Window of Dubai / ICE

Our friends from ICE (ideas for contemporary environments), an office featured on our first AD Futures, shared with us their proposal for the ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award in . Along with the project, there’s a postscript Ulrich Kirchhoff from sent us which in his words “is way more important than the project itself”.


With the recent negative feedback on some websites about the winning entry and the initiative of Bustler to publish all non-winners, we have shockingly realized, that we have not been the only ones, who have been Dubai-tized. Even as we started the project, the boundaries of cynicism, architectural integrity and the potential of just doing anything have been extremely blurred by the word alone – Dubai. Given those parameters, we went down a road, which lies on the verge of our own office integrity and agenda and the insanity of an architect’s wet dream. Not that we want to start a discussion about ethics in architecture, but it seems that all of us are responsible for the direction architecture took. Please find here our last project in that direction.

Architect’s description and more images, after the break.

Urban Context
With Dubai, questioning traditional Urbanism and Architecture, we have to ask how the emblem structure for a lift can reinvent its design and operational principles as well?

In an environment, which creates new icons in a breathtaking speed, is there space for another stand-alone iconic structure based on the building services?

We are interested to see, how a sightseeing tower can be highly contextual as well as creating an identity of its own.

We introduce an urban window to the city, that creates a viewing frame for the visitor, who approaches the city from the airport.

The ‘Window of Dubai’ WOD captures an ever changing picture of the city’s development.
The project lies in the vision corridor between airport and new city and the desert and the old city of Dubai.
The spatial experience of WOD covers all the extreme viewing conditions of the city throughout the process of travel.

Lift Concept
When the Eiffel tower was created, it celebrated the circulation and the engineering of a building. It defined how we understand vertical travel today.

We are interested in how we can liberate the lift from the traditional linear understanding, but to create a lift, which can follow the building in a non-linear way.

We are looking into improving on an existing concept in order to make the lift experience amore intermediate and interactive one: The paternoster lift (or cyclic elevator) offers a nearly seamless transition between floors, as it is a constantly moving chained elevator.

Compared to a linear lift, the cyclic elevator reduces waiting time through the chained cubicles and the potential to enter at any time into the lift. It forms a much more continuous connection between two points, which makes it ideal for public vertical circulation.

As the circulation in a public structure does not rely on speed an efficiency but on interactivity and spatial experience, the travel itself can be non-linear.

The safety issues, related to ascending the cubicle have to be overcome though. The principle of WOD is to stretch the lift shaft horizontally, in order to create a long entrance platform at the top and the base. Instead of getting into a vertically ascending/descending lift, the user enters into a horizontal movement of lifts.

The change from the vertical travel to the horizontal slows down the speed of the lifts, to make the entrance more comfortable. It accelerates again, once the lift has left the platform.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Window of Dubai / ICE" 08 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Toussaint Jimenez

    i guess this project its a exact copy of a project competition in sao paulo brazil made by a group of brazilian architects in 2008

    see it in academics competitions

  • 2MACoff


  • Fino

    Hm. I guess the St. Louis arch finally has some competition now.

  • Lucas Gray

    This is shitty. Not just the architecture but the whole idea behind the competition. Why should humans be wasting time, energy, money and resources on building more useless towers? Aren’t we in the middle of the worst recession in like 50 years? Aren’t we confronted with possible environmental catastrophe if we continue a business as usual lifestyle? Hasn’t Dubai realized their business model of building a fake oasis is the middle of the desert is misguided and not sustainable? Greed really pisses me off.

  • Lucas Gray

    Wow, I even forgot to mention how ugly that design is during my little rant there. Yup, super duper ugly. Even the graphics are ugly. No offense.

  • smorty

    yet another ridiculous project in dubai!

  • 16:08:78

    Nauseous Dubai…

  • viniruski

    The possibilities are endless when you have and endless supply of cheap migrant workers.

  • elver

    Piece of crap.

    Dubai is becoming little by little in a Giant Piece of Shit-e architecture, that will become painfully ugly in 10 years.

    Dubai is the result of People with nasty taste with zillions of dollars.

  • David Basulto [tricky]

    I think Ulrich (Postscript paragraph) words are very interesting… addressing ethics on architecture.

  • John Avlakiotis

    Enough with Dubai!
    Thank god for the credit crunch, some of these terrible projects may come to a hault.

  • bart simpson

    what a sh*! hole – pun intended. lol

  • seeker

    i found a team from romania..)

    Tall Emblem Structure in Dubai
    CRISAN Architecture & Engineering (Alexandru CRISAN & Ana Maria CRISAN), Romania


    best regards

  • ruby

    god you guys like this hoe cus she looks good.

  • Thanh Nhã Huỳnh

    It’s very interesting Window. I can see a brightness future for it.