Monday, April 14, 2008

Manufacturing history

One of the interesting things I see in various places around Dubai is the creation of 'traditional' buildings.

Many people complain that there's no history, no old Dubai left and some say it's all been destroyed to make way for new developments.

The reality is that there wasn't very much to start with. I've posted this pic before but it's worth posting again - this is the extent of Dubai in 1949:

You can still see one or two original buildings, or at least part of them, in Shindagah. Basically mud reinforced with coral, which isn't built to last hundreds of years.

And in what is now 'New Dubai' there really wasn't anything.

So it's interesting to come across developments like these - in my opinion there isn't anywhere enough of them.

Yes, I know it's fake 'old', but the point is that all buildings have to be designed. They have to look like something. I'm all in favour of these, which are designed in the architectural traditions of the region rather than the endless developments of modern towers that could be anywhere in the world.

I wish there were many more developments like these in 'New Dubai'.


2020hindsight said...

I'm with you 100% on this. Unfortunately in most places it seems to be a land grab to get as much dosh per square foot as possible - and hence you have the JBR "Manhattan-on-sea" and the mess that they are making at the Spinney's end of the Marina, cramming in as many tall buildings as close as humanly possible.

These "traditional" buildings are so much more pleasing to the eye and give Dubai much more of an individual identity - rather than an extension of any other large global city.

AM said...

I never thought about this subject the way you presented it in this post ... you do make a good point though.

AM said...

Oh and I like the title of the post too :)

Umar in Dubai said...

true that... regardless of what remains of old dubai... the new construction should embrace the architecture of this region.

Gautam said...

Like your take on these bldgs. I think these structures ( The real traditional ones) are easy on the electricity consumption as well. When I was young I was lucky enough to live in one of such structures for like 10 years. The best part of it all is the veranda, even in summers we would sit out in the evenings. The afternoons used to be really great.

The Badia hillside village looks great too.

alexander said...

I'm not generally a huge fan of Dubai's Neo-Arab architecture, I find it can get a bit samey, but I do love the Badia houses at Festival City. Sort of Yemeni Tuscan... :)

I was driven to apoplexy by an article in the UK's Daily Mail last year, in which the journalist gushed about her experiences in the old souk in Dubai. You guessed it: she was talking about the Madinat...

Seabee said...

Gautam, there's apparently a study going on into the old houses - the airflow, windtowers, courtyards, insulation, shade etc etc. We can learn a lot from them.

Alexander, I tear my hair out at 'journalists' like that too. Bet your life she was put up at the Burj Al Arab, wandered into Souk Madinat, limo back down SZR to the airport and then felt able to write with great authority about the real Dubai.