The design world lost one of the greatest visionaries of the modern age when Zaha Hadid died in 2016. The British-Iraqi architect created gravity-defying curved structures such as China’s Guangzhou Opera House and the London Olympics Aquatics Centre. Dubbed the “Queen of the Curve” for her fluid forms, Hadid won all the biggest awards in her field including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and the Stirling Prize, twice, in 2010 and 2011.
Her unexpected death – of a heart attack while being treated for bronchitis – at 65, came at a time when several of her buildings were still under construction, including the new headquarters for Bee’ah, an environmental management company in Sharjah. Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) won the contract for the project in 2013, with a sand dune design inspired by the desert landscape.
In the UAE, Hadid’s name is synonymous with the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, the massive four-lane highway with waved arches that connects Abu Dhabi island to the mainland. Rising to 60 metres above the water at its highest point, it became one of the most striking landmarks in the region upon its completion in 2010.
Bee’ah’s building, due to be completed in 2019, is a smaller project in scale, but not in aspiration. Bee’ah aims to be a beacon of sustainability in the UAE, setting new standards for environmental solutions.
The company is working to achieve zero waste to landfill and will power its new headquarters using 100 per cent green renewable energy sources. It was these ambitious goals that attracted Hadid to the project.
“The client profile is very important for us,” Tariq Khayyat, ZHA’s Project Director for Bee’ah, tells The National. “It’s a small company with big dreams and big goals. Sharjah is an amazing city, too. It’s not as busy as Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but it has its own niche towards art and culture so we felt it was the right place and the right client.”
Khayyat heads up the firm’s office in Dubai, which opened in November 2016 and serves the whole Mena region. Before moving to the UAE, he spent 11 years working closely with Hadid at the company’s London headquarters.
“Zaha was always fascinated by the landscape. She looked at it as an amazing source of ideas and concepts. The site is literally in the desert in the middle of nowhere and by default, the landscape started provoking ideas. We positioned the building so that it looks as if it is a natural phenomenon by placing it in the direction of the prevailing north wind.
“We also wanted the design to reflect the fluidity and flow of the message that the company, Bee’ah, is trying to deliver. We felt that having this kind of sand dune design is going to be a true reflection, not only of the site, but of the company’s message and goal.”
Bee’ah is one of more than 60 projects ZHA has under construction or in design, in 29 countries across the world. Hadid set up ZHA in 1980, and the firm is busier than ever. But what is missing now their creative director and founder is gone?
“There’s a gap spiritually. We miss Zaha as a person being around us and giving us her input,” says Khayyat. “But one of her main talents was that she was extremely good at investing in people. She believed in giving opportunities to people around her regardless of their age or position within the company. Over the last 35 years, she managed to transfer that way of thinking to the people who have been working with her closely.”
One of the people Hadid invested heavily in was Sara Sheikh Akbari, who joined ZHA in 2007. Having proven her talents as a key member of the gigantic Heydar Aliyev Centre project in Baku, Azerbaijan, she is now a project architect for Bee’ah, working from ZHA’s studio in London’s Clerkenwell.
“From the moment I joined ZHA, I could see it was a free space for people to explore,” she says. “It was all about learning how to collaborate and work as a team to express ideas, refine them and make them better rather than dictate a path. Because the moment you start doing that, innovation and creativity is gone.
“A lot of the clients we work with are visionary, willing to explore and be open to various design languages. You see a lot of visionary clients in the UAE and we hope that Bee’ah will be a milestone for similar projects there.”
Hadid was famed for her temper as well as her brilliance (she once famously demanded to be put on a different flight when she heard she was going to be delayed). But this passion inspired rather than intimidated Akbari, who joined ZHA fresh from her master’s degree.
“She was very demanding. She always wanted the best in everything we did,” she recalls. “But if you just look at the clients and the people we work with, that’s what they expect from you as well. It’s the culture that has been built into this company and the reason some of the most iconic building projects in the world have happened here.”
From speaking to the team at ZHA, it’s clear that commitment to maintaining their mentor’s legacy is strong. “We will always stand by the principles that Zaha fought for,” says Khayyat. “She worked so hard over the last 35 years to establish a new way of thinking regarding architecture. Her strength came from not only the kind of buildings she designed or being called the Queen of the Curve, but by liberating the way architects think and the way the young generation think of architecture.”
Will the company continue to be at the forefront of architectural innovation? Khayyat certainly thinks so.
“Put it this way, I think you will see more curves.”
OYO Hotels launches project for 2020 in the U.A.E.
OYO Hotels unveiled its plans for 2020
The South Asian hospitality chain plans to launch 150 U.A.E. hotels by 2020
The company said it will have ten franchised and operated hotels
DUBAI, U.A.E. – In a bid to expand its footprint across the United Arab Emirates, the South Asian hospitality chain OYO Hotels has decided to open 150 hotels in the country by the year 2020.
As part of its project, OYO aims at launching 12,000 rooms in 150 U.A.E. hotels.
Originally launched in 2013, the company currently operates in over 350 cities around the world and raised $1 billion in funding through SoftBank Investment Advisers last month.
OYO Hotels has more than 12,000 asset partners in countries including India, China, Malaysia, Nepal and the U.K.
Now, the hospitality brand has said that it will open a training facility in the U.A.E., also plans to create over 10,000 jobs in the U.A.E. within the next three years.
The company announced in a statement that it will begin operations in Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah before expanding into the U.A.E.’s other emirates.
The company said it will have ten franchised and operated hotels, with a combined total of 1,100 rooms across the U.A.E.
OYO Hotels founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal said, “With over 170 countries committing to the World Expo 2020, the hospitality sector in the Middle East, and more specifically UAE, is poised to grow substantially and with our market learnings and expertise we are ready to tap this opportunity. We’ve been at the forefront of the budget and mid-segment hotels revolution in the markets we operate in and can bring in our operational expertise and technology edge to the benefit of independent hotel owners.”
In addition, Vartika Goel, OYO’s U.A.E. country leader, said that the country “is an attractive market with sizeable internet and mobile presence, which complements our approach.”
Goel added, “We’ve received an overwhelming response to OYO Hotels offerings in the country since our soft launch and look forward to hosting more guests in the coming years.”
OYO Hotels said that its properties will be operated under franchise models, with full inventory control.
Paul Andreu, famed architect behind Abu Dhabi airport, dies at 80
Paul Andreu, the famed French architect behind Abu Dhabi airport, has died at the age of 80.
Andreu was an expert on airport design and worked on about 40 airports including Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in Paris, Cairo and Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport.
He also completed several major projects in China such as the Grand National Theatre of Beijing. He also designed the French terminal of the Channel Tunnel, the rail link which connects England and France.
CDG opened in 1974 and the circular geometry of the original terminal influenced the design of many airports across the world, including Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi airport opened in 1982, replacing Al Bateen which now operates mainly for private and charter jets.
“Although it is a medium-sized terminal, it has a lot of aircraft, all centered around the satellite, so that planes empty, fill up and then leave as quickly as possible,” was how the project was described by Andreu’s team.
The star of the original terminal is the beautiful curved ceiling at the circular waiting area near the arrival and departure gates. Passengers enter the area through a sloping walkway that slowly reveals the design. The ceiling drops downwards and is covered in lime green and blue tiles that form an Islamic pattern.
Abu Dhabi airport has since been expanded but the original terminal is unlike many across the globe.
Deborah Bentley was Abu Dhabi representative for the Royal Institute of British Architects from 2011 to 2014.
“The architecture of the majority of Abu Dhabi’s transportation buildings have celebrated the experience of travel. The Al Bateen airport building has beautiful elegant tapered arcade of concrete columns,” she said.
“Terminal 1 at the airport by Paul Andreu has a series of unique spaces, from the tented ceiling in the departure check-in area, to the amazing mosaic ceiling at the arrival and departure gates.”
Andreu was born in Gironde, southwest France in 1938. He was a member of the prestigious Academie des Beaux-Arts and was also the recipient of the National Grand Prix in Architecture in 1977.
Despite a stellar career across several decades, Andreu is most associated with CDG airport.
Planes connect with circular buildings, which in turn surround a central circular waiting area and the design reflects a place of exchanges between road and air.
Andreu was also involved with the expansion of the airport since it opened in 1974.
In 2004, several people were killed when one of the terminals collapsed at the airport. Andreu was reportedly very upset by the event and stopped work for a time.
Among the many tributes for Andreu, who died last Thursday, included one from Paris Aeroport, which oversees operations in the French capital’s two airports.
“He designed the terminals millions of passengers are walking through everyday,” it said.
Andreu was also a painter, writer and engineer.
A message posted on his website announcing his death paid tribute to the wide breadth of his work.
“Paul Andreu was a complete artist, who fervently devoted himself to the practice of architecture with the talent that we know, but also, what we know less, to literature and painting,” it said.
luca poian forms proposes vaulted dubai creek harbour mosque
sited in a privileged location on the banks of dubai creek harbour, studio luca poian forms proposes a new iconic mosque. the project envisions an architectural language that is timeless in its materiality and tectonic principles, respectful with the islamic craft and tradition, and innovative with the integration of a new topological approach. located between the emerging development of dubai creek plaza and the lushness of ras al khor sanctuary, the scheme prioritises the need to establish clear contextual relationships to the surrounding city fabric whilst maintaining a respectful attitude towards the adjacent flora and fauna. acting as an urban scale threshold, the programs have a linear organization from east to west that invites visitors to disengage from the sounds of the city and enter the sacred realm of the prayer hall.
images by luca poian forms
luca poian forms had taken the basic organizational and compositional principles of the traditional mosque as a starting point. the scheme consists of two major spaces delineated within the boundaries of a unified perimeter wall: a grand indoor prayer hall and an adjoining exterior forecourt. the relationship between these two spaces establishes a clear axial sequence that takes visitors on a linear procession from the fabric of the city to the stillness of the temple, mediating the threshold between the public and the sacred; the physical and the spiritual.
the design investigates the use of double-curved vaults as a new topological approach in the design of religious structures. present in a variety of building typologies across the middle east, the vault is a tectonic element that takes advantage of basic geometric principles as a means of achieving a highly efficient distribution of forces whilst producing a rich spatial experience. luca poian forms takes this one step further by looking at a type of minimal surface known as the ‘scherk’ surface, generating a self-supported structural system that locally minimizes its area through a network of bridging arches arranged in a modular checkerboard pattern. the design is thus organised as a series of symmetrically disposed double-curved vaults of varying scale — ranging from the monumental proportions of the grand prayer hall to the slender profile of the minarets. the result is a rich and cohesive architectural language that not only enriches the spatial experience of the visitor, but proposes a new paradigm for the design of sacred architecture across the middle east.
The Avenues - Bahrain bags best retail architecture award
The Avenues – Bahrain, the first commercial and leisure mall of its kind in the kingdom with a unique 1.5-km-long waterfront, has won major recognition at the Arabian and African Property Awards 2018-2019 ceremony held in Dubai.
The Arabian and African Property Award is one of the most prominent real-estate competitions in the region, where many real estate developers battle for top honours in various industry categories.
The final results of the award were announced at a ceremony held recently in Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, covering multiple categories including developers, architects, agents and interior designers, said a statement from Mabanee, the owner of The Avenues – Kuwait.
Mabanee had earlier received the Best Leisure Development Award from the Arab chapter of International Property Awards for phase IV of The Avenues. It has also received the Best Retail Development award in 2011, as well as Platinum and Gold Awards by Arab Chapter of International Property Awards for the same year, along with various other awards locally, regionally and internationally.
According to the company, the project is designed with the same style and concept as The Avenues – Kuwait. It is characterised by a fine architectural design that makes the visitors feel the outside atmosphere under a covered roof which allows the sun light to flow inside eliminating the heat, it stated.
The retail hub is also designed in an innovative leisure style that gives the visitors access to a captivating sea front, said the company.
All the winners were selected for The Arabian and African Property Awards after a stringent evaluation process by a panel of more than 70 experts, which took into consideration design, quality, services, innovation, creativity and commitment to sustainable development.
The international competition was established in 1995 and the first Arabian and African Property Awards ceremony was held in 2006 in the UAE.
On the win, Sorouh Company, an associate of Mabanee, said it was a indeed a moment of pride for The Avenues – Bahrain to win top honours at the Arabian and African Property Awards and that too within a year of its launch.
Strategically located at the heart of the capital city, Manama, within the Bahrain Bay project overlooking King Faisal road, The Avenues – Bahrain has become one of the most prominent shopping and touristic destinations in the country.
The project currently includes Grand Avenue and The Harbour districts, which boasts 130 stores for various international and local brands, including retail brands that are being introduced to Bahrain for the first time, as well as restaurants and cafes with a view on the Gulf of Bahrain.
The project also includes a large family entertainment area that encompasses a family entertainment area, ten movie theatres, public parks and jogging tracks.
The company is currently finalising the designs for Phase Two of the project, which will include expansion plans to complete the western part, in addition to Hilton Garden Inn, with 210 hotel rooms, which will be directly connected to the mall.
This will make The Avenues – Bahrain, an ultimate destination for citizens, tourists and businessmen from the Gulf region and other countries. – TradeArabia News Service
UAE-based Indian investor to launch US$200 million mixed-use project
UAE-based Indian investor to launch US$200 million mixed-use project
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: UAE-based Indian investor Ivan Richard Menezes, Director of United Ventures and Investments Limited, today announced the launch of a 300-room hotel and discovery, fitness and history-themed entertainment park at Marjan’s flagship development, Al Marjan Island, at a total development value of US$200 million.
Eng. Abdullah Al Abdooli, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Marjan, said: “The announcement underlines Marjan’s focus on welcoming inward investment to develop freehold property with a focus on mixed-use projects that add considerable value to the economy. At Al Marjan Island, we offer developers a plug-and-play model of purchasing land with development. The mixed-use project will further drive tourism and also catalyse the economy as a leisure attraction for families, sports lovers, and fitness enthusiasts. We are committed to further strengthening the amenities offered in Ras Al Khaimah and in positioning it as a world-class tourism and investment hub.”
Menezes said: “We are thankful to Marjan for the opportunity to launch this ambitious project in their flagship development. Al Marjan Island and Ras Al Khaimah offer a unique experience and great potential for investment in tourism and leisure. Its central location and world-class infrastructure as well as easy connectivity make it an ideal destination for a world-class holiday and entertainment centre for families and tourists alike seeking a holiday that offers them a lot of everything in one location like no other. With our development, we are bringing the region’s largest of its kind attraction in the Middle East offering an experience that will have several innovative feel-good, discovery, fitness, historical and thrill-based offerings that appeal to all from UAE and the world.”
Al Marjan Island is only 15 minutes away from the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and 45 minutes from the Dubai International Airport. Al Marjan Island currently has over 1,600 operational five-star hotel keys, including Rixos Hotels, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Accor Hotels brands, and more than 2,000 residential units including Bab Al Bahar residential and Pacific by Select Group.
Architect firm picked to design US pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
Fentress Architects has been selected to design the United States Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai as a consortium partner with Big Things Group.
The yet-to-be-revealed project builds on Fentress’ experience in the region where the Dancing Sisters mixed-use towers opened in 2012.
Pavilion USA 2020’s winning design plans for the Pavilion were based on the theme “What Moves You” and will feature highlights of American culture and leading technological revolutions in mobility.
Fentress said its design for the US Pavilion will create a “powerful metaphor for the dynamism of American culture and values of ingenuity, progress, and innovation”.
“Working across the US has given Fentress Architects diverse perspective on the attributes and attitudes that Americans share. We will coalesce these characteristics into a single architectural expression at Expo 2020 Dubai, representing the entirety of the US and its design prowess to an international audience,” said Curtis Fentress, principal in charge of design at Fentress Architects.
Working with Colorado-based communications firm Human Design and the consortium’s numerous communications partners throughout the US and UAE, Pavilion USA 2020 will begin an international outreach campaign.
The US Department of State is responsible for US participation in international exhibitions sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).
Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to draw over 25 million visitors from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.
Dubai was selected to host the 2020 World Expo in 2013. The Expo’s overarching theme is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” with sub-themes focusing on Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.
Affordable projects to drive Dubai real estate market, say experts
Affordable housing projects and mid-segment offerings within luxury developments can inject fresh confidence into a sluggish property market, experts said on the final day of the Cityscape Global exhibition in Dubai.
Interest from investors in China, Saudi Arabia and local buyers in Abu Dhabi have kept the mid and lower segment stable, developers said on Thursday.
The projects displayed during the three-day event ranged from luxury communities and hotel developments to low cost projects with easy payment options to cater to a variety of buyers and renters across the country.
“Definitely affordability is the topic of the market. It is something indispensable being taken into consideration more than ever and I think it’s a big driver for the market at the moment,” Mohammed BinGhatti, chief executive and head of architecture at Binghatti Holding told The National.
“It’s a matter of what can you give people that makes them feel they are walking out with something valuable. Something that is stylish that they are not shy to say they own and it is affordable.
“In general, I’m very optimistic. We have not only seen very encouraging footfall this year but also very encouraging sales. The idea is to be flexible.”
It is hoped the “more affordable” housing will reinvigorate the market. A recent report from Asteco showed villa and flat rents dropped by 2-3 per cent in Dubai and sales prices by 4 per cent reflecting a fall in residential prices year-on-year in the third quarter of 2018. Residential sales and rentals also dropped in Abu Dhabi, the report said.
Chinese investors will be a key market with a section of Binghatti’s expansive booth dedicated to China with marketing information available in Chinese.
“We have seen a lot of interest from China, they are definitely a group of people entering the market. We have also seen interest from Saudi and local interest from Abu Dhabi,” Mr BinGhatti said.
Upcoming projects from the company include Binghatti Stars in Silicon Oasis, which will be delivered at the end of the year, and Millennium Binghatti Residences, which have a view of the Dubai Canal will be delivered towards the end of next year.
The Silicon Oasis developments include studios that start from Dh450,000 to Dh650,000 for one bedrooms through to Dh1.1 million for large two bedrooms.
For sales onsite, customers are being offered a reduced booking fee, free interior design, zero commission and onsite bank mortgage approval. The projects also allow buyers to live in an existing an Binghatti development rent free until the handover is complete.
“We cater for the mid-market segment where there are a lot of individuals who earn salaries between Dh10,000 to Dh30,000 and are looking for alternatives that are more affordable than areas like Downtown Dubai,” he said.
Investors from China have also picked up mid-segment units that are part of J One, a luxury twin residential towers in the Burj Khalifa district, said Mohammed Miqdadi, general manager, of the Durar Group.
The development, with 257 flats, is due for delivery at the end of next year.
“This is a luxury project but we kept Tower A with studios, one and two-bedroom for investment. We are seeing a lot of Chinese investors for this. In the past four months, 30 per cent of our stock of Tower A apartments were sold to Chinese purchasers,” he said.
Top UAE developers showcase $10.5bn projects at Cityscape
Out of the 300 companies at Cityscape Global, five local developers have exhibited projects worth a total Dh38.7 billion ($10.5 billion) making up a large portion of the total value of projects onsite.
With the value of many of the announced projects expected to come to light in the coming days, the running tally is projected to grow substantially, said the organisers.
Running until tomorrow (October 4), Cityscape Global has seen developers competing for the attention of first time buyers, seasoned real estate owners and major investors with offers of attractive payment plans, fee waivers and additional bonuses on new and existing projects, they stated.
Taking advantage of the region’s largest gathering of real estate professionals, several developers are announcing projects worth billions of dirhams. These include:
* Nakheel with Dh713-million Dragon Towers, a twin building high-rise apartment complex that offers one and two-bedroom units starting at Dh449,000. With a total development value of Dh713 million, the project will be built at Dubai’s rapidly-expanding Dragon City mixed-use community.
* Aldar Properties with Dh10-billion Alghadeer project, featuring more than 14,000 units, located on the border of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Abu Dhabi developer is offering Cityscape Global visitors who buy homes at Alghadeer a a per cent registration fee waiver and a three-year holiday on service charges, as well as a monthly payment plan enabling customers to buy their home from as little as Dh2,700 per month.
* Sharjah developer Arada with its Dh24-billion Aljada development. Announced on the opening day of Cityscape Global, the Central Hub, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, is the focal point of Arada’s lifestyle destination. The developer is also offering visitors the chance to purchase one of 109 semi-detached villas and townhouses in its nature-themed Sarab Community onsite at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Arada is one of many Sharjah developers joining the freehold movement in the emirate, allowing foreigners to invest their money in the real estate industry, following a change in the law in 2014.
* Binghatti Developers with its Dh1.5 billion portfolio projects, which include the recently announced Millennium Binghatti Residences (Dh400 million) and Binghatti Stars (Dh250 million).
For sales onsite, it is offering a reduced one per cent booking fee, free interior design, zero per cent commission and an onsite mortgage approval from Mashreq Bank. Additionally, it also has an exclusive deal that allows buyers to live in a unit in an existing Binghatti project rent free until handover has been completed.
* Union Properties with its Dh2.5-billion Avenue District. Part of Dubai Motor City’s Phase Two development plans, Avenue District is a mixed-use lifestyle destination announced on the opening day of Cityscape Global.
Valued at Dh2.5 billion, Avenue District will offer over 300 residential units as well as a state-of-the-art 100,000sqft BMW and Mini showroom.
Other major developments and projects launched on the opening day of the show include Marsa Meydan by the Meydan Group, a Newport Beach-style residential and lifestyle community in Jebel Ali featuring a climate-controlled marina and waterfront villas with private pontoons, a first in Dubai.
Meraas’ Port de la Mer was also announced during the first day of the event and is set to be a beach front masterdeveloped project in the heart of Jumeirah.
Located in the Northern Peninsula of La Mer, it will offer a mix of residential suites, four and five-star hotels and a 192-berth superyacht marina.-TradeArabia News Service
Zaha Hadid architects finalizes plans for major leisure and entertainment venue in sharjah
zaha hadid architects (ZHA) has finalized its plans for a major leisure and entertainment development in sharjah, aunited arab emirates city on the arabian gulf. the first phase of the project’s ‘central hub’, which was announced earlier this year, will complete in the first quarter of 2019. according to the architects, the design of the scheme conceptualizes a water droplet striking the earth’s surface — a moment captured in an array of elliptical buildings that are configured to channel cooling winds.
the scheme includes 732,000 square feet of public squares and gardens
image by cosmoscube | main image by VA
ZHA’s design serves as the focal point of ‘aljada’, a $6.5 billion USD development backed by arada, a UAE-based developer. articulated around its large central plaza and public observation tower, the car-free ‘central hub’ will be more than 25 football fields in size (1.9 million square feet). the scheme includes 732,000 square feet of public squares and gardens, which have been designed to be occupied throughout the year — even in summer.
the destination has been designed to be occupied throughout the year
image by VA
the complex’s natural ecosystem, irrigated by recovered and recycled water, is designed to sustain a microclimate at ground level for gardens featuring plant species native to the region, while the central hub’s lighting requirements will be entirely met by smart solar power. work on the project’s first phase — which will include an outdoor cinema space, a food truck village, and skate park — has already begun and is scheduled to wrap up in early 2019, ahead of the central hub’s total completion in 2022.
the project is already under construction
image by cosmoscube
‘aljada’s central hub stands as an example of how conscious design can work with the environment to create a truly unique and inspirational focus for its community,’ says johannes schafelner, project director, zaha hadid architects.‘the central hub is a defining project for sharjah and the UAE, and we have been proud to work closely with arada on bringing this development to life.’
ZHA directors: patrik schumacher, charles walker ZHA project directors: johannes schafelner, tariq khayyat (head of middle east) ZHA project associates: dennis brezina, gerhild orthacker, damiano rizzini ZHA project designer: yifan zhang, nassim eshaghi, evgeniya yatsyuk ZHA technical reviewer: armando solano, stephane vallotton ZHA project team: alessandra lazzoni, valeria mazzilli, marius cernica, john- alan gallerie, sattor jabbor, marianna custodio dos santos, juan montiel, pelayo bustillo macias, erwan gallou, fenji koshy, sebastian andia, dimitris kolonia, lenka petrakova, dennis schiaroli, shajay bhooshan, vishu bhooshan, tommaso casucci, dalia bohsali, tamara salman, naitik trivedi, jawaher almutairi ZHA competition team: ZHA project architect: jakub klaska ZHA project team: tariq khayyat, damiano rizzini, eduardo camarena, juan montiel, jamie edindjiklian, silviya barzakova, valeria mazzilli, nicolas turchi, john alan gallerie
Dubai has made steady construction progress in 2018, and site activity is on track to peak in 2019 for the UAE megaproject. Progress has also been noted on Expo 2020 Dubai’s country pavilions, where each nation participating in the world expo will showcase its achievements and ambitions. Ahead of Q4 2018, Construction Week rounds up the development that has been noted on Expo 2020 Dubai’s various country pavilions.
More than 180 nations are expected to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, which will open its doors on 20 October, 2020. Participating nations that have revealed pavilion designs for Expo 2020 Dubai include Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the UK.
This month, Archdaily reported that Querkraft, a Vienna-based architecture firm, would design Austria’s pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai. According to the report, Querkraft’s design for the Austrian facility would present the country as “a centre of innovation”, and focus on questions about “how resources can be used more thoughtfully and respectfully in the future”.
Nature is also central to the Czech Republic’s Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion, which will focus on the ‘Czech Spring’ concept. According to a statement dated 26 June on Expo 2020 Dubai’s website, the “striking building” comprises “fluid lines that flow around rectangular exhibition spaces”. Doctoral students from Czech Technical University in Prague’s Faculty of Architecture worked with design practice Formosa on the project, which will be located in Expo 2020’s Sustainability Themed District.
“Central to the Czech Republic’s involvement in Expo 2020 will be a demonstration of its innovative Solar Air Water Earth Resource system, which uses solar energy to collect water from air, using a photobioreactor and compost tea,” Expo 2020 Dubai’s statement continues.
“Scientists have successfully used this water to produce an algae that helps grass, herbs and crops grow in desert sand. The Czech scientists aim to use the technology to grow olive and palm trees in the UAE’s desert during the Expo. Given the agricultural challenges in the UAE and the region, this could be a real benefit beyond 2020.
“The pavilion will also feature a Czech restaurant, a massive installation of designer glass, and a rotating exhibition to help attract repeat visitors,” Expo 2020 Dubai’s release adds.
The country pavilions of Luxembourg and New Zealand will also be centred on nature and the environment. Luxembourg, which has pledged to invest $29m (AED108m) in the expo, signed a contract marking its official event participation in October 2017. The theme of its pavilion is ‘Resourceful Luxembourg’, which reflects the country’s status as a smart nation that looks to other nations to connect the human, natural, technical, industrial, and financial resources it needs to shape its future. The spiral-shaped Luxembourg Pavilion – on which ground broke this April – will be located in the Opportunity District of Expo 2020, and include an exhibition space, a multi-purpose area, a restaurant, a shop, administrative offices, and technical facilities.
“Particular emphasis was placed on the criteria of the circular economy and how architecture can work in perfect symbiosis with the exhibition,” Luxembourg at Expo 2020 Dubai says on its website.
“The call for projects procedure was launched on 17 January, 2017 and was closed on 7 April, 2017 following the announcement that a consortium of architects and scenographers had been selected,” the website continues, adding that architecture studio Metaform was ultimately named to implement the project.
Meanwhile, on 10 May, designs of New Zealand’s waka taonga-inspired pavilion were revealed as well. Expo 2020 Dubai said the pavilion “brings to life a Māori tradition of protecting valuable items in intricate containers”, adding: “Visitors to the 2,000m2 pavilion are sure to be awed by the complex design that goes beyond the expected exhibition space to also include a restaurant, design store, and hosting facilities.
“New Zealand will promote its core values of ingenuity, integrity and kaitiakitanga – the Māori term for guardianship, which describes the deep kinship between humans and nature. Consequently, the pavilion will be located within the Sustainability Themed District, reflecting the country’s focus on protecting the planet and its commitment to renewable energy,” Expo 2020 Dubai added.
Science and technology is another feature that is common to some country pavilions planned for Expo 2020 Dubai. For instance, Germany’s scientific and technological achievements will be showcased at its 4,500m² high-tech pavilion, which is set to be among the largest at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Created by Cologne-based Facts and Fiction and Berlin architectural firm Lava, Campus Germany, as the pavilion is referred to, has been designed with separate modules that meet together in the middle of an atrium. Its highlight is an intelligence assistance system called Iamu, which will be showcased for the first time in the world. Iamu will be an “invisible companion to visitors” guiding them through the multi-storey Campus Germany pavilion, which has three labs covering energy, smart cities, and biodiversity, Expo 2020 Dubai said in a statement earlier this month.
Switzerland’s $15.2m pavilion, named Belles Vues, is among the future-focused country pavilions planned for Expo 2020 Dubai. The project, half of which will be funded by third parties, has been designed by designed by Zurich-based architects OOS in collaboration with Bellprat Partner and Lorenz Eugster. Tenders for its general contractor and restaurant operator were due to be launched in summer 2018. In a statement published on 4 December, 2017, House of Switzerland – presented by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs – said that the country is “making a bold architectural statement” with Belles Vues. The Swiss Pavilion will reference the temporary structures of Bedouin tents, and imbibe sustainable construction practices through scaffolding elements and textiles.
“The concept invites visitors to wander: as they pass through the pavilion, they learn more about Switzerland and its responses to the challenges of tomorrow,” the statement continued.
“The global innovations that emanate from Switzerland will also feature prominently. In addition, the pavilion will host a number of temporary exhibitions that turn the spotlight on Swiss innovation and the products and services of private-sector partners.”
Technology – including space travel – is a key focus of the latest pavilion design revealed for Expo 2020 Dubai: the UK Pavilion, to be designed by British artist Es Devlin OBE, draws inspiration from the work of late astrophysicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking. London- and Dubai-based agency, Avantgarde, will produce the pavilion. Devlin and Avantgarde will work with structural engineering firm, Atelier One, and sustainability firm, Atelier Ten, on the project.
At the time of the pavilion’s design reveal, Devlin said in a statement: “The idea draws directly on one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’, a global competition that Hawking and his colleagues conceived in 2015 inviting people worldwide to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet, should we one day encounter other advanced civilisations in space.”
She added that the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai could likely become a hub for global visitors to participate “in a collective global project that showcases British expertise in AI technologies and poetry while transcending national identities”.
While the Netherlands and the US are yet to reveal their pavilion designs, both countries have been actively working on the projects.
Netherlands Enterprise Agency was commissioned by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to oversee the pavilion’s design, build, maintenance, and dismantling work, it was revealed this June. Meanwhile, Big Things Group has been named to work on US Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai under a public-private partnership (PPP) model. Big Things Group will help to facilitate the fundraising, project management, design, construction, operation, disassembly and removal of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, the US Department of State said in the same month.
In a statement to Construction Week, Expo 2020 Dubai explained that the design and construction schedule for each self-built national pavilion “is determined by the participating country” developing the project. As such, it remains to be seen how the remaining Expo 2020 Dubai country pavilions shape up. However, it wouldn’t be unfair to assume that all of Expo 2020 Dubai’s country pavilions – much like the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia’s first world expo – will highlight the technology prowess and environmental awareness needed for tomorrow’s cities.
Ocean-themed restaurant by Alexander & Co and Tribe Studio opens on rooftop of Dubai Opera
A carpet designed to look like the ocean and an octopus-inspired artwork feature inside Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera, a restaurant atop Dubai‘s opera house, designed by Sydney studios Alexander & Co and Tribe Studio.
The ocean-themed restaurant and bar is located on the rooftop of Dubai Opera – a glass-wrapped performing arts centre designed to resemble a local dhow boat with its swooping roof.
Taking advantage of this, the 350-person restaurant features an external courtyard and sky garden, which offers diners impressive views of the city skyline, including the Burj Khalifa.
This garden is used to grow produce for a kitchen run by chef Sean Connolly, who is known for his oceanic Australian- and New Zealand-influenced cuisine.
His involvement provided the inspiration behind the restaurant’s oceanic design, which Alexander & Co describes as an “underwater modernist salon”.
“The bistro explores the colours and tones of the sea, oyster, sea cliff and coastal escarpment,” explained the Sydney-based design interiors studio, which completed the project in partnership with architecture office Tribe Studio.
Although largely open-plan, the venue is carved up into various different areas defined by changes in materials and finishes. Spaces include the Raw and Fire bars, a brasserie, a main bar, a private dining room, a chef’s table and an external bar.
“The project was very ambitious and quite large,” said Alexander & Co. “The design DNA developed from what was initially a coarse-grained Tasman inspiration – rugged, worn and sun bleached.”
“However realities of the many Dubai Opera stakeholders and their own ambitions shaped the restaurant to become more refined, and a bit more delicate.”
The team were influenced by various 20th century buildings with swopping curved lines, such as the wing-shaped concrete roof of New York’s TWA Terminal at JFK airport by Eero Saarinen, and the shell geometries of the Sydney Opera House.
“Each design element within the venue explores ideas of the sea, from the oyster with its combination of smooth sensual surfaces and textured outer surfaces, to the oceanic tones and colours of corals and pearlescent hues,” they explained.
For example, the designers used a combination of matt and gloss tiles on the restaurant’s vaulted ceiling to evoke the sheen of oyster shells, while the grey marble banquettes with pink leather upholstery in the central Pearl Bar are inspired by the delicate contrasts of ocean corals and sea creatures.
The Pearl Bar, which functions as a central cocktail bar, is constructed from grey leather, walnut timber and yellow marble, while the decor of the raw and fire bars is influenced by the outer edges of blackened seashells.
Extreme knitter Jacqui Fink created a custom six-metre-high Merino Wool hanging artwork that references the tentacles of sea creatures. Meanwhile local Sydney artist Tracey Deep, known for her floral installations using found and native flora, created three hanging sculptures based on the ocean.
A dappled blue woollen carpet that recalls ocean waters was custom designed by Alexander & Co, while classic Serge Mouille lighting was custom made in curving white enamel steel and brass finishes to tie in with the references to the curvaceous 20th century buildings.
The spaces are furnished with various pieces of 20th century furniture in green, grey, blue and white tones combined with natural walnut timbers.
“Central to our innovation at Sean Connolly at Dubai opera was an ambition to arrange inexpensive materials in a way that would give them architectural value and a historical reverence,” concluded the team.
“Noting that the local trends within Dubai are recognised for a design tendency to overuse expensive materials to the point of cheapening them, our goal was to utilise where ever possible inexpensive or mass produced materials in a very focused and detailed way so as to almost through alchemy, turn them into something magically beautiful.”
Saudi Arabia’s bold Amaala development will set new standards in luxury holidays
LONDON: Picture the scene: A pristine white beach, crystal-clear waters with a yacht or two bobbing in the middle distance.
The days are filled with exploring a rich landscape filled with natural and archaeological wonders or relaxing in complete tranquility, the evenings spent savoring the finest foods and artistic entertainment, and all set against a backdrop of spectacular scenery.
Where is this paradise on earth? South Africa, perhaps? Or somewhere in the South Seas?
Wrong and wrong. It is in fact somewhere far closer to home. Amaala is the name of what is promised to be the ultimate ultra-luxe tourism destination. It is on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia and, if all goes to plan, in just two years’ time it will begin welcoming guests from all over the world.
In 2019, building is set to begin on turning a stretch of undeveloped coastline in the northwest of Saudi Arabia into the “Riviera of the Middle East.”
Unveiled this week, Amaala is the latest project aimed at creating a fully-fledged tourism industry in Saudi Arabia. Funded initially by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, it is certainly ambitious, promising to cater to all tastes and desires with bespoke holidays. Adventure, culture, history, sports, relaxation, shopping — Amaala will have them all, with a special focus on “wellness, healthy living and meditation,” as well as its own dedicated airport for “seamless” transfers.
“Amaala will awaken the world’s imagination by rephrasing the current concept of the luxury tourism experience,” said Nicholas Naples, the newly appointed CEO, who will lead development and operations. “Our concept will provide a rich service offering that exceeds customers’ expectations by providing a comprehensive suite of services not commonly found in one location, that is unique by all measures.”
More specifically, that means “extraordinary architecture” in both the hotels on site offering 2,500 rooms and the private villas and apartments that will be available for purchase.
Galleries, atelier workshops and an art academy will showcase the work of young artists and artisans from Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. There will be a marina for year-round mooring for yachts and other vessels offering “boutique luxury cruises” and diving trips to coral reefs which, unlike many others in the world, are still undamaged.
And for those who simply want to recharge, there will be a wellness retreat with full medical facilities.
Amaala will also host cultural events and conferences. The top priority throughout will be care for the natural environment.
Amaala is part of Vision 2030, the program of reforms steered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the development will be sited within the nature reserve that bears his name.
The target for all this largesse is “the world’s top” 2.5 million leisure travelers. But will they come?
Absolutely, said former hotelier Gaurav Sinha, founder of the Dubai-based Insignia, a company that advises some of the world’s top brands on marketing.
As well as the wonders of nature and superlative standards of service, Amaala offers something far more appealing: The thrill of discovery and the cachet of being among the first to experience a place that is little-known and even less understood.
“This is for what I call ‘culture purists’ — people with an element of the intrepid traveler,” said Sinha. “You have a world heritage
archaeological site on the doorstep in Al-Ula, lovely weather, protected nature — this is the new Shangri La.
“It will also appeal to the intelligentsia — people who are looking to enrich their life experience.”
April Hutchinson, luxury specialist at Travel Trade Gazette, said that tourists in search of the unusual would be drawn to Saudi Arabia.
“A couple of companies have already started looking at Saudi Arabia as somewhere that appeals to those with more refined tastes. It’s the lure of the unknown. In marketing terms, does it offer something different in the region and worldwide? In that respect, it ticks a lot of boxes,” she said. “It’s not Dubai and it doesn’t want
While initial funding for Amaala will come from the PIF, there will be opportunities for private investment later and much will depend on which companies are brought in, said Sinha.
“The right brands have to be brought in to operate the assets,” he said. “Positioning the luxury is actually less relevant. What the right name gives is a sense of assurance. The sort of traveler this is aimed at expects a certain standard of service.”
Tourism development expert John Podaras, of Hotel Development Resources, has explored Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea region and pronounces it “stunningly beautiful.”
“The sort of traveler who will come will be well-off but they are not bothered about being pampered. They expect very good service but what they’re after is an authentic experience,” he said.
With that in mind, how far will Saudi Arabia have to go in reconciling its own codes of behavior with the more laissez-faire attitudes of the West?
“Do you expect visitors to change their behavior or do you create a city within a city, ring-fenced within a wall with its own laws and its own little culture to keep visitors apart from the rest of the country? And if you do that, it is hardly giving them the authentic experience,” Podaras said. He predicts “a significant change” in legislation will be necessary.
However, it would be wrong to assume all potential tourists are coming from Europe or the US.
“Millions of people come to Saudi Arabia every year from Indonesia and other Muslim countries for Hajj. They would love to explore more of the country after the pilgrimage,” said Sinha.
Podaras said that the success of online operators such as halalbooking.com shows that Muslims living in the West are a growing sector of the market. “They might be second or third generation migrants to Western Europe and they want things that make them feel more comfortable, like women-only beaches and alcohol-free hotels,” he said.
Hutchinson believes Amaala is likely to make allowances for non-Muslim visitors. “So many people from the Middle East have been exposed to European
ways through travel so I think they are more used to us,” she said.
However, the experts agreed that Saudi Arabia cannot make any meaningful progress unless it becomes easier — much easier — for visitors to enter the country. Some changes are already on the way; from December, foreigners attending some sporting and cultural
events in the Kingdom will automatically get an electronic visa with their ticket. But whether that will extend to holiday bookings is not clear.
What is clear, however, is that the tourists — and especially those of the caliber that will be drawn to Amaala — are keen on sustainability.
“They want to be sure that everything is being done in a sustainable way. They don’t want to feel they are contributing to damage to the environment. They want to be sure it’s protected and that there is some benefit to the local community,” said Hutchinson. “Saudi Arabia is building from a blank slate which is a great opportunity.”
“There is a certain spirit of audaciousness in this project,” said Sinha. “It’s a beautiful new frontier which requires a tremendous amount of optimism and progressive thinking. The Riviera is not just for Europe.”
Saudi Arabia announces project to build 'global' tourism destination
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced on Wednesday plans to turn a section of its northwestern coast into a magnet for international tourists, part of a broader push to diversify the economy away from oil.
“The new destination is a natural extension of the Mediterranean Sea, and dubbed the Riviera of the Middle East,” said the Saudi sovereign wealth fund in an emailed statement, detailing the tourism project called Amaala.
Amaala, alongside the previously announced NEOM, a 26,500 square kilometre (10,230 square mile) business zone under development in the northwest of the kingdom, is part of the giga-projects investment portfolio of PIF, the statement said.
It did not reveal the size of the investment or any time frame but said: “As the project progresses, attractive partnership and investment packages will be available for the private sector.”
Hotels, villas, retail, marinas
Amaala will feature hotels, private villas, retail and an academy of the arts, marinas and a yacht club, it said.
The statement named Nicholas Naples as chief executive officer of the new development for which initial funding will be provided by PIF.
“Amaala represents a unique and transformational luxury experience,” Naples said in the statement, adding that it would include cultural, artistic, fashion and sports facilities “individually tailored for the ultra-luxury lifestyle”.
Projects like NEOM and Amaala are part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030, an effort to diversify the economy and wean the world’s top crude exporter off oil revenues.
SSH, a leading masterplanning, infrastructure, building design and construction supervision firm in the region, said it has been signed up by leading UAE developer Emaar to carry out full architecture services on its prestigious Grande Tower coming up at Dubai’s Opera District.
The luxury residential tower will be located in the radiant centre of culture and arts in Emaar’s flagship development – Downtown Dubai, neighbouring the Dubai Opera and standing opposite Burj Park and lake, said a statement from SSH.
The project comprises a promenade level below a 78-storey tower accommodating retail, amenities and 866 spacious luxury apartments, including a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units with large penthouses situated below the crown, it added.
On the win, Michael Byron, the UAE resident director said: “SSH is extremely honoured to once again be working alongside Emaar in delivering a project that will exemplify a luxurious setting for contemporary living and offer premium experiences for residents and guests alike.”
The design’s curved footprint embraces the fountain lake and mimics the organic sweeping lines of the existing landscape. A balanced rhythm of undulating piers and slim vertical fins accentuates the elegance and verticality of the tower up to its delicate crown.
Byron said the tower will be a significant addition to the Downtown Dubai skyline and will become a contributing and symbolic landmark in the development of the Opera District.
“While residents will be gifted panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf and surrounding landscape, the podium of the tower makes the most of its proximity to the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa. Pedestrians strolling along the Fountain Lake will have direct access to retail units that will line the podium’s base at promenade level,” he noted.
“The podium’s upper level is to include a swimming pool and expansive deck orientated, along with the tower itself, to benefit from spectacular Dubai Fountain views.” explained Byron.
“A large expanse of amenity space will allow for exceptional facilities within the tower, while the basement will provide ample residential and visitor parking,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service
Meraas announces first residential project at La Mer
Meraas has revealed details of the first residential neighbourhood to be launched at La Mer.
Port de La Mer will include freehold apartments as well as a 192-berth superyacht marina located at the tip of the North Peninsula. There will a collection of boutiques and restaurants, set in bustling piazzas as well as some four- and five-star hotels and a private beach.
La Mer is a beachfront destination with a mix of shopping, dining, leisure, entertainment, hospitality and residential options.
Work is already underway on the first properties at Port de La Mer in an area called La Côte, comprising around 400 apartments and a two-storey penthouse in a collection of five low-rise buildings.
The residences will combine modern architecture and interior design with a range of world-class amenities, including several large swimming pools, gyms, a private beach and a marina.
Building podiums and bridges will allow residents to move freely through open spaces. La Côte is set for completion in Q4 2020
Azizi launches third Dubai Healthcare City project
Union Coop to build $25.7mn commercial centre in Silicon Oasis
Union Coop has signed an agreement with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) to build a commercial centre. The project will be built in Dubai Silicon Oasis at a cost of $25.7 million and will host a 5,620sqm Union Coop hypermarket on its first floor.
The commercial centre will also feature a basement designated for car parking, and a ground floor that will accommodate shops and 250 parking spaces.
Dr Juma Al Matrooshi, deputy CEO for operations and client affairs at DSOA signed the contract with Khalid Humaid bin Diban Al Falasi, CEO of Union Coop, in the presence of Madiya Al Marri, director of the properties and projects division, and Mohammed Al Marri, director of the business development section at the properties and projects division at Union Coop.
“In line with its efforts to develop an integrated community, the DSOA is keen on attracting investment opportunities that contribute to the diversification of services available to its residents. The new Union Coop commercial centre will be a quality addition to the retail offering at the DSO,” said Dr Al Matrooshi.
Al Falasi added that Union Coop is keen on investment opportunities, which allows it to supply the community with a wide range of products at competitive prices, while maximising shareholder returns in the long run.
“We have signed a renewable 30-year investment contract to open a 13,154sqm commercial centre that will meet the needs of the residents of the DSO and the neighbouring areas. We have purchased land from the DSOA at a total cost of $1.37m within the framework of our community contributions,” Al Falasi explained.
Creek Marina: Dubai's plan for city-harbour getaway
Dubai Creek Harbour has unveiled Creek Marina, a city-harbour getaway in the heart of Creek Island Dubai, the residential and leisure district of the six sq km mega-development.
The waterfront destination will be home to residences, sweeping landscaped parkland, gourmet restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues, a statement said.
It added that Creek Marina is set to open in December, as preparations are ongoing to welcome the first residents in Dubai Creek Harbour in early 2019.
Creek Marina will also be home to the Vida Harbour Point, a 286-room upscale lifestyle hotel similar to harbour hotels in cities such as Singapore and Shanghai, and is scheduled to open in 2019.
With its oyster design, a throwback to the city’s rich pearling history, Creek Marina will have a capacity of over 81 single- and double-berths and will feature a dedicated world-class yacht club with an array of shopping and dining outlets.
Facilities such as fuelling services, upgraded power outlets and pedestal units will ensure smooth sailing for all throughout the year, the statement said.
Creek Marina will also offer a selection of high-end retail, dining and leisure venues with a promenade featuring trendy cafes, restaurants, fashion outlets and street-food vendors.
An interactive fountain and world-class art installations as well as over 1,500 parking spaces will also be included.
Dubai's Heart of Europe project reveals Swedish beach palaces
Dubai’s Heart of Europe project reveals Swedish beach palaces.
Kleindienst Group, developer of The Heart of Europe, a cluster of six islands on Dubai’s The World, on Monday unveiled the first Sweden Beach Palace at Sweden Island.
A tour was led by Josef Kleindienst, chairman of Kleindienst Group, who showcased the ultra-luxury property as part of the project to pioneer the freehold second home market in the UAE.
The Sweden Beach Palaces will consist of nine luxurious palaces, plus one super-sized version, set on Sweden Island. Each property will have its own private section of beach and a fully-owned piece of the marine area plot, including a private coral reef.
The properties have been designed as second homes – Dubai’s first purpose-built luxury area for UAE residents to own a holiday property in their own country, instead of jetting to the Maldives, Mauritius or the Seychelles, the developer said in a statement.
Kleindienst said: “Catering to residents and visitors who are looking for a dynamic, cultural experience, our developments at The Heart of Europe will boost tourism in the UAE. It will also offer investors the opportunity to choose from a range of high quality holiday properties that will be part of a vibrant touristic destination that includes hotels, restaurants and world-class attractions.
“Our journey to date has taken us to the unveiling of the Sweden Beach Palaces, one of the most luxurious freehold second homes in the UAE. Our vision is now turning into reality as we make real progress towards completing our project.”
The first Sweden Beach Palace features seven bedrooms, each with its own en-suite bathroom. Five of the palaces will be fitted out with Bentley Home interiors, while the remaining properties will be bespoke to the individual owners.
Each property will incorporate a full gym and fitness centre plus a temperature-controlled sauna, massage and spa room.
There will also be an entire floor dedicated for guests while stretching out from the terrace will be an infinity pool, with separate plunge pool and outdoor jacuzzi.
Kleindienst said the pièce de résistance is a 570 sq m roof floor, with 360-degree views of The Heart of Europe and coast of Dubai. The roof itself has been designed to mimic the upturned hull of a Viking boat, harking back to the roots of Sweden and its heritage.
Damac awards $139m contract for flagship Dubai project
Damac awards $139m contract for flagship Dubai project
China State Construction Engineering Corporation wins contract from Damac Properties to build tower C of Aykon City project
Damac Properties has awarded an AED512 million ($139 million) construction contract to China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to build tower C of Aykon City, Damac’s luxury mixed-use development on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.
The new contract covers civil construction works for tower C, the residential tower in the $2 billion development, which overlooks the Dubai Water Canal.
“CSCEC shares our commitment to quality, safety and timely delivery. After a thorough tendering process, we have chosen to expand CSCEC’s remit in the Aykon City project beyond AED1.1 billion, having awarded them the contract to build tower B earlier this year,” said Ali Sajwani, general manager of operations at Damac.
“We also look forward to seeing the towers of AYKON City complement Dubai’s distinctive skyline and one of the world’s greatest urban transformations, the Dubai Water Canal.”
Tower C, known as The Residence, will have a total built up area of nearly 1.8 million square feet. It will feature studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments and will also boast The Club, an exclusive residents-only lifestyle and entertainment space.
The 62-floor tower is made up of two basement, a ground and ten podium levels, in addition to a dedicated lifestyle and entertainment level, 48 residential floors and a rooftop.
Aykon City includes premium residential, hospitality and commercial units and will have access to the 3.2km long waterway of the Dubai Water Canal, which runs all the way to the Arabian Gulf, from the Creek in Old Dubai.
Chinese builder wins $351m deal for Emaar project in Dubai
Chinese builder wins $351m deal for Emaar project in Dubai
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East to work on Emaar’s Downtown View II project.
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME) has been awarded a $351.2 million contract by Emaar Development.
The Chinese state-owned contractor has “obtained a letter of award” to work on Emaar’s Downtown View II project in Dubai, Construction Week Online reported on Thursday.
Its scope under the contract includes the construction of three high-rise residential towers with 1,509 units, a partial basement level, four floors of podium parking, a ground-floor retail unit and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing rooms, it reported.
Tower 1 will be 258 metres high and have 67 floors above ground while Tower 2 will have 62 floors and Tower 3 will have 55 floors.
Piling and excavation work was completed during the second quarter of the year. Construction of the development is scheduled to complete by the end of 2020, according to Emaar’s website.
Construction Week said it has reached out to both CSCEC ME and representatives from Emaar for comment on the contract award.
Emaar’s Downtown View II, which overlooks the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, is a three-tower development featuring apartments that feature up to four bedrooms.
Its amenities include a temperature-controlled swimming pool, outdoor barbecue areas, a multi-purpose sports hall, a gym, and social rooms.
Last week, Dubai developer Damac awarded the Chinese contractor a $139 million construction contract for the six-tower Aykon City project that is also under way in Downtown Dubai.
The company will build Tower C, one of the residential tower contained within Damac’s $2 billion mixed-use development, situated off Sheikh Zayed Road.
Construction 'proceeding at pace' on Uptown Dubai mega project
DMCC, the Dubai free zone for trade and enterprise, has announced that construction of its Uptown Dubai mega project is proceeding at pace with the completion of piling and raft works for the first super tall tower.
A statement said the last few months have seen more than 150 piles installed for the tower with another 140 put in place to support the first phase of a podium, which features a two-level central plaza, including F&B outlets, retail spaces and entertainment zones.
The raft foundation – comprising 2,500 tonnes of steel and over 12,000 cubic metres of concrete – was poured over a continuous 46-hour operation, the statement added.
Paul Ashton, executive director – Property, DMCC, said: “Completing the foundation is a key milestone for the supertall tower and the start of a very exciting journey. As the construction process rapidly moves forward, we will be announcing Uptown Dubai’s main contractor later this year.”
Earlier this year, DMCC appointed Rockwell Group, a New York based firm, as the interior designer for the supertall tower which will comprise luxury hotel rooms and suites, high-end restaurants, health spas, extensive conference facilities, grade A offices, and 237 branded residences.
Uptown Dubai will be anchored by two super-tall towers designed by Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill from Chicago.
The district’s main podium, 28 metres above ground, features a two-level central plaza that will be larger than New York Times Square, circled by shops and connected to a retail mall below, all with direct access to the towers.
Uptown Dubai is located close to DMCC’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers, a community of over 92,500 people, as well as major commercial projects in Dubai’s Southern belt such as Expo 2020 and Al Maktoum International Airport.
14,000 homes added to Dubai's property market so far in 2018
Dubai Land Department says that 47 new real estate projects have been completed in the emirate in the first eight months of 2018
Dubai Land Department (DLD) has revealed that 47 new real estate projects have been completed in the emirate in the first eight months of 2018.
The completed projects added 14,000 properties to the Dubai market including 10,000 apartments, 364 residential complexes, 2,258 townhouses, and 1,575 villas, according to Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director-general of DLD.
He said in comment published by state news agency WAM that the results of the Dubai real estate market during the first eight months of 2018 are encouraging, adding that it continues to “attract additional investors who have invested heavily”.
He said: “The success of delivery of the 47 completed projects reflect the interest and commitment of developers who are working with the highest levels of integrity and transparency with investors. At the DLD, we seek to consolidate these values in our real estate market and observe that these projects are characterised by their diversity that help meets the demand for different types of units and avoid excess supply in any category.”
During the reporting period, 1,000 investors received their properties through 900 transactions, with a total value of over AED12 billion, DLD noted.
Bin Mejren said he believes that Dubai can maintain this positive momentum in the run-up to Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Investors agree on a number of different interests and trends related to the Dubai real estate sector. The attractiveness of the market is based on a number of unique factors, especially the high guaranteed returns, the continuous rise in property values year after year, and the emirate’s ideal environment for living, working, and visiting, making it a high-level investment option,” he added.
Majid Al Futtaim aims to grow real estate arm to match its malls
MAF Communities CEO reveals mall giant’s mega-development plans
Majid Al Futtaim plans to grow its real estate division to rival its malls and hospitality divisions in terms of revenue and profit.
Hawazen Esber, CEO of MAF Communities told Arabian Business: “We are very established in terms of shopping malls and retail, so now we want to grow our communities business to be eventually as big as the other businesses. We’re happy to be a boutique developer, but with the biggest impact possible.”
Majid Al Futtaim Communities division has four major projects underway in Dubai, Muscat, Sharjah and Beirut, including the $3.8bn Tilal Al Ghaf mixed-use development in Dubai.
In an exclusive interview, Esber said Majid al Futtaim is leveraging all the tools it has developed in retail and hospitality to meet the evolving demands of its real estate customers.
“We want to bring this sector to a more human scale. In the shopping mall business there was a competition to get bigger and bigger. We want to go smaller and really understand what people want, rather than what developers want to do for them,” Esber said.
Majid Al Futtaim Properties, which includes shopping malls, hotels and communities, reported a revenues of AED2.3bn in the first six months of 2018 (an increase of one percent), primarily driven by its shopping malls business.
Revenue in its retail division still leads the way. It generated 15 percent revenue growth at AED14.6bn.
Esber said MAF Communities aims to be different to other established large scale developers.
“The region has been suffering from very big projects that require a cookie-cutter approach, and that’s why they all look the same,” he said.
“We want to build integrated communities with all the activities that you are looking for in a city. This is where we can really shine. At Majid Al Futtaim we have the DNA and the experience to be able to bring these components – be they cultural, physical or leisure activities – together. This is the space that we want to be in.”
Tilal Al Ghaf, 100 percent owned by MAF Communities, is located at the intersection of Hessa Street and Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street, near Dubai Sports City. The mixed-use 355,000 sq-m project will take over ten years to finish.
The project will feature a series of interconnected green parks with 11km of cycling and walking trails and 18km pedestrian trail. The centrepiece is a 70,000 sq-m Crystal Lagoon that Esber says requires a quarter of the water that a golf course would need, and will have water so clean it could be drinkable, allowing it to be used for swimming and water sports.
Of the 6,500 freehold homes at Tilal al Ghaf, prices will range from under AED1m for studio apartments, through to AED16m for the waterside villas – some of which have already been sold already.
Infrastructure and land-forming work has been concluded, with a show village and “some community amenities” slated for completion this year.
Majid Al Futtaim also has a ventures division – a diverse portfolio of cinemas, leisure and entertainment, fashion, consumer finance, food and beverage and facility and energy management. It revenes increased by 13 percent to AED1.1 billion – or AED 1.5 billion including joint ventures and associates.
Growth in the hotels sector in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) shows little sign of abating – or even taking a breath – according to a latest research revealed by Lodging Econometrics. Analysts at the global real estate consultancy found continued construction growth in the region has resulted in 875 projects or 216,045 rooms under way at the moment.
The Middle East’s pipeline makes up the lion’s share of this figure with 594 projects or 170,490 rooms – the latter being a 23% year-on-year increase. Even more impressively, this figure represents the 16th consecutive quarter of pipeline growth seen in the Middle East.
The two largest economies in the region, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, lead the way in the region’s hotel construction story. At least 80 hotels are expected to be built in the countries’ major cities, with more than 27,000 units set to open in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, and Al Khobar this year alone, according to a report by Top Hotel Projects. This expansion is largely indicative of Saudi’s plans to boost its tourism numbers and, more generally part of a wider vision to diversify its economy away from petrodollars and onto a more long-term and sustainable growth path.
Hilton is expected to be one of the busiest operators in Saudi, opening three hotels – one each in the Jabal Omar development, Riyadh, and Al Khobar.
Hotel operator Rotana is set to open 14 hotels across MENA by end of 2018 and is looking to break into new markets such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Tanzania in 2018, as part of an ongoing drive to deepen its presence across the region. Accor Hotels has also had a busy start to the year, signing nine hotels off the back of the 30 it signed in 2017, including seven takeover agreements, which added 8,700 rooms to the group’s regional portfolio.
In terms of the luxury aspect of the market, new data has shown Dubai and UAE markets account for a combined 61% of the region’s current five-star pipeline.
“A five-star hotel previously differentiated itself by its spa, its food and drink offerings, or its luxury toiletries,” says Dean McGrail, director of property and buildings at professional services consultancy WSP. “Now, the design of the hotel is just as important as the 1,000-count bedsheets – think infinity pools perched more than 300m high, cantilevered restaurants and hanging bedroom suites, multi-level swimming pools, and internal waterfalls.”
This month, Dubai-based Al Habtoor Group announced a franchise agreement with global hotel operator Hilton. Under the deal, three of its hotels in Dubai’s Al Habtoor City will be rebranded to align with Hilton’s various collections – a move that certainly cements the hotel operator’s position of strength within the emirate.
June this year also saw Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties pick hotelier heavyweight Marriot International to manage a new Yas Island hotel that will become the emirate’s first W Hotels-branded destination. Contributing to its 11 unit-strong portfolio, the project marks Aldar’s 13th property in the UAE capital.
Dubai’s Damac Properties also inked a new agreement in August with Radisson to open the Middle East’s first Radisson-branded luxury hotels in Dubailand’s Damac Hills. The market is certainly heating up, and McGrail believes the hospitality sector in the region is becoming more competitive, with hoteliers “constantly looking for something that will give them an advantage over their competitors: “It is essential that our designs and the advice we give to our clients help to future-proof their establishments and consider the future use of each facility.
“This need for agile space and designs that consider future needs is coupled with a need for hotels to remain cost- efficient, and consequently use the latest technologies to manage building services effectively and optimise utility usage,” he tells Construction Week.
The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) officially opens
he Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation has opened officially opened its doors for its inaugural academic year, based in Dubai Design District.
The university is the first multi-disciplinary design university of its kind in the Middle East, hosting students both regionally and internationally.
President of DIDI, Mohammad Abdullah commented: “Everyone at DIDI has been waiting for this moment. It is our great pleasure to welcome the talented and eager first year students of DIDI as we make history by officially opening the doors of the first multi-disciplinary design school in the region.”
With a total financial investment of AED 270 million, the institute is a direct response to the growing design needs of the regional market which are outlined in the MENA Design Education Outlook report released earlier this year by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC).
Currently the university is hosting students at a temporary space in d3, however its location will be re-established once the Foster + Partners-designed building is completed – part of Phase II of d3’s overall masterplan.
“Design has to become a part of concepts from the very beginning, as opposed to modifying them later to make them look nice. We’re training designers for jobs that don’t exist yet, for the new world,” said Brown, adding that students at DIDI will be learning to work across industries to cater to the future of design and the world as a whole.
DLD: Dubai real estate attracts 1,000 investors worth AED12bn
Dubai Land Department (DLD) revealed that the results of the Dubai real estate market during the first eight months of 2018 are encouraging, especially in light of the timely completion of projects.
One of the signs of the real estate market’s attractiveness is its continued ability to attract additional investors who have invested heavily, contributing to sustainable growth.
In DLD’s latest report covering the period from the beginning of 2018 to August 31, HE Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director general of DLD, said: “47 projects were introduced into the market after they were completed based on their set timelines. The completed projects added 14,000 different properties to the market: 10,000 apartments, 364 residential complexes, 2,258 townhouses, and 1,575 villas.
“The success of delivery of the 47 completed projects reflects the interest and commitment of developers who are working with the highest levels of integrity and transparency with investors. At DLD, we seek to consolidate these values in our real estate market, and observe that these projects are characterised by their diversity that help meet the demand for different types of units and avoid excess supply in any category.”
During the reporting period, 1,000 investors received their properties through 900 transactions, with a total value of over AED12bn. These substantial figures demonstrate Dubai’s superiority, its distinctive position as a preferred international investment destination, and its ability to enter into a profitable competition with others through its unique features.
Bin Mejren believes that Dubai can maintain this positive momentum which showcases its features, especially with the availability of promising investment opportunities, leading up to Expo 2020 and the years that follow. “Investors agree on a number of different interests and trends related to the Dubai real estate sector. The attractiveness of the market is based on a number of unique factors, especially the high guaranteed returns, the continuous rise in property values year after year, and the Emirate’s ideal environment for living, working, and visiting, making it a high-level investment option.
“The attractiveness of our real estate sector is not driven by quality projects that offer options to the investor, but from the work values produced by different parties, and the commitment of developers to deliver their projects on time, with integrated infrastructure and intelligent development of all procedures which results in customer satisfaction and happiness. Finally, the existence of legal and established procedures ensures the rights of all real estate parties.”
Graft reveals design proposal for German Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
The pavilion is designed under the theme ‘Sustainability’, which is one out of three theme – also including Opportunity and Mobility.
Designed using an orthogonal structure, it houses the idea of ‘knowledge’ at its centre where a network of exhibition junctions are housed. This allows for the pavilion to act as a decentralised, non-hierarchical network, allowing free movement for visitors.
Through these ‘exhibition junctions’, the pavilion encapsulates “a symbiosis of German flagships, such as efficiency, technology, science and natural environment, and displays them in a coherent overall concept”.
Using an interactive and participative concept, the architects have enabled the exhibition to be visible to visitors from every vantage point of the pavilion.
The visitors themselves stream-walk through the subject areas and create a flow and exchange of information, which is visualised by the architecture and the transparency of the structure,” the architects explain.
“One spacious, central room in the heart of the pavilion forms the emotional antithesis to the rational knowledge resource. In this variable space, which connects itself with the rational, factual knowledge resource through the element of the “interface”, the design creates its moment of tension,” they add.
The pavilion can also be completely restructured and composed into a different configuration to allow for changing requirements of exhibition spaces.
Due to their construction and combination principles, all components and materials of the pavilion can be easily dismantled and separated into individual material-groups to allow for optimal recycling.
The answer to overcrowded cities? Raffles City Project
The answer to overcrowded cities? Raffles City Project
A 42nd-floor ‘skybridge’ in the dazzling Raffles City project could help solve overcrowding — or will it simply let the super-rich escape to the skies?
An army of 6,000 construction workers is hard at work at a large site overlooking the conflux of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in the south-western Chinese megacity of Chongqing. Eight skyscrapers are rising from the river banks: two above 350m and six above 250m.
Raffles City Chongqing, a project headed by architect Moshe Safdie, will boast 134,000 square metres of homes, shops, offices, entertainment, transportation links and a public park. It also features a more unusual claim to fame: a “horizontal skyscraper” 300m in length, stretching across four of the main towers at the 42nd floor. With the building situated in an earthquake zone, it “floats” on top of the towers to create the necessary sway.
No landmark development in China is complete without a world record, and Raffles City Chongqing has the highest skybridge linking the most towers. With an adjacent pair of towers connected by smaller skybridges, workers and residents can move around the eight-tower development without needing to return to ground level.
“It’s going to become like the heartbeat of the city,” says Safdie of what he describes as his most complex project to date. “In these dense cities like Chongqing there’s no room for big public parks [on the ground], so we have to lift them into the sky.”
Chongqing is certainly dense. Outside the building site, the streets are crowded with markets and wholesalers, hawkers and food stalls. Construction workers huddle over bowls of spicy noodles, vendors carry heaving baskets of fruit on their shoulders and shoppers barter over prices.
Safdie says the development reflects a growing trend in urban planning: having developed vertically, skyscraper cities are starting to spread horizontally.
“I see a period in which zoning changes to being more three-dimensional,” he says. “Rather than just thinking of land as two-dimensional, zoning will start requiring people to connect between one property and another — first at ground level, then above ground.”
There have been other seeds of experimentation. Minneapolis is home to the world’s most extensive skyway system — and in Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Bangkok skywalks are publicly run facilities, connecting buildings, stations and walkways. These often run only a few floors above the ground — but as towers become taller, skywalks are ascending with them.
Beijing’s Linked Hybrid complex is a series of towers connected by a series of skybridges between the 12th and 18th floors. Singapore’s Pinnacle@Duxton is a large public housing project with seven 51-storey apartment blocks connected by skybridges and skyparks, and the Velo Tower in Seoul has two skyscrapers joined by a 30-storey-high skybridge.
“The idea of requiring connectivity could be extended — you could even zone off a public street at the 25th level, and anything that reaches 25 floors up would have to accommodate that,” adds Safdie. “You’d have all these opportunities to do things beyond a single parcel of land, and I think that’s where we’re going.”
If sky-high connections between buildings are the future, then technology will hasten its arrival. Last year, the German engineering firm ThyssenKrupp unveiled its new horizontal-vertical elevator system. The Multi allows multiple lifts in one shaft, removes height limitations and allows for horizontal lifts to shuttle from one building to another. Buildings could reach higher, and reach across, creating an interconnected network that stretches across the city.
“It gives us choices of how to understand the building in a different way,” says Michael Cesarz, CEO of Multi at ThyssenKrupp. “For me, being an architect and an engineer, I don’t have to think of lifts as the centre of the building anymore — I can put them anywhere I like. Moving horizontally creates some new sorts of freedoms. You can move people from one end to the other end of the same or connected buildings. You don’t even have to step out of the lift.”
But what are the social implications of a life lived in the air? Could this trend for linked skyscrapers accelerate segregation, creating a two-tier city socially as well as physically: sky-high cities for the elite with everyone else stuck at ground level?
Matthew Clifford, the head of energy and sustainability services at JLL Asia Pacific, believes connected tall buildings can have a positive impact — avoiding pollution and traffic at ground level, for example.
But he warns: “You need to think very carefully about how people will use the building, and how skybridges could become exclusive, full of luxury restaurants and high-end amenities. The risk is that you can design this architectural feat that ends up only being relevant for a small number of people.”
At Raffles City Chongqing, most of the skybridge amenities will be open to the public. The project includes a public park surrounding the towers, while the metro and a bus station connect directly.
Safdie argues that the publicly accessible skybridge goes against conceptions about exclusivity. “The tendency is to have a couple of floors for the people, near the ground, and then reserve the upper floors for luxury use,” he explains. “We can’t totally overcome that, because it’s so much part of the culture and the market to make the top luxury.
“But in Chongqing we bring people in on different levels: through the park, through the subway, from the bus station, from the parking lot underneath. And to really democratise the building [we have placed] something that’s truly public right at the top, in a way that draws people right through the project.”