Friday, August 28, 2009

The Leaning Tower of... Abu Dhabi?

We all know about Dubai's ruthless expansion into the seas and skies, but neighboring Abu Dhabi has been growing at a more reasonable rate. In fact, Abu Dhabi's developments are generally overshadowed by the more glitzy, Las Vegasesque nature of its steroidal sister emirate. The Louvre, the Guggenheim, the zero-carbon [and therefore environmentally-friendly] Masdar community... Or better yet, Capital Gate.

Move over Pisa, Abu Dhabi's gonna knock you down. Or at least it plans to.

Why? Abu Dhabi-based developer ADNEC is constructing a new tower designed to be the internationally-recognized icon of the city of the same vaunted prominence of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. What makes it so special? It's tilted. Like Leaning Tower of Pisa tilted. [Only this one's tilted on purpose.]

At 160 meters in height and a staggering 18 degrees, Capital Gate will be more than 2.8 times taller than its slanty Italian predecessor and have more than 4.5 times the inclination. Housing a five-star Hyatt hotel in the lower section and offices in the upper half, it's scheduled to open in 2010 and is expected to make a dramatic impact on the skyline.

True, it's yet another hotel/office hybrid, but its design has been executed in a far more daring and unconventional concept. Rather than build a box or something based around something like a flower or another ubiquitous, neck-breakingly tall high-rise, the architects [RMJM Architects, for those interested] chose to go with something new. Can't wait for this one to open, although I can't help but wonder if this one is gonna attract people the way the Leaning Tower of Pisa has for almost 900 years...