8 Iconic new structures set to transform the Dubai skyline by 2020


As excitement mounts for Expo 2020, Dubai has been busy readying itself with about a dozen mega projects underway to wow the hordes of visitors expected from all corners of the globe. And now, with the announcement of the new Dubai Creek Tower this morning…we just can’t get enough of what this wonderful Emirate will look like in a few years time.

Here’s a run-down of some of the amazing new structures and tourist attractions set to punctuate the Dubai’s already dramatic skyline by the time everyone shows up. 

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Burj 2020

Location: JLT

Projected completion date: 2020, if the name is anything to go by.

Architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, the designers that brought us Burj Khalifa, have returned to Dubai for Round 2. They recently unveiled their design for Burj 2020 at Cityscape Global. Expected to tower up to 700 metres, possibly more, this new JLT landmark will be the tallest residential building in the world – but who knows how long that’ll last: after crowning Dubai with the Burj Khalifa, currently the world record-holder for the tallest building at 830 metres, Smith an Gill one-upped themselves by designing the thousand-metre high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, scheduled for completion sometime between 2019 and 2020. Now that’s a team who’s good at generating more demand for their services.

Burj 2020 3499 Xl

Aladdin City

Location: Dubai Creek

Projected completion date: before 2020, probably

One of the more whimsical developments popping up soon is ‘Aladdin City’, a collection of three towers spread over 450 square metres on the Dubai Creek. The lamp-shaped buildings, whose design was inspired by the legendary adventures of the above-mentioned street urchin and Sinbad the Sailor, will be linked by floating bridges which will (of course) be air-conditioned and (of course) include travelators.  With the tallest of these towers standing at a mere 35 storeys, Aladdin City might be a bit squat for Dubai, but go any taller and it’ll clash with the historic charm of the dhow-speckled Creek. Speaking of which, we’ve been reassured that this somewhat Vegas-like development will not infringe on the bit of the Creek carved out as a restricted zone by Dubai’s bid to have the area be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thank goodness.

Aladdin City

Dubai Twin Towers

Location: Dubai Creek Harbour at the Lagoons

Projected completion date: before 2020 but reports are rather vague

In 2014, development heavyweight Emaar Properties unveiled its plans for “Dubai Creek Harbour at the Lagoons”.  This mouthful of a mega-project, a co-venture with Dubai Holding, is reported to be about three times larger than Emaar’s Downtown Dubai. Apparently the development, which abuts the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, will be super eco-friendly. It will also be home to the world’s tallest twin towers. Currently, Kuala Lumpur’s 88-floor Petronas Twin Towers hold the title. But apart from the fact they’re going to be really, really tall, no real details have been revealed about the buildings. However, work is already underway on the neighbouring Dubai Creek Residences, with units facing the Creek going for the hefty sum of 1,850Dhs per square foot.

Dubai  Creek  Harbour Twin Towers By  Emaar  Properties And  Dubai  Holdings Dezeen  Bn06

Dubai Eye

Location: Bluewaters Island

Projected completion date: 2017/2018

It’s a bit of a miracle that Dubai has survived this long without a ginormous ferris wheel – it’s a skyline essential. Luckily, this oversight will be remedied very soon with the construction of the Dubai Eye on Bluewaters Island. The man-made island, just 500 metres off the coast of JBR, will contain residential, hospitality, entertainment and retail zones, but the centerpiece of the development project is the 210 metre high ferris wheel. The Dubai Eye will displace Las Vegas’ High Roller as the tallest ferris wheel in the world and spectacular views of iconic Dubai landmarks like The Palm, Burj Al Arab, and Burj Khalifa will be visible from its 48 luxury capsules.

Bluewaters 03

Museum of the Future

Location: DIFC

Projected completion date: 2017                   

Dubai is one of those places that tend to put a unique spin on familiar concepts. Take, for example, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid’s recently launched Museum of the Future. It’s actually difficult to classify the MotF, a chrome-encased ellipse etched with Arabic calligraphy, as a museum per se. It’s more like a mammoth incubator for inventions and innovations, with plenty of space allotted to exhibit and test futuristic prototypes and services made by start-ups and tech giants alike. It’ll also be the site of plenty of courses, specialised workshops and panel events. Also super awesome: parts of the structure will be constructed using 3D printing technology.

Museum Of The Future

Taj Arabia

Location: Falconcity of Wonders

Projected completion date: after many fits and starts, supposedly 2017

Have we mentioned Las Vegas before in this post? We might have. But let’s be real, some of the burgeoning developments we’ve listed so far could very well be popping up in Nevada so much as in the UAE. And nothing quite fits that bill like the Falconcity of Wonders – a real estate mega-project whose main claim to fame is the ambitious goal of replicating some of the ‘Wonders of the World’. On the roster are the Eiffel Tower, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Wall of China, and the Pyramids; but the star of the show is the Taj Arabia – a replica of the Taj Mahal that’ll be four times larger than the original. We’re not quite sure what to say about that, but we will say that the development will encompass freehold residential buildings, serviced apartments, and commercial offices, with the focal point being the Taj Arabia Palace Hotel. Apparently the folks at Falconcity are styling the hotel as a highly desirable, uber-luxurious wedding venue.

Taj Arabia 1

Dubai Opera

Location: The Opera District – Downtown Dubai

Projected completion date: 2016

Now here’s a project we’re very excited about: Dubai already enjoys a vibrant arts and culture scene, but when the Dubai Opera District opens its doors we expect it to kick things up a notch. The District as a whole, which faces The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa, will be home to art galleries, design studios and an assortment of cultural venues, but the main draw is the Dubai Opera. The dhow-inspired performance centre is very innovative in the sense that it’s a multi-format space: apparently the arrangement of 900 of the 2,000 seats can be redistributed using hydraulic technology, allowing the space to transform from traditional theatre into a concert hall, banquet hall or exhibition space. Not to sound snobbish, but we’re really hoping that this project delivers on its promise to diversify the performing arts scene here by attracting ballet companies, opera performances, and some serious theatre.

Dubai Opera District Emaar Atkins Designboom 01

Dubai Frame

Location: Zabeel Park

Projected completion date: running a bit late – construction is in its final stages and it should have opened this month. We’re holding our breath for early 2016.

If you’ve been to Ripe Market on Fridays at Zabeel Park, you’ve probably spied this sky scraping rectangular structure and wondered what was going on. The concept is rather poetic: two 150 metre towers connected by a walkway act as a window – on one side of it lies Old Dubai: Bur Dubai, Karama, Deira and Umm Hurair; on the other side is a view of New Dubai’s ultra-modern sprawling skyline. From the concourse at the top (which was initially intended to be all-glass but has since been recast to be only partly glass, because of vertigo), visitors will be able to witness the Emirate’s evolution from a sleepy fishing and trading town into a booming megalopolis. There’s also a museum located on the ground floor that will showcase artefacts representing the two distinct eras/areas and will screen multimedia presentations narrating that dramatic transition.

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