Top 12 mega-projects launched in 2016

The second in our 2016 series, we looked back at some of the mega-projects launched this year. These include ones have an official go-ahead as well as proposed projects.

The Residences at Marina Gate by Aedas

The project consists of three residential towers standing above a cluster of podium loft units with retail facilities located at lower levels.

The towers range from 43 to 56 storeys, tied together by a seven-storey podium that houses water front villas and boutique retail units. Each building has its own tropical pool deck, gym and facilities.

Man-made mountain plan 

The UAE is considering proposals for an artificial mountain in a bid to increase rainfall.

A team at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is understood to have received a $400,000 grant towards a detailed study exploring whether it would work.

Cairo Science City by Weston Williamson

London-based studio Weston Williamson has won a competition to design the Cairo Science City, a new major science complex in Egypt’s capital.

The 125,000m2 complex will be located on the western edge of Cairo and is set to become “the first 21-st century science museum, learning and research facility in Egypt”, according to the architects.

Dubai Institute of Design & Innovation by Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners will be designing the Middle East’s first ever design institute, DIDI, laid out in a ‘mega’ studio setting, enabling cross-collaboration between design disciplines, focusing on creativity, technology as well as the practical side of design.

The 100,000 square feet campus will be located in the Creative Community at d3.

Rosemont Hotel & Residences by ZAS-Architects 

ZAS Group (ZAS Architects, Interiors, Management & Aviation) has won an international competition to design a five-star hotel and apartments development in Dubai, complete with a man-made beach and a rainforest-inspired landscape for the podium area.

A release announced that the site will extend approximately 13,000m2, with the development featuring two 47 storey towers, a mixed-use five-storey podium and two basement levels housing various facilities.

Crystal Lagoon in District One by Crystal One and Meydan Sobha. 

The 7km Crystal Lagoon within the District One development will create a man-made beachfront in the heart of the city with lush green landscaping and a 14km boardwalk. It is the first of its kind in the UAE and when finished will be the largest in the world, at 40 hectares.

It will offer exclusive access to swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and other non-motorised aquatic activities.

The project is eco-friendly, and has been developed and designed to use any type of water, consuming very low amounts of energy and chemicals.Eco-friendly retreat by Baharash Architecture 

Solar power and smart technology combine  in an environmentally friendly desert retreat, designed by Baharash Architecture.

Located in Liwa, Abu Dhabi it is designed to be “in harmony with the pristine and untouched desert-scape” say the design team.

The retreat is completely energy self-sufficient, using solar panels as it generates and stores clean power in battery units.

View all images here.

8. Dubai Steps 

Dubai Steps will be a 25-storey structure which will reach 100 metres into the sky near Union Square and is planned to take no more than a year to build, according to assistant director general of Engineering and Planning at Dubai Municipality.

The 500 step tower will be complete with a obelisk-like monumet with five dedicated rest and event spaces planned every 100 steps.

The project aims to serve three different purposes including sport, recreation and relaxation.

7. Theme pavilions for Dubai Expo 2020 by Foster + Partners, BIG and Grimshaw Architects 

Opportunity Pavilion by BIG

Danish architecture studio, led by Bjarke Ingels is set to design the Opportunity Pavilion. The image depicts a flat-roofed structure with elements of landscape design and an oasis set at the centre of the pavilion which appears to combine indoor and outdoor spaces.

Mobility Pavilion by Foster + Partners

The Mobility Pavilion will be created by UK giants Foster + Partners. The winning design appears to be a trio of space-like structures that thicken as they rise taller, providing shade. The roof features a wrap-around viewing deck offering 360 degrees views of the surrounding expo site.

Sustainability Pavilion by Grimshaw Architects

The Sustainability Pavilion, which will become a long term technology cluster, will be designed by Grimshaw Architects.

6. National Pavilion by Santiago Calatrava 

Santiago Calatrava’s falcon in flight-inspired design has been selected by the UAE government for its pavilion at the Dubai World Expo 2020.

The pavilion is expected to cover up to 15,000m2 and will include numerous exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets and VIP lounges. It will be designed to embrace sustainable building principles.

5. Hyperloop by BIG 

Supported by Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and LA-based mobility company Hyperloop One, the design showcases a fleet of pods that transport passengers to Hyperloop’s main transport hub. The passengers will then move to larger capsules, which then travel across a network of elevated tubes to their desired destinations.

Dubai’s first ever high-speed transport system, designed by BIG, will reduce travel time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to 12 minutes.

4. The Tower by Calatrava International 












The Dubai Creek Harbour tower project will be taller than the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest high-rise in the world, according to Emaar Properties chief Mohamed Alabbar.

The $1bn tower concept has been inspired by the Islamic “minaret” structure as well as a lily bud.

It will comprise of residential and leisure features including a 360 viewing deck ‘The Pinnacle Room’, and a VIP observation deck with landscaping meant to recreate the “splendour of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.”

It will also feature fully glazed rotating balconies that extend outward, rotating outside the skin of the tower, as well as a boutique hotel for visitors.