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Dubai twin towers emulate London gherkin

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DUBAI IS to build two replicas of London's award winning Swiss Re building.

Work on Dubai's two buildings is due to start next year, making them the latest landmark in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DFIC).

Called Park Towers, they will be similar in shape to the 'gherkin' shaped Swiss Re building and will include steel crossbracing and a steel lattice structure dome.

In October the Arup and Foster designed 40-storey Swiss Re building won the 2004 Stirling Prize for Architecture.

The building was commended as 'the capital's first environmentally progressive tall building'.

The Dubai towers copy more of the style of Swiss Re than the structural and environmental content.

London-based architect Gensler is designing the twin 36-storey buildings for developer Damac Properties.

Gensler senior associate Ma-Ry Kim said the visual resemblance to Swiss Re was not complete as the twin towers incorporate curved faces with a flat wall at one end.

But both buildings taper at the top and are capped by a dome.

Kim admitted that the client wanted 'something truly unique' but did also 'allude to Swiss Re' when discussing the design.

'He [the client] gestured that this could be the Swiss Re in Dubai, ' said Kim.

She stressed that the crossbracing in Park Towers would not take any vertical load, unlike the 'diagrid' in the Swiss Re building.

'Here it is just part of the outside skin taking horizontal forces and earthquake loads, ' said Kim.

'We wanted the lattice to be as light as possible, so we are using concrete shear walls and a concrete core to support the floor plate'.

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