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. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  2. A Vancouver house designed in a modern style
    POV

    How Cities Get 'Granny Flats' Wrong

    A Vancouver designer says North American cities need bolder policies to realize the potential of accessory dwellings.

  3. A map of California
    Equity

    Mapping Racial Disparities in the Golden State

    Racial gaps in California get a county-by-county look in a new online tool.

  4. An autonomous vehicle drives on a race track in California.
    Equity

    Driverless Cars Won’t Save Us

    In fact, they’ll do the opposite of what techno-optimists hope, and worsen—not ease—inequality.

  5. A scene from Hey Arnold! is pictured.
    Life

    Even Hey Arnold's Neighborhood Is Gentrifying Now

    Series creator Craig Bartlett explains how he built the cartoon city that every ‘90s kid dreamed of living in.