoods, and the city. It is a framework that orders the elements into a network of streets, squares, and blocks. Urban design is also about making connections between people and places, movement and urban form, nature and the built fabric and the goal is usually to make the urban areas more functional, attractive and sustainable.

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Before I take on this design studio, I have had already some interest in urban design. I do like to see how and where the buildings were placed in relation to each other and their significance to the overall masterplan. I have been to many cities with unique urban planning before like Siem Reap (the ancient city of Angkor where the famous Angkor Wat temple is at the centre), Beijing (city spine or axis from Tiananmen Square to Forbidden City and then all the way up straight to Olympic Park, picture below), Paris (the streets and uniform building heights and patterns), Seoul (the Cheonggyecheon River and the public realm along it, picture below), etc. I like to research on the many urban case studies across the world from the ancient or historical city planning to the ones in the present. They are not only useful to my study in this particular studio but also beneficial for my extra knowledge on this field that involves a lot of parties (architect, urban planner, landscape architect, engineers, authority, etc).

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After this studio that I have completed, I do discovered many more useful information and knowledge behind a successful urban design. Here below are the top 10 urban design knowledge that I have learnt from my studio which can be seen as the basic principles or guidelines on creating a good urban planning:

(1) Be pedestrian-friendly. Pedestrian streets over vehicular roads.

Urban design is mostly about creating good environment for people to walk, to see, to play, to shop, to eat, etc. Having beautiful pedestrian streets or promenades gives a nice and safe ambience to people. Lesser attention to roads.

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(2) Activate ground level. 

Ground level is where all the things should be happening. Skywalks (those pedestrian bridges) are now very popular urban trend to link buildings away and above the roads. They may be useful but they are sometimes bad on preventing people to be on ground level. Try makes the public spaces on the ground to be interesting to draw people to that level.

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(3) Continue lines from existing urban or city grid. And create new ones too.

To start on your master planning, try as much as you can to link your newly proposed roads or streets to the existing ones outside your site boundary to create a continuity so that your masterplan isn’t in its ‘own world’. Linking to existing urban patterns (grids) is very important for a continuous uninterrupted flow around or within the urban area.

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(4) Have a driver or an overall concept.

It is preferred to have a main strategy before starting on the urban planning. A main concept or driver to your imagined urban development. For example, you can have your site to be transit-oriented (main focus on transportation links), or water-oriented (priority for water views or for various interaction or engagement with people from water). Have a look on some good examples of successful urban projects across the world. Research on them, make them as your precedent studies, and maybe you can find certain interesting elements to be incorporated in your urban design as well.

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(5) Emphasize on views, vantage points, visual axis or linkage. See at human scale.

View is important. When you are proposing a street here, try and imagine what would people see at the end of this particular street? It’s best that the planning is done to allow people to have certain intended view (for example, view of a river, view of a sculpture, view of an interesting roof, view of a major park, or view that directs people to another angle, etc). Always see from a human scale.

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(6) Have something as the centrepiece of the planning.

It’s always an ideal way to have something that stood out among the rest in your masterplan. It would be boring to have all proposed built forms in your masterplan to have uniform and similar strength, proportion, height or scale. Have one particularly large or tall building (a landmark) as the limelight of the overall masterplan. Or if you think that is unnecessary, have a main public square as the node of your planning. On the other hand, try to propose a few more civic or community buildings like library, aquarium, sports hall, shopping mall, museums, art gallery, etc to create a sense of place and to gives identity to the particular urban area or city.

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(7) More parks, plazas or squares. Public realm is the most important.

Create these spaces for people to walk, relax, interact, etc. Public space is the priority in an urban design. Have them designed in a way that it invites people, it engages people, it attracts people, at any time of the day if possible. It’s not about the quantity too as it’s about quality. Having a lot of parks or plazas may not be good as this approach will make people to go on separate ways since they have many choices to make (on which parks or plazas to go).

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(8) Connectivity and practicality in mind.

It would be cool to have the urban planning to feature extensive greenery, massive parks, huge waterways, etc. You can be daring in your design. However, kindly think of whether it is practical to have that. Will it interrupts flow of people? Can it be accessed by cars? Can the disabled go over there? Can goods or loading be done over here to cater for this building? Also think about the distance to reach a place from the office, from the mall, from the homes, from the hotel, etc. On the other hand, car park is an ugly building but it is very much needed even if you don’t like it. How are you going to have that in your masterplan while not being a waste of space or being an unpleasant sight? Avoid from having car park taking up ground level and preferably place it in basements or in a podium together with facility floors. You can even propose to treat the facade of the car park podium to be interesting. But let’s not get into detail of buildings as urban design is not about that.

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(9) Be green. 

Everything is about sustainability now in the architecture world. It’s good to bring the nature back into your masterplan by proposing parks with extensive landscaping (or even lakes, etc) as people love to enjoy the nature if it’s provided and it’s beautiful. Be green in this case also means having your masterplan to work in a way that you envisioned it to be energy efficient by having the future built forms in the site to have maximum exposure to natural daylight, making use of wind direction, sun orientation, etc.

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(10) Think about land use, setbacks and mass of buildings. 

This is where standard comes in. There is the setbacks to buildings that you have to provide when setting out your proposed location of new built forms. Each authority has their own set of guidelines on it, and it includes also on the mass of building (height, density limit, etc). As for the zoning, try to think over and over again why would you want to propose a hotel here instead of at the other places in your site. That’s one of the examples. If you can’t find good reason for it, then it’s not a good urban design decision. Work on it again.

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In conclusion, urban design is mostly about people and its about the spaces between buildings (roads, streets, parks, boulevards, lanes, plazas, walkways, etc). Social system goes above vehicular system. People over cars. A good urban design facilitates human interaction, activates dead spaces, ensures smooth flow and permeability, and caters to a demand-seeking future. A masterplan should be flexible, able to adapt to future changes or addition of new built forms if possible. It should be done to prepare the site to meet demands in the future especially when all the cities now are growing fast with increasing need for more residential, commercial, leisure or tourism developments. When you are designing a masterplan, imagine being in there yourself, what do you want to see, where do you want to go, what do you want to do once you are in that space? Have plenty of good reasoning to all the design making decisions you have make, and then you will have an excellent masterplan. There is no right or wrong but there is a point where we know whether it works or not. It requires a lot of thinking in macro-scale. That’s what differentiates urban design from architecture.

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(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Sudden fascination into Ned Kahn’s works, particularly the ones in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2016 by vincentloy

Recently, I watched a documentary from Megastructures series on Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The documentary generally shown us the design development and the engineering marvel of the project which is an integrated resort comprising of hotel, convention and exhibition centre, observatory, shopping mall, casino, etc. Completed in 2010, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property and it subsequently became a new iconic landmark for Singapore. Here’s below is the less-than-an-hour documentary about Marina Bay Sands I mentioned just now:

I had visited Marina Bay Sands twice in the past. I admired its bold appearance, striking design, iconic features as well as its picturesque setting on the Singapore waterfront. As I have been there myself, I saw other things on par with the beauty of the overall form and view of this megastructure that should be mentioned. Those are the art installations in the resort. The most striking installations of them would be the ‘Wind Arbor’, ‘Rain Oculus’ and ‘Tipping Wall’ and they were all designed by an environmental artist and sculptor named Ned Kahn.

His works usually involves capturing an invisible aspect of nature and making it visible; examples include building facades that move in waves in response to wind; indoor tornadoes and vortices made of fog, steam, or fire; a transparent sphere containing water and sand which, when spun, erodes a beach-like ripple pattern into the sand surface. For me, his masterpieces amplify nature, make use of naturally activated kinetic energy, made spectators aware of the nature around us, complement the spaces they are at very well while strongly engage to the public. I’m fascinated by his works which are also present in many other parts of the world.

Below is a video describing Ned Kahn’s works in Marina Bay Sands and the resort’s architect, Moshe Safdie’s comments on the former’s art works.

Beautiful, aren’t they? These works made me admire Marina Bay Sands more as they add extra aesthetics and beauty to the already striking design of the resort.

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Wind Arbor (topmost), Rain Oculus (middle), and Tipping Wall (bottom) are in Marina Bay Sands and are all designed by Ned Kahn. Watch the video above to see how these amazing art installations work.

Dedicated to exploring the physics and beauty of natural phenomena such as Fog, Wind, Fire, Light, Sand, and Water, Ned Kahn uses his abundant technical skills to bring these elements to the public through interactive sculptures and large scale installations in buildings, galleries and science museums worldwide. Giant whirlwinds, dramatic fire tornadoes and rippling current generators call attention to the forces of nature available to us on demand through art yet take place independently through weather and geological processes. Other phenomena such as ocean wave action, wind and the play of sunlight through fog are explored through outdoor installations which encourage appreciation for our environment.

“I’ve always looked at my artworks as potentially serving as reminders of how beautiful and mysterious Nature is, with the hope that when people have an experience of awe while watching a natural process unfold, it can fuel their compassion towards the natural world. I’ve tried to create an art that gives people a chance to have this kind of experience.”

Sources:

http://nedkahn.com/

http://greenmuseum.org/artist_index.php?artist_id=55

A new tower taller than Burj Khalifa to be built in Dubai.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2016 by vincentloy

The current world’s tallest building is Burj Khalifa. It stands at a breathtaking height of 828 metres above ground in Dubai and is nearly 200 metres taller than the world’s second tallest. It has held on to this record for quite a few years already, until its neighbouring country, Saudi Arabia is planning to build a megatall skyscraper called Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. That tower which is now under construction is expected to reach beyond 1 kilometre high.

Recently, another new plan is revealed to build another tower taller than the Burj Khalifa and is to be located at Dubai’s Creek Harbour. It is set to be completed in 2020 (as a gift to the city before Dubai World Expo 2020), which means that there is only about 4 years only for it to be constructed. That’s a very short amount of time for a supertall skyscraper to be built. That’s a challenge but I think Dubai can still make it. Why? Money solves everything. The country is never afraid of spending billions on building countless skyscrapers in the middle of the desert.

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The final height for this planned tower is not disclosed yet but it has been announced that it is going to be taller than Burj Khalifa as mentioned earlier. However, would it be taller than the 1-km high Kingdom Tower for it to be the world’s tallest? Maybe. It is designed by a famous Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava who said the design is inspired by the profile of a lily flower while also mimicking a minaret (Arabic for lighthouse/beacon), a distinctive building commonly found in Islamic architecture and symbolism. The contours of his design will be formed using a cable system that will also anchor the tower to the ground.

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The tower itself will feature fully-glazed rotating balconies and observation decks (of course) as well as interior landscaping that takes influence from the hanging gardens of Babylon (now at dizzying heights). The showpiece observation area will be called “The Pinnacle Room” and will offer  views over Dubai. Alongside this, up to 20 stories will house mixed-use facilities such as restaurants and a boutique hotel. The core of the building, as depicted, will rise up supported by the cable structure, housing all the building facilities and services. At the top, where the diameter is widest, will be the Pinnacle Room that will house an array of greenery.

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“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,”said Calatrava’s firm. “The structure also provides a beacon of light at night, with lighting that will emphasize the flower-bud design of the building.” “The design has clear reference to the classic art from the past and the culture of the place while serving as a great technological achievement. In my whole career, I have perceived technology as a vehicle to beauty and to art. This project envisages an artistic achievement in itself, inspired by the idea of welcoming people, not only from Dubai and the UAE, but from the entire world. It is a symbol of an abiding belief in progress.”

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What do I think of this building? It’s a sleek and a slender design, something that is non-typical to present skyscraper’s architecture. However, I wonder how can the huge long cables work to anchor this building to the ground? Is that possible with this height? How can the huge windows at the top floors withstand the extremely strong wind at that level? On the other hand, I’m actually bored of seeing plants and trees inside building again…it’s a popular trend now but isn’t usually successful. Not that excited to this tower except for its mysterious height.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source: http://archpaper.com/2016/04/calatravas-dubai-tower-will-be-taller-than-the-burj-khalifa/)