Dubai 8: Dubai Towers

Dubai Towers (Copyright TVS Associates)
Dubai Towers (Copyright TVS Associates)

“The four towers, ranging from 54 to 97 floors, are clustered to form a choreographed sculpture, representing the movement of candlelight”, the architect write in their press release from January this year.

A “[…] dramatic, […] sophisticated, […] innovative, […] creative, […] inspired, […] cutting-edge, […] bold, […] exceptional, […] landmark”, it also reads.

The architecture firm Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback and Associates (who?), TVS Associates (oh, they!), try hard, and play hard. Dubai Towers is definitely the next thing in architecture form, after Foster’s iconic Swiss Re tower in central London.

It is mystery why the architects thought it was necessary to come up with the candlelight-iconography. Maybe confused by Charles Jencks’ Iconic Building, they thought: ‘We need that too.’ Well girls and guys, you really don’t need that!

Candlelight… that looks totally different, it is not related to the program (offices, and hotels), it is not derived from the context, and most of all: where is the virtue? One better not suggest the connection ‘office building — fire’. Look at the design, like you need any iconography! There is enough already.

The towers twist, wave and taper. All at the same time. Note that the twisting is hardly visible, it is really subtle. Swiss Re merely suggested the twisting, Dubai Towers does it. And the effect is enormous. It is for the first time in architecture history — as far as I know — these three parameters are combined in reality. Dubai Towers take architectural form to a new level.

AMO shows the project repeatedly in ‘Al Manakh’, because for them it symbolizes the definite step in the prevalence of form. The only step left, OMA proposes, is to get back to the modernist slab. ‘The game is over’, Koolhaas says.

I don’t think so. The rejection by OMA should be read as a compliment for the project. There is so much more advancement in form left. Color, lines, skeletons, relief, screens, dents, holes, etcetera; this is just the beginning.

Dubai Towers (Copyright TVS Associates)
Dubai Towers (Copyright TVS Associates)

Dubai Towers
Dubai Towers

Dubai Towers at Cityscape 2006 (Photograph: Skyscrapercity)
Dubai Towers at Cityscape 2006 (Photograph: Skyscrapercity)

Dubai Towers at Cityscape 2006 (Photograph: Skyscrapercity)
Dubai Towers at Cityscape 2006 (Photograph: Skyscrapercity)

There must be noted something else about the Dubai Towers in Dubai. The developer Sama has announced other ‘Dubai Towers’ in Doha (Qatar), Casablanca (Morocco), and Istanbul (Turkey). The developments in Dubai have become a brand in itself, which in its turn can simply be exported over Muslim countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

Dubai Towers Istanbul, Turkey
Dubai Towers Istanbul, Turkey

Postscript: Every distinct form evokes iconography, Dubai Towers also. When browsing Flickr I found this photograph of a gate with forms that looked very familiar… To pinpoint an iconography for this project that actually fits is not necessary, but the candlelight nonsense triggered by me the question for a more appropriate metaphor. The metaphor of ‘tentacles’ (of some sort of monster, I suppose), that I read at Skyscrapernews is funny but not right. Personally I played with the idea of ‘flames’ or ‘seaweed’. That is not really it, but crucial for me is that the twisting and waving form of the project reminds me of something that moves in the wind. And that is a nice image.

Gate (Photographer: kWentin/Flick)
Gate (Photographer: kWentin/Flickr)

Dubai 1: The story so far
Dubai 2: Palm Jumeirah
Dubai 3: Palm Jebel-Ali
Dubai 4: Palm Deira
Dubai 5: The World
Dubai 6: Burj Al Arab
Dubai 7: Burj Dubai
Dubai 8: Dubai Towers
Dubai 9: Dubai Renaissance
Dubai 10: The Cloud


“The carefully sculptured and choreographed form of the towers, which have glazed facades and visible lattice work supports represents the natural movement of candle light.”

Skyscrapernews was right *but* tentacles just make a better headline and I think the iconography is obviously something more like tentacles or sea snakes as another poster suggests… 🙂

James, the fact that you rewrite press releases for your site does not make you right, but more wrong.

Just kidding. I love Skyscrapernews. A bit a critical attitude would not hurt though.

Haha, Michiel! Actually we didn’t get the press release, it was a slow week so we recapped on something we’d never covered before! Not sure critical is for us though… we’ll leave it to excellent blogs like this one for that sort of commentary I think.

don’t wanna get religious here, but those towers instantly reminds me of revelation, those towers just look evil to me.

these towers r nice but they can be better becuz these towers makes the city looks more evil so thats not good so it must have commons with the nature of the city

i think this tower looks very attractive but it looks more untrusted how could we know if it’s actually balanced subhaanallah any accident could happen and plus moe i agree with you it makes the city looks evil maybe it’s not good idea to build that even though it did am not gonna ever live there thank you very much it looks spooky lol

i reckon the dubai towers are quite attractive
lolllllllllllllllll spooky… u people have a weird sense of being afraid. it looks great! nice tourist attraction i hope 2 visit

I don’t belive that the towers make the city look more evil than it is. The construct is very fancy and not evil! Thank you for this wonderfull website about Dubai city groving larger every day!

Ah, such ingenuity! It’s good to see my gas dollars aren’t going to waste. I only wish I could afford to visit, but my account is dwindling, thanks to the astronomical rising costs of seemingly everything. Still, it would be an interesting trip, and I’ll bet the streets are five hundred times cleaner than New York. Interesting how some parts of the world are worried about putting up skyscrapers while other parts are worried about them being taken down…one way or another. As far as Dubai’s building boom is concerned, hats off to our Arab counterparts for succeeding where we have so miserably failed. We need to explore our own possibilities here in the good old U.S.A. There are more than likely great untapped oil reserves right under our feet. I’ve already started digging holes out in my yard in the hopes that I can pull it off singlehandedly. Wish me luck.

you’ve built such a great building of this world.i’m from India n i really wana watch the wonder u’ve best of luck Burj n Dubai.n i wana salute the spirit of those workers who’ve built it.thanx

It looks Great! Who said Buildings should have straight lines? These towers look alive! They should totally rename it though:
“The Dancing Sisters” or something to that effect would be much more creative then just Dubai Towers.

Hey man Dubai is totally cool.I live in it and I love this place the towers are such great. Not even the buildings , the palms are also awesome. If anyone will come here too live they will love this place!!

These lagoons are really extraordinary. Recently on my visit to Dubai, I watched the half built Buj Dubai and heard about the not even started Lagoons. Really it is a miracle.

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