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Wed 17 Jul 2019 11:33 AM

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Where are they now? Dubai's Technosphere

The sphere-shaped building was conceived as a technologically advanced, self-contained neighbourhood

Where are they now? Dubai's Technosphere
Dubai's Technosphere, a sphere-shaped neighbourhood pitched in 2009 and meant to be located in Technopark, an industrial complex in west Dubai.

As part of our new summer series, we will be looking back at some of the most colourful and extraordinary proposals pitched in Dubai and the wider region and investigating what happened to them.

Earlier in the week, we looked at plans for an underwater tennis stadium pitched by a Polish architect, Hollywood actor Brad Pitt’s ideas for a series of environmentally-friendly projects across Dubai and yesterday we looked at a Swedish firm’s designs for a moving statue, which included a golden nightclub in its head.

Today, we are looking at the Technosphere.

Circular or dome-shaped buildings are relatively common, such as the Aldar headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the Eden project in the United Kingdom, the Reichstag building in Berlin and Expo 2020 Dubai will have a dome-shaped building – Al Wasl Plaza – as the centrepoint for the whole site when it opens next year.

However, the Technosphere took the idea to a whole new level. According to the design documents, “the concept of this iconic building for the Technopark of Dubai, is a building which will reflect the state of Planet Earth in the current and future times”. 

Essentially, the building was to be a sphere-shaped, mixed-use neighbourhood - with residential, office and hotel areas - and would include solar power and “technology systems and architectural spaces that will enable the building to generate a self breathing environment”.

The project was designed by Chinese firm James Law cybertecture and launched in 2009 as the winner of an international design competition for a focal point for Technopark, an industrial complex to be built in western Dubai.

“The competition called for a new iconic city centre for the Technopark masterplan in UAE. Instead of conceiving an energy sapping and wasteful urban district of buildings, we decided to take a super compression approach of compacting the entire brief into a single entity, a man-made planet that saves on commuting, energy, and building materials. The land around the site that is released by this super compression, is then conceived as public parks for citizens,” designer James Law told Arabian Business.

Law said the building was given the green light in 2009 but work ground to a halt very quickly. “Site work just began when the financial tsunami of 2009 hit, and the project, along with many, were put on hold,” he said.

“In 2013, there was some discussions from our client, the Technopark, that the project may be revived. However, this was not yet happened,” he added.

Coming up tomorrow: The Dubai Heart Water Park

Check out the other projects in the series so far:

Dubai’s underwater tennis stadium

Brad Pitt's eco-friendly Dubai projects

Dubai moving statue (below)

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