Design: Thom Faulders / Faulders Studio
Design Team: Jason Chang, Charles Lee, Devin Rutz, Scott Blew
suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
thom FAULDERS: GEOtube is a proposal for a new 170 meter tall sculptural tower for the city of Dubai. With an open structure and an exposed membrane skin, the vertical planes of the GEOtube tower are continually misted with local salt water via an external vascular water system. The result is a uniform growth of salt crystals upon its highly visible surfaces. GEOtube provides an identifiable icon for the city, a specialized habitat for wildlife that thrives is this environment, and an accessible skin for the harvesting of crystal salt.
Dubai is situated in one of the most unique natural environments on earth. The world’s highest salinity for oceanic sea waters are found in the adjacent Persian Gulf, as well as the Red Sea. Typical salt content for oceans is 35 parts per thousand. The Persian Gulf is approximately 40 parts per thousand. This is due to high evaporation rates in the region from high temperatures and low fresh water influx.
Dubai’s regional coastal plains, known as sabkahs, are geological formations of salt flats created by the presence of extreme temperature and humidity, combined with high water salinity. The extreme climate variations with thermal contraction at night and expansion during the day leads to polygonal surface cracking.
GEOtube is a new kind of tower. Sprayed with adjacent Persion Gulf waters, its building skin is entirely grown rather than constructed; is in continual formation rather than fully completed; and is created locally rather than imported from afar. As the water evaporates and salt mineral deposits aggregate over time, the tower’s appearance transforms from a transparent veil to a vibrant white vertical plane.
Salt water will be supplied to GEOtube Tower via a new 4.62 km buried pipeline. The incoming water will be distilled on site to increase saline levels and filtered prior to distribution onto the tower surfaces. As the water is lightly sprayed onto the skin mesh, it evaporates with typically warm temperatures and prevailing winds.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
tF: The question: Is it possible to grow architecture?
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
tF: Mark Kurlansky, “Salt: A World History”
Manuel DeLanda, “A Thousand Years of Non-linear History”
Hannah Holmes, “The Secret Life of Dust”
sP: whose work is currently on your radar?
tF: Superstudio mixed with Ray Kurzweil