Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Structural And Plumbing Engineering: SOM
Site Area: 3,026.50 m2
Project Area: 111,484 m2
Building Height: 307m (73 stories)
Photographs: Courtesy of SOM
Dubai’s Cayan Tower (formally the Infinity Tower), a 73-story skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), began construction in 2006 and is finally nearing completion this year. The major characteristic of the tower is the way it twists up into the sky, as each floor is rotated 1.2˚ to create a full 90˚ twist from bottom to top.
SOM designed the Cayan Tower with the same mindset as the Willis Tower (Sears Tower), John Hancock Center, and Lever House: in order for a building to endure, the exterior form must be a direct expression of its structural framework. The powerful helix shape created by the rotating floors emphasizes SOM’s design philosophy and utilization of cutting-edge techniques. SOM shows the great power of design through Infinity’s unique spiral shape that reflects the ever-changing shapes of the deserts, winds, and seas that surround it.
One challenge that SOM had to overcome with Cayan Tower was how to efficiently control the intense desert heat. The winding shape reveals a structure that helps protect its interior from the sun. In addition, its reinforced concrete structure is clad in metal panels and screens to provide additional shade from the intense heat.
The tower will serve a variety of purposes including luxury residential units, parking, and retail. The twisting form optimizes low level views to Dubai Marina and high rise views to the gulf and city. Its unique, high-strength structure maximizes its views while maintaining the views of the neighboring buildings.
Cayan’s unique form and prime location will make it one of the most recognizable buildings in Dubai. Although other helix-shaped buildings exist, Infinity will be the tallest twisting tower in the world.