Design + Architecture

Cities of the Future

by Nicola McCormack

Blue Crystal, Dubai

The latest in an ever-growing list of weird and wonderful projects for Dubai, Blue Crystal is a proposal for an iceberg hotel floating in the Persian Gulf. Yes, an iceberg hotel. The plan is to create a five-floor luxury ice lodge—complete with underwater lounge, ballroom, and restaurants—that will bob back and forth past the city. The structure will be transparent, allowing guests clear views of the coast (and inquisitive sailors views of the interiors, we guess), and at night the whole icy structure will be lit in bold colors. But the rather soggy elephant in the room is how they'll stop the iceberg from melting to an ice cube in a destination where temperatures can soar into the triple digits. The German designers, Frank and Sven Sauer, claim that solar cells on the hotel's outer skin, as well as a self-sufficient energy recycling system, will convert Dubai's ever-present sunshine into enough cold air to keep the structure in a frozen state. They're still trying to crack that "intelligent energy system," so what are the odds this will actually get built? Somewhat better than a snowball's chance in hell, we'd venture.

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