Design & Architecture

Sculpted by Perfection

View of the facade. Image © Anu Rao

This superstructure is located in the heart of Dubai Marina, adding to the diverse skyline. Flanked by the Marina Promenade, the building offers spectacular views of the World islands to the north and The Palm Jumeirah to the west. The AED 1 billion project is designed by an internationally renowned firm, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) and constructed by Arabtec, a major contracting firm based in Dubai. Initially christened the Infinity tower, it was renamed Cayan tower, after its developer, just before it was opened to the public.

Following its completion in 2013, it has gained recognition internationally by winning awards like the Guinness World Record for Tallest Twisted Tower 2013, and the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Best Tall Building Award 2014.

The Turning Torso in Sweden and the Cayan tower in Dubai
The Turning Torso in Sweden (left), and the Cayan tower in Dubai (right)

The helical shape reminds one of the Turning Torso in Scandinavia, which uses a similar principle of turning at an angle of 1.2 degrees to create a total twist of 90 degrees, resulting in 360 degrees views for the residents. The Turning Torso is the tallest building in Scandinavia and is designed by famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, and laid the groundwork for the Cayan tower.

Primarily a luxury residential building, it also includes retail spaces on the first two floors. Governed by a central circular core, in stark contrast to its rectilinear exterior, the tower is equipped with 495 condominiums that ranges from studios to four bedroom duplexes and penthouses. It also houses an outdoor infinity pool, world class spa, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a luxury concierge service, massage rooms and a nursery.

View of the Dubai Marina from the highest floor. Image © Anu Rao.

This 75-storey tower emerged as a result of an extensive study of sun angles and wind direction, specific to the Middle East. It has been designed to adapt to the climate of Dubai and manipulate winds into avoiding the structure. The tower is nothing short of an engineering marvel, considering the twisting columns, which is a first in the construction industry. According to ArchDaily, the engineers at SOM worked tirelessly to keep the floor plates consistent throughout the building, in order to streamline the process of selling the apartment units. Each window panel is custom designed to adapt to the twisting body of the tower. Standing at the foot of the 307 m high tower, your eyes will trail off into the sky as you try to keep track of the windows stacked above each other.

Perforated metal screens create beautiful patterns of light.

Perforated metal screens that clad the building, play a game of hide-and-seek with the sun, and keeps out glare. Each screen has been designed in a Building Information Modelling (BIM) software prior to construction, to ensure that harsh sunlight is kept out.

Driving by the Sheikh Zayed Road, the Cayan Tower peeks out shyly from the Dubai Marina skyline, sculpting the rays of sun on the western horizon.

View of the Cayan tower (right) in the Dubai Marina