When I was out in LA at Postopolis!, one of the most interesting and memorable talks I heard was Christopher Hawthorne’s, on the chilling, almost creepy, effect the recession has had on the United Arab Emirates, in particular Dubai. While he still hasn’t written up his version of his trip–and we wish he would, because the talk was so interesting–the basic gist was that construction had all but stopped in Dubai, and to some degree in Abu Dhabi (to say nothing of New York and LA), because the spigot of liquidity-né-money had dried up with the collapse of the financial system. He termed it Ponzi-scheme urbanism. Well, it seems some things are still moving out in the wild, sandy yonder, as RMJM’s Princeton office (formerly Hillier) just passed along the following impressive photo of its Capital Gate tower passing the half-way mark.
According to the firm, the 525-foot, 35 story hotel–future home of Hyatt Abu Dhabi–will be the leaningest building in the world, with an 18-degree cant, surpassing the Tower of Pisa’s 14-degree bend. RMJM says reaching the halfway point is a touchstone because of the building’s structural technicality. Simon Horgan, CEO of client Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, put it thusly in a press release:
Capital Gate is not about being the biggest or the tallest, it is about advanced technical ingenuity and aesthetic splendor. This is one of the most challenging buildings under construction in the world at the moment but due to the partnership between ADNEC, RMJM and all contractors on the project, ground breaking solutions are being designed on a daily basis.
To quote LL Cool J, don’t call it a come back… Abu Dhabi’ll be here for years to come.