Dubai’s Twisted Tower: A Closer Look
Dubai’s Twisted Tower: A Closer Look

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—In a city famous for buildings that resemble optical illusions, the world’s largest twisted tower has somehow managed to stand out. 

The Cayan Tower, which stands 310 meters (1,017 feet) tall and officially opened two weeks ago, twists an impressive 90 degrees on its own axis.

“The view on every floor is different from the one directly below it,” said an official connected with the project. It was designed by Chicago-based Skidmore Owings and Merrill, the company responsible for world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, which is also in Dubai.

A designer, Ross Wimer, said the Cayan Tower should be considered an “unusually large” piece of sculpture, according to The National newspaper. 

“If you drilled a hole through a stack of books and put a pole in it and rotated each book just slightly, you would be able to create the same spiral shape,” he told The National in 2011.

Serving as a central axis in the building is an elevator shaft, which features the second-fastest lifts in the world (behind only the Burj Khalifa). The 75-floor building is mostly residential and 80 percent of its units have been sold. Two-bedroom apartments at the building have sold for almost $1 million.

A single penthouse covers the entirety of the top two floors of the building, which is complete with an outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzis.

“In a city like Dubai with sophisticated world-class developments, Cayan wanted to develop a project to stay within this space and provide a remarkable lifestyle development with these characteristics to the Dubai skyline,” said Ahmed Alhatti, president of developer Cayan, in a statement last week. 

At a press conference at the launch of the building, Alhatti said the owners were able to move in immediately. However, much of the surrounding area of the building remains a construction site, and it’s not clear whether any of those who purchased property in the building have moved in.

The building was conceived in 2005, alongside many other off-the-wall projects, such as another tower that was comprised of constantly moving, rotating sections, and an underwater hotel accessible only by submarine. 

That the Cayan has reached completion despite a huge downturn in 2008, is a sign of the emirate’s economic recovery, experts say. 

Yasser Elsheshtawy, an associate professor of architecture at UAE University, told The National, “It is certainly a sign that Dubai is rebounding and overcoming some of the difficulties during the financial crisis.”

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