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Proposed Calatrava Spire in Dubai Would Be Taller Than Burj Khalifa

The anchor of a new retail district, the observation tower could become the Eiffel of Dubai, says architect

Dubai is doubling down on supertall structures, according to The Wall Street Journal, with plans to build a new starchitect-designed observation tower that would reach above the record-setting heights of the Burj Khalifa. Currently called simply "The Tower," the proposed building announced by Emaar Developments on Sunday would be "a notch taller" than the 828-meter-tall (2,717-foot-tall) Burj, currently the tallest in the world, though the exact height hasn’t been decided.

If the spire-like project were to be completed, the Emirate would be home to two of the three tallest structures on the planet, with the under-construction Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia expected to eventually take to the top spot.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava, who was announced as the winner of an international design competition for the tower in February, the building was inspired by the shape of lilies and minarets, and would be anchored to the ground by a series of cables. The slender structure would primarily function as a viewing tower, containing an observation deck as well as restaurants and boutique hotel. The architect compared it to the Eiffel Tower.

"In our proposed design, we have united local traditional architecture with that of the 21st century," Calatrava said in a statement.

Emaar Developments pegged the cost, in a very preliminary estimate, at $1 billion, half a billion less than the Burj. Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar said he would like to finish the structure before 2020, when the city hosts the World Expo, and would like to start work in June or July.

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