How the city's most iconic buildings rose from the sand
Time Out Dubai staff
Burj Al Arab Construction of the Burj Al Arab – Burj translates as ‘tower’ – began in 1994; the 321-metre, 28 double-storey-high building was completed five years later, in December 1999. British architect Tom Wright designed the structure to resemble a sail, aiming to create an iconic landmark that would become as synonymous with Dubai as the Opera House is with Sydney. The cloud of dust in this image (left) shows the Chicago Beach Hotel, built in 1978, being blown up on June 27, 1997. Just 42 days after the old seven-storey hotel closed, about 2,000 detonators set off dynamite to reduce it to 12,000 tonnes of rubble. Wild Wadi now stands in the same area.
DIFC This shot was taken on April 5 2005; the Dubai International Financial Centre was completed in 2009 and cost a reported $436 million (Dhs1.6 billion) to build. The DIFC offices were part of a huge construction drive designed to consolidate the status of our Gulf emirate as a regional business hub. The main ‘gate’ in the centre is inspired by Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, as you may have noticed, and gives its name to the surrounding Gate Village, featuring art galleries, shops and restaurants.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers
This black-and-white shot of
Emirates Towers was taken in 1999 during its construction. The twin buildings of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel and office tower now rise to 309m and 355m respectively, and are joined by the Boulevard shopping mall inside, which features a gaggle of high-end designer boutiques. Fact: the towers appear
to change height and proximity
to each other from every angle.
Try taking photos of the buildings from different perspectives and you’ll see what we mean.
Mall of the Emirates
As we know, Dubai hasn’t only expanded into the sky, but also onto the global mall industry, with more than 50 of the shopping monoliths in the city, with more planned. The city also boasts the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, in Mall of the Emirates, completed in September 2005. This shot was taken in September 2004. Today, the 223,000 sq m mall houses 520 international brands, 83 cafés and restaurants, and welcomed more than 30.8 million visitors in 2009.
Oasis Beach Hotel
In a twist, here is a shot of a building being demolished in
April 2009: the popular 11-storey, 252-room Oasis Beach
Hotel, formerly the only four-star hotel on Jumeirah Beach.
It was knocked down by owners Al Fattan Properties to make way for a new 106-storey hotel, which as yet has not been completed. The former 10-year-old hotel was officially closed on August 29, 2008, with the full demolition taking several weeks to complete. Many felt the existence of a half-destroyed hotel amid the new Jumeirah Beach Residence complex symbolised Dubai’s tendency to rapidly update and modernise itself.