x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai Marina gets new twist as residential tower opens

The 306-metre building, which turns 90 degrees, is the world's tallest ¿twisted¿ tower.

Another landmark: Infinity Tower on Dubai Marina, which turns 90 degrees, is, at 306 metres, the tallest
Another landmark: Infinity Tower on Dubai Marina, which turns 90 degrees, is, at 306 metres, the tallest "twisted" tower in the world. The building will officially be inaugurated tonight. Ali Haider / EPA

DUBAI // After seven years work, the “twisting” tower in Dubai Marina is finally finished. The tower will be officially opened tonight after what its owners have planned as a massive ceremony.

Infinity Tower, which turns 90 degrees, is, at 306 metres, the tallest “twisted” tower in the world.

Its nearest equivalent, the “Turning Torso” in Malmo, Sweden, is 190m tall.
Architectural experts have said that the tower would become a Dubai landmark.

“It’s a very exciting idea and it created a very, very exciting building,” said Magdy Ibrahim, the assistant professor of architecture at Abu Dhabi University. “Everyone has really been looking forward for the construction to finish.”

Dr Ibrahim was loosely connected to the project in 2005 when it was still at the planning stage with architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. He said that the twisted design of the building made it a challenge to build.

“It’s seriously difficult, because the twisting creates torsion,” he said. “The beams and the columns are trying to rotate out of that position, because of the eccentricity of the loads. This requires a very careful and intricate structural design.”

At 73-storeys, Infinity Tower will be mostly residential, with prices for apartments ranging from Dh2 million for a one bedroom, to as much as Dh3.5 million for a two bedroom.

Riad Saraiji, an associate professor in architecture at UAE University, said the building’s design would look as strange to the people living inside as it is does to those admiring it from outside.

“It’s certainly a unique project, but questions remain on how people would react to it when they’re inside,” he said. “If they see a twisted or leaning wall, I’m not sure how people would react to that. I definitely want to see it when it opens.”

Alex Albani, an associate professor of architecture at American University of Dubai, said the building “has one of the most prime and strategic locations in Dubai”.

Yasser Elsheshtawy, who is also an associate professor of architecture at UAE University, said the tower was a part of the traditional building climate of Dubai.

“Ever since the 1970s with the World Trade Centre, Dubai has been trying to use tall buildings and unusual architecture to put itself on the map,” he said. “Infinity Tower falls within that category.

“It is certainly a sign that Dubai is rebounding and overcoming some of the difficulties during the financial crisis.”

He said that projects, such as Emirates Towers and the Burj Khalifa, were placed on the thoroughfare of Sheikh Zayed Road, while the placement of this new tower in heavily residential Dubai Marina may soften its impact.

mcroucher@thenational.ae