The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

Dubai’s Latest Icon Soars to New Heights

Santiago Calatrava and Aurecon collaborate on Dubai’s newest mega-tower. Olha Romaniuk reports.

Dubai’s Latest Icon Soars to New Heights

All renderings courtesy of Santiago Calatrava and Aurecon

Poised to become the focal point of a new development, the latest iconic structure on Dubai’s skyline is set to convert the Dubai Creek Harbour area into one of the newest premiere residential and leisure destinations. Dubbed ‘The Tower’, the super tall megastructure is a collaboration between Santiago Calatrava and engineer/architect-of-record Aurecon, combining a unique soaring form with innovative technical and structural features that aim to create a landmark indicative of Dubai’s futuristic vision.

The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour Santiago Calatrava Aurecon

To those who are familiar with Calatrava’s previous iconic structures, the striking proposal for The Tower, which was selected from a total of six schemes by global architecture firms, immediately brings to mind the signature ribbed character of the star architect’s earlier projects. Nevertheless, The Tower’s form, with its network of steel cable stays radiating from the structure’s central reinforced concrete core, promises to become more than just a single-stroke statement, taking inspiration from the local context and mixing traditional and contemporary references for a context-appropriate response.

The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour Santiago Calatrava Aurecon

Although its exact height is yet to be revealed, The Tower will rival the 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa. It evokes the shape of a minaret – a signature feature of Islamic architecture, while its svelte, transparent form is engineered to its most efficient diameter for a distinctly contemporary look. Influenced by the delicate form of a lily, the cable stays that extend from the main core remind of the ribbing of lily leaves, whereas the oval-shaped bud-like form at the top of The Tower creates a template for observation decks and terraces, with two VIP decks, conceptualised to bring to mind the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and The Pinnacle Room, promising to offer 360-degree views of Dubai.

The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour Santiago Calatrava Aurecon

Beyond the aesthetics of The Tower, the megastructure promises to attest to the combined structural, technical and environmental prowess of Calatrava and Aurecon. The two teams will collaborate with each other on a number of design and technical features, working closely during the design process to arrive at optimal solutions for the structure. With a strong focus on sustainability and energy efficiency, The Tower will boast an advanced cooling system to respond to and mitigate Dubai’s hot weather, with integrated vegetation, shading system and wing doors that also contribute to the building’s energy efficiency. Additionally, the water collected from the cooling system will be utilised to clean The Tower’s façade.

The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour Santiago Calatrava Aurecon

As an upcoming iconic destination rooted in and inspired by its context, The Tower aims to hit all the right notes, combining a striking form with ambitious structural and environmental considerations. When completed in four years, the megastructure, with its sheer height, will transform Dubai Creek Harbour and Dubai at large. The architects and engineers involved in the project have expressed hope that The Tower will also set precedents for its design merit.


In the words of Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties that commissioned the project, “The design is a perfect fit for our requirements and integrates not just design excellence, but also strong environmental and smart-tech considerations. With The Tower, we are delivering a compelling destination that will add long-term economic value to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.”

Santiago Calatrava



INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed