Huge circular building runs rings around world’s tallest skyscraper

Dubai isn’t exactly lacking in eye-catching architecture, but if realized, ZNera Space’s conceptual project would be sure to turn heads even there. The firm envisions encircling the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, with a huge circular mixed-use structure named the Downtown Circle that would create a new neighborhood in the sky at an impressive height of 550 m (roughly 1,800 ft)

The Downtown Circle’s height would put it up there with the world’s tallest buildings, though the Burj Khalifa would still be far taller at 829.8 m (2,723 ft). It would also span a circumference of 3,000 m (around 9,800 ft) and its interior would be arranged over five floors. These would host office space, retail space, cultural areas, and housing, all arranged into two separate ring sections. Between the two rings would be a so-called Skypark that offers large and varied green areas.

“Swamps, waterfalls and tropical vegetation or the digital caves, cascades, fruit-trees and flowers of various hues and species together enrich the green eco system,” explained ZNera Space. “As a green lung, the Skypark seeks to replenish the air with oxygen and intends to incorporate a series of activities and research centers. The Skypark is integrated with offices, research zones, culture, science, and education and this spatial hybrid forms a new type of contemporary symbol for the city: a green and natural landmark – a refreshing and exciting stage for people to interact, experience and learn in contact with nature.”

The Downtown Circle's park would include waterfalls and swamp areas, as well as pathways
The Downtown Circle’s park would include waterfalls and swamp areas, as well as pathways


While ZNera Space doesn’t go into the finer details on how the building would function, we do know that visitors would move around the Downtown Circle using some kind of railway system that would travel at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). An unspecified number of solar panels would also reduce the building’s draw on the grid and rainwater collection systems would feature too.

Though we’d hesitate to rule out even the wildest architectural ideas when it comes to Dubai, the Downtown Circle is very much in the conceptual stage and unlike the similarly ambitious plan to build a 170-km (105-mile)-long city in the desert in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t have government backing, so it’s best considered food-for-thought for the moment.

Source: ZNera Space

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