Put a Ring on It! Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Could Get a Suspended City Encircling It

Burj Khalifa ring

Burj Khalifa AKA the tallest building in the world could get a ring-like building around it, if architecture firm ZNera Space gets its way. The concept proposes a sustainable, ringed vertical city, called Downtown Circle, that fully encircles the famous Dubai skyscraper and is held up with five vertical support beams.

“As a response to the dilemma of how to build densely while retaining liveability, the downtown circle project establishes a sustainable and a self-sufficient vertical urbanism,” reads a social post by ZNera Space at the start of August, announcing the proposal.

The plan is to have everything you’d need within the Downtown Circle, from residential spaces, to public and commercial. Also inside will be a Skypark where different natural scenarios and climates are recreated inside.

Downtown Circle
Image: Znera Space

Related: Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for a Zero-Carbon, Mirrored Wall City

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“[Residents] can experience the canyons, sandy dunes and plants from various floras,” reads another post. “Swamps, waterfalls and tropical vegetation or the digital caves, cascades, fruit-trees and flowers of various hues and species together enrich the green eco system.”

Residents will get around using a fleet of suspending pods, while a heliport on the roof of the inner ring will provide transport outside of Downtown Circle.

Dubai-based ZNera Space creates with sustainability in mind, aiming to redefine the usual urban city models into designs that emulate nature and create diverse public spaces.

Downtown Circle
Image: ZNera Space

No word yet on if any part of the plan has been put into action, or if Burj Khalifa is even considering it.

The news comes after Saudi Arabia unveiled plans for a zero-carbon city, set to open in 2030. Called ‘The Line’, it’s set to accommodate nine million residents by 2045.

The car-free city will be 200 metres wide, with a 500-metre high mirror skyscraper wall on either side of it — to compare, the Empire State Building in NYC is 450-metres tall and the Eiffel Tower is 330m. The city will span 170kms of desert, and even have subterranean levels.

The concept is part of Saudi Arabia’s mega-project Neom, a $700 billion smart city, which was first announced in 2017. So far, it includes two projects: Oxagon, a “reimagined manufacturing and innovation city”, and Trojena, a “global mountain tourism destination that will offer the Arabian Gulf’s first outdoor skiing”.

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