In the past three decades, Dubai has grown from a dusty desert town to a strategic hub for international business and tourism. As a result, several cities in the developing world have been competing to outdo one another in the race to replicate this development model—an urbanism largely built around the automobile, luxury villas, gleaming skyscrapers, massive shopping malls, and ambitious “smart” cities, designed and built from scratch. Across Africa, these new developments go by different names: Eko Atlantic City Nigeria, Vision City in Rwanda, Ebene Cyber City in Mauritius; Konza Technology City in Kenya; Safari City in Tanzania; Le Cite du Fleuve in DR Congo, and several others. All are mimicries of Dubai.
Uae: The Latest Architecture and News
Dubai Holding has released details of the latest skyscraper planned for the UAE metropolis, designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill. The Burj Jumeira will soar 550 meters in the air, “inspired by the harmonious ripples of the UAE’s desert sand dunes and its flowing oases.” Inaugurated by the UAE’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on January 31st, 2019, the new tower will be built as part of a vast development known as Downtown Jumeira, “a city of the future distinguished by its intelligent design and cohesive infrastructure and network.”
The tower’s façade is to be covered in digital displays that can be utilized for various occasions and celebrations, with a 450-meter-high sky lounge and sky restaurant complete with interactive surfaces. The tower will also contain multiple observation decks giving visitors 360-degree panoramic views of Dubai, rising from a base designed in the outline of the Sheikh’s fingerprint.
UAE based architects Mouaz Abouzaid, Bassel Omara and Ahmed Hammad have designed a shipping container housing project for Cairo, Egypt. Dubbed ‘Sheltainer’, the project aims to address a need for low-income, student and refugee housing. The design focuses on Egyptian life around a single house unit with all the necessary needs for a small family. Sheltainer aims to offer a flexible solution with new open spaces, activities and homes.
The U.S. Department of State selected the consortium containing Fentress Architects, led by Big Things Group, to deliver a pavilion based on the theme “What Moves You,” featuring highlights of American culture and technology. The team will seek to use the program as “a showcase of the innovation, creativity, and diversity that defines the United States.”
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, towers at 828 meters in the heart of Dubai’s ever-growing urban core. But just a few hours east of the metropolis, a different kind of monument is garnering tourism to the United Arab Emirates: the Al Hajar Mountains. With its peak at 3,008 meters, the mountain range’s natural elegance rivals the country’s architectural achievements. The Biodomes Wildlife Conservation Centre, a project from Baharash Architecture for the UAE’s Eco Resort Group, seeks to celebrate the mountain range through an ecotourism paradigm.
The Dubai-based firm, X-Architects, have found inspiration in the cultural and architectural heritage of Islam for their new design. The Revelation Mosque, a +2500 square meter project, aims to create a new "heart of the neighborhood" in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In creating a generous urban void among a towering context, the proposal offers an immersive escape from everyday life, where the public (regardless of religion) can gather, communicate, and interact with one another.
Foster + Partners has released a video depicting their vision for a future high-speed transportation infrastructure, taking advantage of recent advances in hyperloop technology. Designed for DP World Cargospeed, a collaboration between cargo giant DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One, Foster + Partners’ vision for an infrastructural network seeks to create a new ecosystem where urban centers and rural landscapes are interconnected, as are humans and nature.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) has released details of their plan to create the world’s first commercial Hyperloop system in Abu Dhabi. Situated on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in close proximity to both the Al Maktoum International Airport and World Expo 2020 site, the HyperloopTT will begin with the construction of six miles (ten kilometers) of infrastructure, with future development potentially creating a commercial Hyperloop network across the United Arab Emirates and beyond.
Zaha Hadid Architects has won an international competition for the design of a Central Hub for Aljada, a prominent masterplan for the UAE city of Sharjah. Regarded as the ‘cultural capital of the Arab world', Sharjah will play host to ZHA's unmistakeable brand of fluid, curving, sculpted urban design.
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the UAE Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.
The National Pavilion UAE will present “Lifescapes Beyond Bigness,” an exhibition exploring human-scale architectural landscapes, at the 2018 Venice Biennale. The exhibition aims to highlight the role of architecture and urban design in forming the choreography of people’s daily routines. It particularly investigates the role of ‘quotidian’ (every day) landscapes in accommodating, enhancing, and facilitating social activities across different places in the UAE.
Rising 150 meters from Dubai’s Zabeel Park, the “World’s Largest Picture Frame” has officially opened in the UAE. Known as the Dubai Frame, the structure is the latest in the city’s line of eye-catching megaprojects, offering up panoramic views of the skyline while framing views of iconic buildings such as the Burj Khalifa for visitors and residents all across the city.
Ever wished you had superpowers and could fly through cities like Superman? Now is your chance! Well, kind of. The new XLine Dubai Marina lets you zipline at speeds up to 80 km/hr through the “City of Gold.” An upgrade from its first XLine on the Dubai Fountain, its new sequel is twice the distance, twice the time and, of course, twice the thrill, excitement, and adventure.
With a design inspired by the form of sand dunes and oriented to optimize prevailing winds, the complex is striving for the highest standards of renewable energy and sustainable future targets, an appropriate goal for the new headquarters of the UAE's leading integrated environmental & waste management company.
Inspired by the shape of a flying falcon, the UAE Pavilion covers more than 15,000 square meters and four floors, including a 1,717-square-meter top story hospitality lounge. A 588-square-metre mezzanine will house support functions, with the remaining two floors containing 12,000 square meters will of exhibition space showcasing displays that respond to the Expo theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
MVRDV has teamed up with local architects Dewan Architects + Engineers to create Pixel, a 76,000-square-meter (818,000-square-foot) mixed-use residential development that will serve as a centerpiece of Abu Dhabi’s new Makers District.
Also featuring a landscape and public realm design by BIG, Pixel will become MVRDV’s first constructed project in the United Arab Emirates upon its scheduled completion in 2020.
Earlier this month, Abu Dhabi’s much-awaited “universal museum,” the Louvre Abu Dhabi designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel, was opened to the public. After several years of delays and problems including accusations of worker rights violations, revisions in economic strategies, and regional turmoil, the completion of the museum is a feat in itself. Critics, supporters, naysayers, artists, economists, and human rights agencies, have all closely followed its shaky progress, but now that it’s finally open, reviews of the building are steadily pouring in.
Read on to find out how critics have responded to Nouvel’s work so far.
With its massive, intricate roof and man-made pools and canals, Ateliers Jean Nouvel's astonishingly complex Louvre Abu Dhabi was a project 10-years in the making before finally debuting to the public earlier this month. But even if the project missed it's original completion date, it certainly wasn't for lack of trying – and that's proven in this new video timelapse from EarthCam.
The video captures the 8-year-long construction process from groundbreaking to completion, showing the museum as it came together from a variety of perspectives, including how the roof was assembled in mid-air before being gently lowered into place, and the enormous effort of earth moving to build the unique site.
Check out the video below.
The government of the United Arab Emirates has announced the launch of the Mars Science City project, a $140 Million USD (AED 500 million) research city that will serve as a “viable and realistic model” for the simulation of human occupation of the martian landscape. Designed by a team of Emirati scientists, engineers and designers from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in partnership with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the 1.9 million-square-foot domed structure will become the largest space simulation city ever constructed.