Dubai 'ideal' for world's most eco-friendly building

California architects reveal plan for 558ft tower that uses saltwater, sunshine to self generate
Dubai 'ideal' for world's most eco-friendly building
An artists rendering of the inside of the GEOtube tower.
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 02 Apr 2011 10:47 AM

California-based architects Faulders Studio has designed plans for an innovative 558ft tower in Dubai that uses saltwater and sunshine to grow its own skin.

The Dubai tower, called GEOtube, aims to use natural elements instead of using carbon-intensive construction processes and materials.

The plan was conceived as a refuge for local wildlife, but the same concept could be applied to buildings used for other purposes, said Thom Faulders, company founder in comments published by the Mother Nature Network.

Faulders said the GEOtube tower would make "intelligent use" of the high salt-content waters from the Gulf.

"The water is sprayed over the tower's steel mesh and crystallizes in the high-temperature air. The result is a crystalline salt surface. This grown building skin continually accumulates over time," he told the US website.

Saltwater would be supplied to GEOtube Tower via a 4.62km buried pipeline, distilled on site to increase saline levels and filtered prior to distribution onto the tower surfaces.

Faulders said Dubai was ideally situated for the project, due to the salinity of oceanic seawaters and the extreme temperatures.

He said the tower's skin would continue to grow through salt deposits as long as water was supplied to its surface.

The salt skin would not, by itself, be weatherproof so designers have proposed that where conditioned interior spaces are required, the salt mesh would be layered over a traditional window wall enclosure.

The GEOtube tower also uses solar energy — from solar pads floating in the distillation pond, to meet its energy needs, Faulders told the website in an interview.

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