Dubai makes for a great holiday, not least for the amazing Dubai attractions that can be experienced on such a trip, but for the incredible sights that can be seen just by travelling through the city. What is obvious the minute you step foot in Dubai is that it is a city built like no other and the architecture is one of the biggest draws to coming to the United Arab Emirates.
Buildings here are not just built for practicality, but to make people stop and marvel at their extravagance and sheer size. From being home to the world’s largest skyscrapers, including the world’s very largest, the Burj Khalifa, to the many other architectural wonders that make up Dubai, the city is not just an architect’s dream, but is a place that will stick in the memory of anyone who visits it.
Here we talk to some of Dubai’s most respected architecture firms and experts in the industry, giving us their view on Dubai’s insane buildings.
As one of the world’s largest architecture websites, e-architect is the source of information and news for architects and architecture students around the globe. One of the key features of the websites is that you can search for architecture information by country, city or by type, meaning that a search for Dubai architecture brings up the most interesting new Dubai buildings and contemporary UAE buildings.
Here, e-architect director Adrian Welch provides us with an exclusive quotation on Dubai’s buildings and what it means to be a new city with grand plans for its future.
“My view of Dubai is that it is a very interesting city, but a city growing up so fast it makes it hard to form meaningful communities and meaningful architectural relationships. Burgeoning cities like Dubai are great for visitors in some senses as there is a palpable energy from the fast pace of change, and from the sheer height of the towers. However ‘Iconotastic cities with bloated signature buildings become devalued, dystopic cities.’ As I argued some years back in this article. New cities can’t be formed simply from many competing buildings, but using masterplans. Cities that grow slowly over time don’t need masterplans as much as time naturally stitches uses together but when the pace is fast you need a plan. Urban realm specialists such as Jan Gehl successfully advise on creating walkable cities, something Dubai could struggle with due to climate and due to wind funnelling from skyscrapers but an aspiration that would be welcome.”
- Adrian Welch, Director, e-architect
Atelier Hapsitus is an architecture, art and design work force established by Nadim Karam in 1996. Having designed such prominent and ambitious Dubai projects as The Cloud, Atelier Hapsitus is a big name in the world of architecture. Here we look at their two most significant projects based in the city.
The Cloud of Dubai
The Cloud is a creative concept that is inspired by the city of Dubai itself. The project is yet to be built but in collaboration with ARUP AGU (Advanced Geometry Unit), significantly creative technological solutions are being developed for its realization, where it is set to stand at around 300 meters tall as a huge floating garden in the sky.
‘The Cloud, the Desert and the Arabian breeze
At the forefront of the few cities today experiencing exponential growth, Dubai is the ultimate city of mutation. Within its constantly-changing scenery and infinite growth-scale, Dubai needs a dream expressing its current transient phase. If cities can dream, does Dubai have a dream?
The Cloud of Dubai is one of a series of Gulf region projects created by Nadim Karam and Atelier Hapsitus. It is inspired by the nomads, whose lives were defined by the rigours of their relation to sun, water and sand, and whose travels followed the borderless movement of clouds. The Cloud is a trip, a playful adventure in the city. It is a horizontal presence on an elevated platform, an antithesis to the sum of skyscrapers spreading over the entire region. The Cloud is a dream, suspended between artificiality and reality.’
Trio of Elephants
In addition to architecture, the company also produces iconic works of sculpture that work with the architecture and space in which there are situated. The Trio of Elephants is one such project that sits in front of the Emirates Towers in Dubai. Dubai hotels are among the most architecturally beautiful and adventurous in the world and the Emirates Towers are no exception and is still considered the most important place in Dubai. This is true despite the Burj Khalifa’s status as the world’s tallest building as, besides the hotel, they also house the offices of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.
OPPENHEIM Architecture + Design
OPPENHEIM Architecture + Design is an architecture, interior design and planning firm that has worked on numerous projects in Dubai, including the stunning Marina and Beach Towers project pictured here. This project involved architecture, master planning and interior design and looks to maximise the quantity of units on the beach to produce a space that is both a landscape and a building, merging the sky and water. The project proposals were recently written about in Archute and described by Brenda Nyawara as ‘Like the other work of Oppenheim it is slick.’
In this interview with Interior Design, Principle/Lead Designer at Oppenheim, Chad Oppenheim said, “Everything we do revolves around a site. The site informs our decisions.” Which couldn’t be more evident than in their Dubai project plans.
Benoy is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning firm of architects, master planners, interior and graphic designers. They are so widely-praised, in fact, that they won the bid to create one of the most iconic and famous attractions in the whole of Dubai – Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. While the indoor theme park boasts over 20 high octane attractions, including the world’s fastest roller coaster Formula Rossa, which reaches speeds in excess of 200 kph(!!), the theme park stands as an impressive feat of architecture on the outside as the world’s largest.
‘Benoy’s vision was to create a building that would reflect the highly recognisable sinuous form of Ferrari, directly inspired by the classic double curve profile of the Ferrari GT chassis.’
See below for a video of Ferrari F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa testing the ride in 2010, with Alonso saying, “Thanks to this attraction, all lovers of speed, like us will be able to experience, for once in their lives at least, the unique sensation of being launched into the air at 240 kilometres per hour, as well as enjoying what is a truly great day for all real Ferrari fans.”
This is just a selection of the amazing architecture that makes up Dubai and while many of the great plans for buildings from architect firms, such as the above, are still in the design stage, it just goes to show what the city inspires. Many great attractions, such as Dubai’s best water park the Wild Wadi Water Park, offer incredible views of Dubai’s architecture as well as a great day out for the whole family. Be sure to admire the impressive Burj Al Arab building that sits just behind of the water park as a part of the Jumeirah area and share your pictures on the Attraction Tickets Direct Facebook and Twitter pages.
Image credits: Atelier Hapsitus, e-architect, Atelier Hapsitus, Oppenheim