Monday, April 12, 2010

Dubai...The Architecture

Spend only a few minutes in Dubai and the stark contrasts in the architecture will immediately stike you. At the center and perhaps the pinnacle of Dubai's rise is the Burj Khalifa (formerly the Burj Dubai), the world tallest building. Standing at 828 meters, the Burj (literal translation is "tower") represents so much...literally and figuratively.

On the world stage, many believe the tower represents the worst of Dubai - grandiose at all costs and is a symbol of the what is now the current state of the emirate's financial crisis. For many others, the the tower is the crowning achievement of an emirate, a country, that still in its infancy (the UAE is only 38 years old as a governed state) is an equal among financial centers. Whatever your stance, there is no denying the beauty and audacity of the building.

From my perspective, the building is beautiful. Designed by US architectural firm SOM, it is sleek and majestic. Truly pointing and -sometimes seemingly - touching the sky.

Dubai is two worlds. The emirate is approximately 4 million people with (depending on the timing) 70%- 80% expatriates making up the population. To cater to the expat community, Dubai has created an oasis that presents a feel of luxury. For us, it seemed as if we were at a resort the entire trip. Venture to the old town and the feeling is entirely different. And the architecture reflects both viewpoints.

Below are just a few pictures of the many styles of architecture

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