Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

May 13

Wind Powered Rotating Skyscraper

Posted in Energy Inventions | Future Technology | Wind Power

David Fisher Residents of Dubai may one day experience a unique and constantly changing skyline thanks to Dynamic Architecture‘s wind powered rotating skyscraper. The main idea behind their concept involves a central concrete core surrounded by 59 independently rotating levels. The skyscraper would generate its own electricity from the massive horizontal wind turbines that would be stacked in between each floor. This idea may seem outlandish or impossibly expensive, but the oil price boom in Dubai has already funded many other similarly massive and complex architectural projects. If oil prices continue to increase these rotating wonders may be seen on Dubai’s horizon within the next few years.

Innovative Architect

The rotating towers are the vision of Dr. David Fisher, an accomplished Italian Architect focused on designing “Dynamic Architecture” or “Designing buildings that can adjust themselves to the needs of its inhabitants.” Fisher has been involved in building restoration projects in New York and is currently working to develop revolutionary construction technologies. Fisher’s designs are built in the factory and assembled on site, significantly reducing the construction time and number of workers.

Revolutionary Construction

Skyscraper Construction The first phase of construction will take about six months. A central concrete core is erected to house important static amenities like elevators, staircases, plumbing and other utilities. This is the only part of the project which must be built on site. The 12 individual units that make up each floor are prefabricated in a factory in order to ensure safety, cost effectiveness and quality control. Each unit is self-contained and includes all necessary electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning. Units are hooked on to the building and hoisted up to the top of the tower. It takes one week to rotate the entire floor into (watch the construction animation). The tower is effectively built from the top-down. The fact that each unit is independent and moves with the wind ensures a much higher resistance to earthquakes.

Self Powered Architecture

Neatly stacked in between each floor is a horizontal wind turbine (58 in total). Each turbine can produce 0.3 megawatt of electricity and is said to be able to produce enough energy for 50 families. The turbines are integrated in such a way that they are hardly visible from the outside. Their close proximity makes them easy to maintain. “Producing that much electric energy without any implication on the aesthetic aspect of the building is a revolutionary step in tapping alternative energy sources.” Dynamic Architecture’s website also claims that combined with solar panels they could generate up to $7million worth of surplus electricity every year.

Wind Powered Skyscraper

Each turbine can produce 0.3 megawatt of electricity, compared to 1-1.5 megawatt generated by a normal vertical turbine (windmill). Considering that Dubai gets 4,000 wind hours annually, the turbines incorporated into the building can generate 1,200,000 kilowatt-hour of energy. As average annual power consumption of a family is estimated to be 24,000 kilowatt-hours, each turbine can supply energy for about 50 families. The Dynamic Architecture tower in Dubai will be having 200 apartments and hence four turbines can take care of their energy needs. The surplus clean energy produced by the remaining 44 turbines can light up the neighborhood of the building. However, taking into consideration that the average wind speed in Dubai is of only 16 km/h the architects may need to double the number of turbines to light up the building to eight. Still there will be 40 free turbines, good enough to supply power for five skyscrapers of the same size.

Another Concept

Wind Powered Skyscraper

There is no construction date. We’ve listed a few links and forums topics here for further research.

Dynamic Architecture Homepage

Press Releases

Forum Discussions

  • Adrian Akau

    This method of making every other floor into a wind turbine seems an expensive way to produce electricity. It would require doubling the height of the building and I think the additional costs would not warrent this type of construction.

    I think that a more practical way of using wind power for a building would be to use only the top floors of the structure to generate power since the wind velocity is higher at greater elevation.

  • Joseph Tamas

    This is amazing, I want this to be the future.

  • Janeen Johnson

    They probably use every other floor to cut the torque on the building in general. Using the top floors only would put tremendous stress on the central core.

  • Dr EVS

    This is so cool. I want one of these apartments! However, you will obviously require to be mega rich. I am also interested in the islands of Dubai – the world islands. They are also extremely expensive. Dubai is such an exciting country at the moment, and indeed in the future, architecturally wise. It will be interesting to see how these concepts will develop.

  • Stephen Forbush

    The speed that this modular building can be built and the number of less people working can more than save the money needed to pay for the turbines plus they will pay foy themselves in electric energy production.

  • Dick Fradella

    It’s great. Functional, beautiful, and exciting architecture. The center tower can be designed to take wind load on it. And upper floors could be shaped to have more semi-circles, that can further increase wind speed at what look like Savonius wind turbines between floors. And power yield can be further maximized with smart power electronics.

  • Ateesh Dwivedi

    This is a great concept, and a step above the one in Bahrain. This is what I call as a win-win case. The energy is clean which means that there is no pressure on our natural resources and wind energy is free.

    The challenges of changing wind direction will be well addressed by the self adjusting design. The designers must have also calculated the energy needed to rotate the slices of the building, because that will be over and above the 200 households they plan to support. The wind may help in rotation, but there need to be ample control to prevent a fast rotation and extra rotation. The residents, otherwise, would experience earthquakes several times a day.

    Overall, this is a great concept and the positives outweigh the negatives.

  • jay

    This is the most ridiculous idea I have ever seen. I once worked in a revolving restaurant and have seen my share of sick people. It took 54 minutes to make a full rotation and guests still managed to lose their sea legs… and appetizers.

    I’D LOVE to see a tower of this size filled. Instead of a trash chute will there be a vomit chute to collect in the basement for removal? Just be sure it’s properly labeled. No-one wants to vomit in the same shoot they direct their dirty laundry to.

  • Eve

    How do you get off an elevator onto a spinning floor?

  • ken

    I don’t like it. If you have no control over your condo spinning… this can get really annoying… really fast! If you do, I’m sure your neighbors would be annoyed if you are spinning when they are trying to sleep. Hah. This is so ridiculous. They forgot about the human factor.

    Also, Dubai is messing with mother nature. Think about how the palm islands and world islands have affected marine life and the natural ecosystem.

  • Liza

    I love the fact that the building is powered by wind. And what about a generator in the event the building needs to be stopped? My question is, what about when very high wind stormy/hurricane weather conditions occur? Will this make the skyscraper spin super fast? Is there a way to control the building and switch the building “off” in the event inclement weather conditions occur?

  • cyberbian

    I have worked with rotating couplings for electricity, they tend to fail rapidly due to arcing, I cannot imagine doing that for water and sewage. The building would spray waste and water like a great sprinkler.

    All bearings are wear points. How do you repair/replace the worn or broken parts on this without dismantling everything below the broken part?
    What is the rate of motion, and is it controlled or based on the wind speed?

    How is it controlled?

    Isn’t that a lot of expense to add to a building just to have a nauseating novelty?

    How do you repair it when it fails for a particular floor?

    I love the concept of the windmills between floors, loose the spinning and you have a winner.

  • Mstormo

    I really hope they make every other of those wind turbines counter-rotate, or else the core will have enourmous stress once they all start spinning at full speed! (The video showed them _NOT_ counter rotating, which makes me worried)

    Cool concept though..

  • Michael

    Rotating turbines? And I thought my AC unit turning on outside my window was loud. This is a hoax.

  • Jayarr

    It actually is planned to be constructed…

    And planned to be finished by 2010…

  • Chuckie

    Huge turbines between floors. That should be nice and quiet!

  • aswile johnson

    The idea is amazing and I’m convinced that it is possible.

  • Matt

    Moving floors with turbines between each of them? It may look cool, but will probably be one of the noisiest buildings ever, especially as it ages.

  • Umer

    By the way… will an elevator be fitted in this building and then even if the elevator is fitted, how will a person come out of it. the elevator fitted in this case should be also spinning the opposite way the building is spinning and at the same speed, and then spinning elevators…..oh my god, a person will come out of the elevator completely dizzy, this building concept is fail, fail, fail. And then, looking out of the window and changing views….ooof. Liza is right…. in storm conditions or if hurricane or tornado occurs, the buildings gonna rotate in the tornado at may be 1000 turns in a minute…..And what about if earthquake occurs. Usually earthquakes rotate everything when occur and and what about the rotation when the building is only rotating. Even it will be very noisy in future. What about the iron bars inside the building and core, they will get completely twisted and break the building in a minute or so. By the ways is the ground floor also rotating…..if so, then this is a complete hoaxxx… My conclusion is never build this building……..and if some f***er builds it, it’s gonna get demolished by itself very soon……..

  • soul_prophet

    It’s a great architectural idea for a building also supported from the chance to be an alternative one producing electricity from wind!!! I hope for all its best!

  • jamesmcdonald7

    This seems like a far fetched idea and many people bring good points up on the topic of nausea but don’t forget it takes a week to rotate 360 degrees. Its not like an ultra fast moving tower and each floor movement is controlled individually. To me this seems like a perfectly logical and achievable engineering and architectural challenge although pricey. But who has more money to spend on this then the oil barons and their billions of dollars?

  • Seth R

    I don’t see any problem regulating the turbines every floor, direction of rotation, etc. mentioned above.

    I’m not a helicopter pilot, or any other kind, but that problem has been solved decades ago, the ability to feather the blades of the props, or turbines. And now we have computers that can manage this. If they have trouble designing it, they can talk to the geniuses who made the Prius computer-modulated brake system.

  • Jeff D

    I can envision how the elevators will be accomplished. With a slow rotation, the inner corridor can be entered with no difficulties. That would be stationary.

    My interest is piqued by the problem of reliable connections to the apartments for utilities. As stated by cyberbian, the electrical couplings are not that durable. The other utilities, water and sewer in particular are going to be an issue. Unless there is a non-rotating portion of each residential floor that contains all of that, it would be a nightmare to maintain.

  • Ian

    Those 58 turbines won’t receive enough clear flowing wind to generate any significant energy output. Not even enough to power the rotation of the floors, let alone produce a surplus.

    To my knowledge there is not a building anywhere in the world that has successfully generated a significant amount of energy via an integrated wind turbine. This is due to the behavior of the wind when it hits a solid object, like a building. The majority of the winds energy is lost before it hits the turbine blades.
    Wind turbines need uninterrupted access to lots of wind to achieve efficiency, which is why they are sited offshore at such great expense. I’m afraid Dr Fisher’s design is therefore fatally flawed.

  • Brendan Morse


    Another daft mega-monumental opus magnus of some daft ego-maniacial architect.

    Actually, I see the potential and from ONE perspective it’s an interesting idea.

    But I can’t help to agree with the multiple points made about noise issues, motion sickness issues, motion versus static service coupling issues, bearing issues, load issues, and another one that hasn’t been mentioned.

    sand !

    don’t they realize how much fine sand moves through the air on the wind or hasn’t anyone bothered to consider it ? how do you keep that amount of dust out of high altitude couplings and moving parts, sleeves etc. ?? i can’t even keep the stuff out of waterproof bags at ground level!

    This will be the greatest white elephant in architectural history.

  • Rachel

    I don’t care if this becomes a Great White Elephant. I just want to see it accomplished with so many sad events happening I would like to see that we can still dream and create the impossible. Good luck guys! -Rachel.

  • bola ajayi

    Wow! This is going to be wonderful. I wish to be part of this project before it eventually takes off. All fears expressed by people above can actually be tackled mathematically (mathematical model of dynamic stability of the structure) and solutions proffered and simulated to alay fears of ‘thomas’ that are doubting. Well, I am available as a consultant. Lets move our world forward. some people started the flying objects heavier than air. this is a laudable (never laughable) project. Conception definitely begets completion.

  • Fernando Torres

    What’s the dimensions for a lateral wind turbine?

  • thet naing tun

    If the wind power can product electricity, how much? How does the system works between flats?

  • thet naing tun

    And the other question?

    How do the flats and the main building (which is middle of building) connect each other?

    Are these flats always rotating? Can you stop when you want to stop?

  • Joseph smith

    It seems that you would be dizzy from the turning of the building!!

  • Larry Still

    Concept is doable…just another challenge for the high-rise window cleaners.

  • Arlo Masterson

    There is a good article in I believe the December or January edition of National Geographic that explains the concept quite well. The center column of the building doesn’t rotate each unit rotates around a static center column. According to the NG article, the entrance to each unit will be on the edge of the central core. The elevator system is just like a normal high rise, the center column acts just like a normal building.

  • nate

    I think we should first perfect our simple viable means of alternative energy before taking on costly projects such as these. Look at how many prototypes it took before getting the first plane up in the air. I am sure the first building of one of these will have more problems than it is worth. Look at how long we have been making cars and even today some of our newest designs are flops right off the show room floor. Let’s get back to the basics and perfect buildings with solar panels or turbines on top of buildings.

  • Steve

    I believe this type of building should be investigated. And let some country other than the USA spend the initital investment. We can perfect it later.

  • Your Mom

    Imagine Cleaning that…

  • Michelle

    Hey did you now that who ever is the floor because people own the whole floor they have control panels and they can stop the spinning when ever they want or how fast or slow so if you wanted it could just be like living in a apartment if you chose to not spin it. Which would be a waste of money. But ever one there is rich. So why do they care.

    Michelle 😎

  • gary player

    It’s not entirely apparent how the problems of domestic water and power and soil & waste disposal will be dealt with…. I understand that the central core will act as a main service riser but how does this then interface with power and water distribution throughout the apartments and waste disposal? The only way I can imagine it is if bathrooms, WCs and kitchens are all adjacent to the core and fixed in position leaving the other habitable spaces to rotate but this still leaves the problem of power distribution and means the layout of your apartment changes as it rotates which would make late night trips to the loo a bit dicey! Seems a bit far fetched…

    Strikes me as an idea the architect has dreamt up without speaking to any engineers to see if its technically viable

  • savannah johnson

    OMG these things are so cool. I think its great that we are inventing things to help save energy! This is so great… I love whoever invented this!

  • Ravi Soparkar

    It is simply amazing and innovative creation. I am sure this would lead to still better design in near future. By the way as target date was 2010, at what stage the project is on today?

    Ravi Soparkar, Pune, India

  • Kayla =]

    It may be a noisy building after it’s built but I’m sure the architect David Fisher has plans for how to diminish the noises. This is really a superb invention and I hope to see the invention do well. I also hope that not only can everyone enjoy the invention but improve it as well as create more interesting and exciting inventions.

  • Govind

    Higher wind speeds at higher elevation can more effectively replace wind turbines in the lower levels. Moreover, long term reliability & maintenance of the complete structure due to so many moving parts should be studied.

  • Cilla

    Well I started out with the same doubts as posted by most people here. And undertook this building as my dissertation project with the intention of proving that the claims made by the developers is wrong and that this building is a hoax.

    BUT IT IS NOT. all of the concerns voiced have been thought of and dealt with. its not only a building that rotates but is also a building that has introduced many developments in the type of construction and engineering. So if you think this building will not work, thats your opinion but before you go about criticizing it, do some research first and you will know that it can be and is about to be done!

  • Ben

    Come on Where’s your imagination? Just because we don’t understand how some of the systems will work, doesn’t mean that somebody hasn’t figured it out. Maybe there’s a way to get power up there without hard wiring. Maybe there’s a simple way to tap into a central water system, or sewer system. Probably a lot of folks couldn’t figure out how we could send signals, with pictures, through thin air either. Or, what about flying machines that weigh more than air? Don’t you think they’ve already taken into account earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricane force winds, etc?

    I have absolute faith in humankind’s unlimited imagination. Will some things fail? Sure. But that’s how we learn, and ultimately create even better. Maybe you know that a rotating single family home, was built in the U.S. roughly 20 years ago, and despite some minor challenges, it’s still going strong, and is beautiful too.

    Go for it guys. Let’s see what you can do. Maybe we’ll build a human inhabitable station way out in space. :>) On the other hand, maybe that can’t be done successfully either. What?

  • Robert Bixby

    Very beautiful. letting the wind flow through the building will reduce shock from storms and sudden gusts. I’d love to work for a company with this kind of imagination.

  • billlwu

    Such a great design, putting green ideas in the designing. Just wondering will it last long if the unit are constantly moving.

  • loco

    i think that it’ll be cool. but i wouldn’t like to live in one of those lol

  • Amall Black

    Sooo…What happens when residents are lets say eating dinner and the floor starts moving. centripetal force is going to have a major effect on people living in this building. spilled drinks will be the least of their problems. Although it is really cool.

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