The race to build the world’s tallest skyscraper never ends, with more and more impressive heights reached. Consider that, just a century ago, the world’s tallest building was the Woolworth Building in New York: at 241 metres high, it was 13% taller than the previously record-holder, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, also in New York. In this new Millennium, the famous Taipei 101, in the Taiwanese capital, shattered the psychological threshold of 500 metres. In recent years, the record was firmly snatched by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which, topping out at 828 metres, has held the record since 2010. But this supremacy seems destined not to last too much longer. In Dubai, they are now ready to overcome another psychological barrier: 1,000 metres, with the Dubai Creek Tower, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.
The World’s Tallest Skyscrapers, pre-Dubai Creek Tower
For the time being, the world’s tallest skyscraper, at least until completion of construction work on the Dubai Creek Tower, is the Burj Khalifa, the symbol and no. 1 tourist destination in the Arab Emirates’ largest city. Interestingly, construction of the world’s second-tallest skyscraper, the 678-metre-high Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is nearing completion, but there’s also a new pretender for what had been considered the Burj Khalifa’s unbeatable record: the Dubai Creek Tower, in the Dubai district of that name, some eight kilometres from the world’s current tallest tower, not to mention the Jeddah Tower, a skyscraper under construction in Saudi Arabia, at Jeddah, on the shores of the Red Sea. The design for the Jeddah Tower reaches 1,008 metres, far more than the Burj Khalifa.
The New Dubai Skyscraper, Designed by Santiago Calatrava
Not much is known about the Dubai Creek Tower. What we do know is that the design is by Swiss-naturalized, Spanish-born architect Santiago Calatrava. Famous the world over, Calatrava’s works are often typified by their highly-recognizable identity. His most famous works include the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, also known as the Oculus, a design for which Calatrava drew inspiration from the oculus at the Pantheon in Rome.
The Dubai Creek Tower’s Height
Another unknown is exactly how tall the Dubai Creek Tower will be when completed. What seems certain is that this very tall tower will exceed the 828 metres of the “nearby” Burj Khalifa, and most likely the 1,008 metre Jeddah Tower. Excavations for the building’s foundations went down to a depth of 72 metres, a detail that implies an exceptionally tall construction. That said, some sources suggest a final overall height of around 1,300 metres. The most credible theory seems to be a 1,345-metre-tall tower. If this were true, the Dubai Creek Tower would end up surpassing the Burj Khalifa by a good 526 metres, a figure that is far greater – by a factor of two – than the height of Italy’s tallest skyscraper, the 321-metre UniCredit Tower in Milan.
The Dubai Tower’s Design
The Dubai Creek Tower’s shape will extravagantly differ from any other skyscraper. As Calatrava explains, the design is inspired by the Islamic architectural tradition, specifically, the architecture of age-old minarets. Calatrava also cites the desert lily flower as another major source of inspiration. From a distance, the building will look like a very tall, thin pyramid, becoming ever more slender as it rises.
According to some rumours, the design has more than 200 floors, spanning apartments, hotels, restaurants and gardens. The building may also feature revolving balconies to provide 360-degree views of Dubai at all times.
Construction of the Dubai Creek Tower
Construction work began on the Dubai Creek Tower in 2016. What little data is available suggests that 500,000 cubic metres of concrete and 18,000 tons of steel were used for the foundations. Unfortunately, construction work on the new Dubai tower has since been halted. No further progress has been made after foundation preparations were completed in May 2018. There may be a number of reasons for this standstill. Some commentators suggest work was halted after construction on the Jeddah Tower was suspended due to legal problems affecting the main financiers in 2018. Given the slowdown in construction on the skyscraper that would have surpassed the Burj Khalifa, the City of Dubai no longer had a pressing reason to resume construction of its latest tower.
A second, perhaps more credible reason for halting construction on the Dubai Creek Tower is the pandemic: the health emergency prompted an indefinite postponement of this major work.