MIDWAY:The rotating apartment

It’s the first building that rotates, moves, and changes shape,” says David Fisher, architect of the Dynamic Tower, the latest proposal for a wacky and costly building in downtown Dubai. The 420-metre-high tower is designed to house 80 apartments selling from between GBP2m and GBP20m.

These will turn independently on a central axis,affording residents 360-degree views of the building sites of Dubai. The power to spin the apartments around like some architectural funfair ride will be generated not by the burning of costly Saudi oil, but by wind-driven turbines set between each floor.

Fisher’s computer animation of the tower in action is compelling. “This building never looks the same,”

he claims, “ at least, not once in a lifetime.”There are plans to build a similar structure in Moscow.

Will the Dynamic Tower ever happen? Is Fisher’s animated design all spin and no substance?

With enough money, there’s no reason why it can’t work or why people wouldn’t like it. Whether it will make residents and people looking up at it dizzy is another matter, as is the question of who will look after this mechanical wonder when it falls from fashion and no one can be bothered to keep it turning.

The idea of moving buildings is not new. Who remembers the revolving restaurant, run by the Butlins holiday camp people, at the top of the Post Office (now the BT) tower in central London? This offered diners a view of Peckham (south London) with the prawn cocktail, Romford (east London) with the rump steak and Barnet (north London) with the black forest gateau.

At much the same time, a group of young London architects, Archigram, dreamed up an entire “walking city”; bored by Southend on the Thames estuary, say, residents could press a lever and, before you could say Billy Butlin or Buckminster Fuller, its telescopic legs would carry them off up the coast to Southwold.

Hunger for architectural novelty is growing, so I can imagine the Dynamic Tower going ahead, as long, that is, as the real estate developers don’t get themselves into a twist over practicalities beforehand, and — inshalla — Dubai’s prevailing sandstorms can be held at bay.