ABU DHABI // Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is expected visit Reem Island next week to break ground on the first residential tower to bear his name. The Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower, to be built over two years at an estimated cost of Dh2 billion (US$544.4m), is the first of seven such structures planned around the world - one to represent each of the driver's championship titles.
Schumacher's name already appears on a commercial tower in Dubai's Business Bay area. PNYG, the company that gained the rights to use his name on property three years ago, was involved in licensing but not building that project. Joachim Swensson, the founder of PNYG, said the luxury tower would be environmentally sustainable and offer the latest technology. He compared the look of the building to the modern and minimal residences in the futuristic film The Island. "We're trying to bring the future to people," he said. "We will show the people that it is possible."
With three towers that merge into one, the Schumacher building will feature indoor tennis and squash courts, a golf course, a giant aquarium and an observatory. Mr Swensson would not confirm the exact price of the flats, saying only they would be "expensive". "We are like Louis Vuitton, or Hermes," he said. PNYG said it was also aiming for the smallest carbon footprint possible by recycling water on site, and using water-conserving landscaping and shading to reduce the heat of the building. To minimise the energy expended through wasteful air conditioning units, the tower will cool apartments by filtering ocean water through a system of pipes.
The building will also be equipped with solar panels, and there are plans to incinerate residents' waste to provide more electricity. "These products are already in the market," he said. "We're not inventing anything. It's already there, it just needs someone to bring it all together." PNYG, which was originally a marketing firm, hired Chris Bosse and Tobias Wallisser when it decided to develop an architecture division.
The pair were involved in the design of the Beijing National Aquatics Centre, better known at the Olympics as the Water Cube, and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. "We are not worried about whether we can do it," Mr Swensson said. "We've brought together very experienced people." firstname.lastname@example.org