Architecture & movement


Movement in buildings

The other day, I was reminded of the Nationale-Nederlanden building in Prague, Czech Republic, which was designed back in 1992 and finished in 1996.

One of the architects who worked on this project was Frank Gehry. Known for his deconstructivist architecture, Gehry was last year described described by Vanity Fair as “the most important architect of our age.” His controversial building was originally named Fred and Ginger, after dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but is nowadays known as The Dancing House (and even The Drunk House). The words ‘drunk’ and ‘dancing’ effectively describe this building; it is full of unpredictable movement. Sat amongst its historic neighbors the building looks as though it might at any time take off and dance along the Vltava river.

But there are buildings that move, and there are buildings that really move.

Buildings in motion

Designed by architect David Fisher, the world’s first ‘building in motion’ is expected to reach a staggering 420 metres. Comprising 80 floors, each floor will be capable of rotating independently from all other floors, so that externally, the building will appear to twirl seamlessly. Apart from looking spectacular, the building will also be self-sufficient; wind turbines will be placed between each floor, utilising the wind to produce enough electricity to power the entire building. It will also be the first skyscraper to be built in a factory from prefabricated parts, reducing the required workforce by over a half.

Unsurprisingly, the Rotating Tower (or Dynamic Tower, as it is also known) is to be first built in Dubai; the land of all things grand, ambitious, and expensive (and that’s just the architecture). But even Dubai is not immune to financial setbacks. Announced in 2008, with an expected completion date of 2010, this building has not yet graced the Dubai skyline. The estimated build cost of $700m and difficulty in acquiring land is thought to be the cause of this delay.

Other than architectural supremacy, the clear advantage of the Rotating Tower over regular skyscrapers, is its self-sufficiency and all-important view:

“You can have breakfast facing the sunrise and dinner against the sunset without ever moving from the room.”


Other buildings have integrated rotating floors, in order to capitalize on that all important view. A rotating restaurant, Top of the Tower, was located on the 34th floor of the BT Tower in London and was in use from 1966 until 1980. There was speculation that the rotating restaurant might re-open for the London 2012 Olympic Games, but these claims have been quashed.

And in Trondheim, Norway, a similar revolving restaurant tower exists:

Tyholt Tower
However, if a trip to a rotating restaurant just won’t do, and you’d rather invest in a multi-million dollar, 360°-rotating view of Dubai, you’ll most likely have to sit tight for a good few years yet!

Are there any other examples of ‘buildings in motion’, or buildings that convey motion?

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2 Responses to “Architecture & movement”

  1. VP Says:

    Well there already a lot of moving buildings on KineticArchitecture.Net
    recently they cover a transformable skyscraper called Kinetower.
    The Kinetower is Kinetura’s concept for a building whose façade elements responds to the sunlight or for the user inside.
    check it out here

  2. owenp Says:

    Nice post. The Space Needle in Seattle is another famous tower with a rotating restaurant at the top.

    Seattle Tower

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