Architecture firm Znera Space has created a radical concept that would change the skyline of Dubai.
The planned project is known as Downtown Circle and is a 550 meter high ring, which will encircle Burj Khalifa. The designers hope it will shake up traditional ideas of gated communities and skyscraper homes. It is also intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.
Artists’ illustrations show the striking scale of the structure, which is expected to encompass all of downtown Dubai in a circumference of three kilometers.
It will be broken down into smaller units, which will contain homes as well as public, commercial and cultural spaces.
The ambitious project was crafted by Najmus Chowdry and Nils Remess, co-founders of Znera Space, who often focus on experimental architecture that explores and addresses social boundaries and environmental issues.
Downtown Circle was created by the duo during the pandemic, which sparked the idea of rethinking the way we live in cities, especially in skyscrapers.
“We wanted to get to the basics of how gated communities were established as a very horizontal built environment,” Chowdry said. The National. “But you can’t have that here because of Dubai’s dense urban fabric. The best way to explore and practice this concept was downtown.
“The concept was that of a vertical city,” adds Remess. “When Covid-19 hit hard, we thought a lot about suitability and how we can change things, and how we can create better urban planning. We looked at things like garbage disposal , food production, traffic problems, pollution, we put all these things together and came up with the concept.
Downtown Circle is made up of five levels and is said to rest on five points, or pillars, embedded in the ground. The massive span of the circle itself would be made up of two main rings held together by a continuous green belt called Skypark that vertically connects the floors to each other, creating a connected three-dimensional urban green ecosystem.
“Agriculture was one of our targets,” says Remess. “Usually cities start with agriculture and then continue with urbanization. Today, many large cities are faced with the problem of how to add more agriculture. This is one of the aspects that we wanted to add to this concept: a self-sufficient city.
Acting as a lung of the structure, Skypark would also include swamps, waterfalls, tropical vegetation and various flora. The plan would also have areas for rainwater harvesting, solar power and a system that stores carbon and filters pollutants from the air as part of the urban ecosystem.
An idea for a tram on the Outer Perimeter Ring is also included in the concept and designs, which were created in collaboration with Poland-based visualization studio Pictown. Twenty spacious modules traveling at up to 100 kilometers per hour would transport passengers around the Downtown Circle while offering 360-degree views of the city.
The idea of a self-contained city within a city is similar to The Line megaproject in Neom, Saudi Arabia. However, the concept of Znera Space differs as it is integrated into the fabric of an existing city unlike The Line, which is planned to be built in the desert where space is abundant.
While Chowdry and Remess considered all aspects of urban living, social, economic and sustainability when creating Downtown Circle, the discussion of what is possible in architecture excites them just as much.
“Our role as architects is to come up with these ideas,” says Chowdry. “We want people to comment on it, to criticize it, to see how we can think of building topographies.”
“It also raises the discussion about what we can do better,” adds Remess. “The way we build cities, the way we plan things. There can be negativity around this type of discussion, but also solutions on how we can change things for the better.
Updated: August 19, 2022, 10:14 a.m.