OP-EN

A surreal architectural proposal would encase the world's tallest skyscraper in a fabric sheath.

The world's tallest skyscraper, the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa, can be pretty hard to miss. What other reason would somebody have for wanting to wrap it in a massive sheet of reflective fabric?

"Exo-Burj," a thought fart from creative think tank OP-EN, would drape the entirety of the building's 160 stories in a sheath of lightweight and semitransparent material. This titanic architectural condom would then mirror the surrounding city, providing an utterly new and strange facet to Dubai's skyline. Here's OP-EN's vision for the project:

The proposed support structure is fan-shaped, circling the Burj Khalifa with the main connection point stemming from the tower’s spire. Visitors would not only be able to view the temporary installation from a distance – which would reflect the tower and its surroundings – but also walk up-close and experience the installation first-hand.

The end-result would amplify the visual perspectives of the city’s skyline, augment the tower’s symbol as an urban centre of gravity and create an artistic atmosphere on a vast architectural scale.

There's no indication as to why they would actually want to do this; like the group's other projects ("Pixels of Smell"?), it seems strictly a conceptual experiment. But there is something perversely funny in outfitting the highest building on earth with a pseudo-invisibility cloak. The only ones who might hate it more than the original architects might be the birds that fly into it:

Images by OP-EN via Designboom

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  2. In this image from "No Small Plans," a character makes his way to the intersection of State and Madison Streets in 1928 Chicago.
    Stuff

    Drawing Up an Urban Planning Manual for Chicago Teens

    The graphic novel No Small Plans aims to empower the city’s youth through stories about their neighborhoods.

  3. Plogging combines running with trash picking.
    Life

    Pick Up Trash While You Exercise. It's Called Plogging.

    If the Swedish fitness trend is more than just a fad, it’s a win-win for everyone.

  4. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  5. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.