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07/08/2016

ArchitectDavidFisheronHisDynamicTowerinDubaiWSJ

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CULTURALCONVERSATION
Believe Him or Not, He Puts a Fresh
Spin on Architecture

ByFRANCISX.ROCCA
UpdatedFeb.11,200912:01a.m.ET
Florence
Withpropertypricesalmosteverywhereheadedforthegroundfloor,thismightnotseemthebesttimefor
buildingaluxuryskyscraper.ThemomentwouldseemespeciallyunpropitiousinDubai,wheretheglobal
financialcrisishasunderminedaonceboomingrealestatemarketandlastmonthhaltedworkonwhat
wouldhavebeentheworld'stallestbuilding.Sowhataretheprospectsforaritzyresidentialandoffice
towerwhosemostdistinctivefeaturesdependonuntriedtechnologytowhichmostlistenersreactwith
headshakingdisbelief?
IfDavidFisherhasanydoubts,heisnotsharingthem.The60yearoldarchitectandbusinessman,bornin
IsraelandbasedforthepastfourdecadesinItaly,saystheworldwideeconomicdownturnhasyettodent
demandforhisrotatingDynamicTower,inwhichthecheapestapartmentswillgofor$3millionandthe
priciestfor10timesthatmuch.
"Luxuryproductsaresoldalmostmoreintimesofcrisis,"heinsists."Thesamepeoplethathad$1billion,
maybenowtheyhave$600million,buttheyfeelmorelikespending.Theysay,'let'shavefun.'"
Mr.Fishersaysthatgroundbreaking,whichheoncehopedwouldtakeplacelastfallatastillundisclosed
locationinDubai,hasbeenpostponeduntilspring,mainlybecauseofbureaucraticdelayswithconstruction
permits.Buthesaysthatapplicationsforapartmentsinthe80storytowerhavecontinuedtopourin
morethanahundredinJanuaryaloneandthatagroupofprivateinvestorsfromanunspecified"North
Americancity"hasapproachedhimtodesignanotherlikeitthere.
It'seasytoseewhytheywoulddoso.InMr.Fisher'spromotionalvideos,acomputergeneratedconception
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07/08/2016

ArchitectDavidFisheronHisDynamicTowerinDubaiWSJ

Called"theworld'sfirstbuildinginmotion,"theDynamicTowerwillbean80storyskyscraperwithrevolvingfloorsthatwill
giveitanevershiftingshape,showninthisartist'srenderingfromDynamicArchitecture.ASSOCIATEDPRESS

ofthetowertwirlssinuouslylikeapreciousmetalchain,eachstoryturningatitsownspeedandinitsown
direction.Theeffectismesmerizing.
Lifeinsidethebuildingwillbenolessattractive,Mr.Fishersays.Notonlywillresidentsbeabletoenjoy
sunriseandsunsetthroughthesamewindowtheywillbeabletoshifttheirbalconygardensthroughoutthe
day,toguaranteeplantstheoptimumamountoflight.TheDynamicTower,whichTimemagazinenamed
asoneofthebestinventionsof2008,isthatrareideadeservingofshopwornadjectiveslike"unique"and
"revolutionary."
Assumingitworks,thatis.Becauseatfirstglance,andevenatthesecond,thethingseemsasfantasticasit
isexhilarating.
Wellaccustomedtoincredulity,appearingindeedtorelishit,Mr.Fishercheerfullyexplainswhyhisdesign
isnotonlyfeasible,butactuallycheaper,fasterandsafertobuildandmaintainthanaconventional
building.Hedeclaresthatpracticalconsiderations,notaesthetics,arethesinequanonofhisarchitectural
philosophy.
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ArchitectDavidFisheronHisDynamicTowerinDubaiWSJ

"Youhavetoknowifaprojectholdswaterbeforeyou
start,"hesays."Itcanbebeautiful,butifit'snot
functional,youdon'tcareaboutthedesign."
TheefficiencyoftheDynamicTower,Mr.Fishersays,
willderiveaboveallfromitsprefabrication.Eachstory
thebuildingtapersfrom13,000squarefeetontheground
floorto10,000squarefeetatthetopwillbecomposed
ofabout40factorybuiltmodules,preinstalledwithall
wiring,plumbingandcustomizedfurnishings,including
kitchenandbathroomfixtures.Thisisthe"most
revolutionaryaspect"oftheproject,hesays,sinceitwill
enable90peopletoputupinlessthantwoyearswhat
wouldrequiremorethan20timesasmanyworkers,and
nearlytwiceasmuchtime,usingtraditionalconstruction
methods.Suchavastsavingsinmanhourswill
dramaticallyreducetheriskofaccidents,andbringdown
insurancecostsaccordingly.
ISMAELROLDAN

Tomakethingsevensafer,theprocessofbuildingthe

1,380foottalledificeistotakeplaceforthemostparton
theground.Thekeytothatparadoxicalachievementwillbethetower'ssilolikecore,theonlysection
whoseconstructionwillrequireacrane.Oncetheconcretecolumnisinplace,eachfloorwillbeassembled
inaringaroundit,thenhauledupwithcables.Thebuildingwillthus"rise"fromthetopdown.IfMr.
Fisher'sprojectsoundslesslikeengineeringthanlikeplayingwithachild'stoy,thatexplainsmuchofits
charm.
Thelargelyhollowcorewillfunctionastheaxlearoundwhichthefloorsturn.Itwillalsobetheconduit
forelevators,electricalwiringandplumbing.Toenablewatertoflowthroughaconstantlyshifting
structure,Mr.Fishersayshehaspatentedasystem,basedontechnologyusedtorefuelairplanesinmid
flight,thatwillserveeachfloorthroughasingle"smartconnection"forcleanwaterandanotherforwaste.
Andwhatabouttheelectricityneededtoturn80floorsalldaylong?Inanageofanxietyaboutenergy's
economicandenvironmentalcosts,suchaspectaclesoundsprohibitivelyextravagant.Onthecontrary,Mr.
Fisherinsists:hisbuildingwillbenotonlythemostdazzlinginhistory,butalsothemost"green."
Panelsontheroofofeachstory,partofwhichwillbeexposedatsomepointineveryday'srotation,will
collectheatfromthesun'srays.Horizontalturbines,likeairplanepropellerssandwichedbetweenthe
floors,willgatherpowerfromthewind.Thebuildingwillactuallyproducemoreenergythanitconsumes,
hesays,leavingtheresttobesoldtotheneighbors.
Perhapsrecognizingthatallthismightseemalittletoogoodtobetrue,Mr.Fisheroccasionallyinterrupts
hisboosterismtonotethat,comparedwithotherfamousinventions,theDynamicTowerisinfactnotso
veryremarkable.
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ArchitectDavidFisheronHisDynamicTowerinDubaiWSJ

Anartist'srenderingshowsDavidFisher'sDynamicTower,thatwillbebuiltinDubai,invariousstagesofmovement.
ASSOCIATEDPRESS

"Ilaughwhenpeoplesayit'sincredible,"hesays."It'sridiculoustocompareittoanaircraft.It'sridiculous
tocompareittoalaptopcomputer.Thisisbyfarsimpler."Henotesthathediscoveredthevirtuesof
prefabricationwhenmakingbathroomsforluxuryhotels,oneofseveralbuildingrelatedventureshe
pursuedinatwodecadehiatusfromarchitecturalpracticebeforehegottheideaforarotatingskyscraper.
Theunexpectednotesofmodestyarenotonlydisarmingbutoddlyinspiring.AfterlisteningtoMr.Fisher
talkabouttheDynamicTowerforacoupleofhours,youmightstillbeskeptical,butyoucertainlyhopehe
succeeds,ifonlytoprovethatthechoicebetweenthepracticalandthemarvelousatradeoffthatmostof
uslearnedtoacceptasaninevitablepriceofgrowingupmightnotbenecessaryafterall.
Providingsuchinspiration,Mr.Fischersays,isthepartofhisworkthatgratifieshimthemost:"Ithinkthat
themostimportantcontributionthatthisprojectcanmakeistohelppeopleunderstandthateverythingis
possible."
Mr.RoccaistheVaticancorrespondentforReligionNewsService.

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