Business Insider Edition

Dubai is constructing a building that looks like a giant iPad and has so much technology it acts like 'Iron Man's armour'

Harrison Jacobs , Business Insider US
 May 17, 2018, 04:56 PM

(Supplied: Archilovers)
  • Hong Kong architect James Law is developing The Pad tower that looks like an iPod and is full of technology that adapts to the environment.
  • Law compares the architecture of the Dubai building to Iron Man's suit of armour in that it enhances the capabilities of those who live in it.
  • Law's approach to modern architecture that takes technology and the environment into design is what he calls "cybertecture."


Hong Kong architect James Law is nearing completing on the construction of a building whose design was inspired by an iPod and is filled with so much technology that he likens it to Iron Man's suit of armour. 

The building, known as The Pad. and once called the iPad Tower, has been under construction in Dubai's Business Bay since 2006. After more than a decade of work, the building is set to open later this year. 

The building is the culmination of Law's architectural approach, which he says aims to fuse technology, software, and architecture to create structures that are more responsive to the needs and desires of people today.

Architecture "used to just be about the concrete, steel, and the glass, and the shape of a building. But now I think we're living in a world where those materials are just the basic materials," Law said. "There are now new materials like technology, smart material, bytes of content, and interactivity."

Law's design for The Pad, which mimics the shape of an iPod tilted in a docking station, won an international competition in which he beat out renowned architects Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster.

The 24-story tower contains 231 "intelligent" apartments that include a virtual reality projection wall that changes locations, a bathroom that analyzes residents' health in real time and displays reports on the mirror, and RFID tags instead of keys for apartments.

"You are selling more than just space," Law said. "You are selling the infinite possibilities of participating with all our technology in that space." 

Law compared the building's ability to augment the lives of its inhabitants to the armour that comic book hero Iron Man wears. 

"In this sense, once you put this armour on, you have extra capabilities and extra possibilities about how you can experience life," Law said. Like the Iron Man armor, he added, the apartments are "able to adapt to the environment."

Here's what life is like inside The Pad: 

The Pad is due to be opened later this year after a decade of work. The building is tilted at a 6.5 degree angle to mimic an iPod in a dock. It is the culmination of Law's "Cybertecture" philosophy to architecture.

The Pad is due to be opened later this year after a decade of work. The building is tilted at a 6.5 degree angle to mimic an iPod in a dock. It is the culmination of Law's Courtesy of James Law Cybertecture


"Some bricks are the old clay bricks and the concrete bricks, and then there are the new bricks, which are technology, the new bricks of new ideas, new strategies, new forms, new models, new typologies," Law said.

Courtesy of Archilovers

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