Dubai’s ‘sky mall’ like a walking, solar-powered mall

Written by Staff Writer

The building that looks like a shopping mall in the sky appears to float above Dubai’s luxury lake in the desert.

Nowhere near as unearthly as it sounds — the extra-tall building has an internal circulation system, solar power and an architectural system whose elevators are visible from the street as they pull up visitors.

The “sky mall” is just the latest development in the super-tall pool phenomenon that has become prevalent in Dubai.

Huge structure

Construction on the walkway began in June 2018, and it was officially opened to the public on November 8. The building is 4.56 kilometers (2.9 miles) long, making it the world’s largest and tallest infinity pool by volume.

Stretching across Al Khail Road, it stretches 12.32 meters (40 feet) at its tallest point, and is capable of changing its character based on the time of day. In the winter, it will glow white. Spring will see rays of blue trickle down to warm up the desert breeze.

These seasonal effects are by design, in part to balance out temperature differences between the internal-gradient interior and above-ground air.

Its design is based on the curves of the man-made lake at The Address Zabeel Bay. The twin buildings are like two parallel towers held together by the sleek lines of glass slats. Like the hotel, this structure hosts a restaurant, pool and spa.

Elevators visible from street level

The view from the street is panoramic: visitors can look upwards to a breathtaking infinity pool and into the windowless penthouse suites where infinity pools are touted to be the perfect romantic setting. Some have infinity pools featuring walls, doors and windows, which make them visible from the street and bring some level of privacy to the space.

It has been designed in such a way that a glass ladder inside the swimming pool can lead to a concierge desk at the bottom of the tower, should the elevators stop working.

The structure comprises of four structures — two “skyscrapers” and two “towers,” said Dominique Serrand, managing director of innovative architectural design agency Lotus + Vanke , which designed the tower with apartment consultant Wayne Royal & Co.

“We wanted to bring different experiences of Dubai to the tower,” he said.

“The first side is the mall side,” he said. “You walk and come inside a blue mirrored pool, it will even know who you are and how you feel and even moves around to you.

“Then on the second side is the hotel side which is carpeted in 100 percent LED lighting and is a two-story room.”

Touch screens appear on walls and floors with QR codes allowing visitors to scan QR codes for additional features within the complex.

The first floor is open to the public and all features are free to access.

‘The future of sun lounging’

Saif Mohammed Al Shamma, a leading alternative project planner and independent design professional in Dubai, said the architecture in such buildings has changed markedly over the last few years.

The city started embracing skyscrapers in 2005, and that was when the first four-storey towers were built. By 2012, construction started on more than 100 residential buildings taller than four storeys. They include residential buildings over 20 storeys and mixed-use buildings over 30 storeys.

The sky-living trend is not a new one for Dubai. Two years ago, the Ritz Carlton hotel in Al Quoz, on the Palm Jumeirah, opened a world-record-breaking 93-storey tower with an observation deck for solar-powered self-living guests.

Marty Sadok, executive director of Sharjah -based Studio LAB

Sustainability is also an important focus. The observation deck is powered by natural energy, and the supply is temperature-controlled to avoid overheating.

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