Designers praise 40 years of UAE architecture

Following the 40th anniversary of the UAE on 2nd December, Middle East Architect asked locally-based designers to pick their favourite building from the past four decades.

Dubai World Trade Center
John Harris, 1979

“As with anything that weathers the test of time and matures, the Dubai World Trade Center tower has slowly and gracefully aged into a quiet icon in a veritable city of icons. It represents a turning point in the development of Dubai into a world capital of design and architecture.”

Hisham Youssef, Gensler, and founding board member of AIA’s Middle East chapter

Dubai Municipality building,
Civic Design Studio/ Pacific Consultants International, 1979

“The Dubai Municipality building is a monument that effectively addressed today’s issues of sustainability and green buildings 32 years ago and is more relevant today. It is a truly timeless masterpiece that was decades ahead of its time.”

Ahmed Bukhash, chief architect and founder, Archidentity

National Bank of Dubai
Dubarch with Carlos Ott and Norr Architects, 1998

“With its clearly modern yet subtle interpretation of  the hull and sail, The NBD building maintains a reference to its context. As it mirrors back to Dubai Creek, the lifeline and origin of Dubai’s beginning as a trading hub, it stands as an elegant reminder of the city’s heritage and history.”

Sumaya Dabbagh Principal at Dabbagh Architects

Dubai Metro
Aedas/Atkins, 2009

“The metro is a modern day gem. It is at once a symbol of iconic innovation while the station architecture reflects Dubai’s identity and character. The design required skill and bravery, brought early prosperity, and is an integral part of Dubai’s modernism.”

Mohamed Alaa Mandour, founder, KMA

Rolex Tower, SOM, 2010

“I find the Rolex Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road to be a wonderful architectural statement. The tower is an elegant mixed-used building with apartments on the upper level and offices below. The simple form contains beautifully detailed fritted glass – exactly what you come to expect from SOM.”

Steven W Miller, regional manager, Perkins Eastman

Burj Khalifa
SOM, 2010

“A magnificent piece of structural engineering, and demonstrates a great synergy between the architects and the engineers. The extreme stiffness combined with the reduced wind loads make this an engineering masterpiece.”

Bart Leclercq, Head of Structures, WSP Middle East