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Old January 12th, 2011, 11:37 AM   #1
Lenela
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Can we consider Dubai buildings as architecture?

Hi,

I've friends studying in architecture school and yesterday we talked about the fact buildings need a story to be considered as architecture.

By the way they said Dubai skyscrapers are just livable designed boxes, cause they are built to look sparkling and eye-catching, but without any substance.

I didn't totally agree cause I think firstable it's too manichean and also cause that looks pre-chewed by their teachers who seem lil bit boho (cause Dubai is too sparkling, too high, too expensive...).

What do you think about this statement?

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Old January 12th, 2011, 11:58 AM   #2
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Well, It is architecture whitout a doubt, only really bad architecture.
I'm sure the architects of these building ofthen disagreed with their principal. But probably these architects had no choice if they wanted to make money...
If you are a famous architect and your principal disagrees you can say: Listen mate: It's my way and not yours, i'm not gonna build some princess tower without a soul...If you want that go find some cheap unknown architect...

But really overall, the towers in Dubai are very low architecture if considered as so...There are some good disigns up there, but overall it's really bad. Commies may look gray and not well maintained, but I prefere even those over Dubai...

Edit: Not to piss off any dubai lovers here, but it's just the same as all the residential skyscrapers in Mexico or Brazil for example. Only Dubai has that fairytale context to it that makes it worse...

Just to show:

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Originally Posted by stewie1980 View Post
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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:02 PM   #3
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Well that's true. Those towers look like a big and dull bunch of asparagus

I admit that's really flashy and eye-catching, made mainly to impress and attract outside investments. But in an other way there are also very beautiful and elegant structures such as supertall tower: Burj al Arab, Burj Khalifat, and many under construction as Wave Tower or Nakheel Tower.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #4
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Yea well, I said there are some good designs up there...But most of them aren't.
A skyscraper should be more then just a bunch of floors hanging on a central core.

Not to mention this:
(I'm using things that other people said because useally when saying this I get someone ranting that I shouldn't be so stupid saying this as the only one)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manitopiaaa View Post
I know its not finished here but you can still see what its going to be
image hosted on flickr
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That skyline is absolutely gorgeous. My only concern is that for all the Neon and Bright Lights of these towers, that there won't be much going on at Ground Level. I have a real fear that Dubai will be more of a Ghost town Skyscrapercity with these buildings serving as monuments of wealth rather than as a thriving city with people everywhere.
Basically lots of Skyscraper districts are filled with highrises but at street level there are as much people on the streets as in an average cul-de-sac freestanding home suburb. They concentrated living/shopping/work to much.
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Last edited by joshsam; January 12th, 2011 at 03:23 PM.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:26 PM   #5
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I actually respect Dubai for trying to be extravagant and out-there. It's actually contributing quite a lot to the world of skyscrapers by proposing structures which no other city in the world would dare produce or would dare have even thought about had Dubai not existed. The thought of an 800m skyscraper like the Burj Khalifa 10 years ago to me would have been shocking and not even considered! I thought Taipei 101 was big enough!

Dubai has also successfully made quite a name for itself because of its ambitious works which is one reason why it's more well-known than other cities in that part of the world such as Doha or Bahrain. Good or bad architecture I would say is subjective.. skyscrapers don't have to have souls to be skyscrapers, there are many extremely ugly monstrosity skyscrapers from the 60s and 70s that I would personally say have no soul but they are still classified as skyscrapers. I think this logic about skyscrapers needing a story is a bit too extreme because then one could take that logic and expand it and say "cities need a story to be considered as cities" which would make a city like Houston inferior to a city like a Paris simply because its story pales in comparison? I think not.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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We're not doubting they're skyscrapers. They are for sure. We're just questioning if these skyscrapers can be considered architecture. And in my opinion architecture indeed needs a story, some substance, to qualify as good architecture.
Whatever can be considered a story or substance is totally up to you, making architecture a very subjective matter. As for me, I personally find a big part of Dubai's skyscrapers rubbish architecture. The other part is just interesting, with 2 or 3 buildings of it being really nice. This does NOT mean that Dubai as a city is rubbish! Au contraire

Last edited by RubenT; January 12th, 2011 at 09:03 PM.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:16 PM   #7
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Dubai is horrible
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Old January 12th, 2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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Well the buildings shown on the second post are really repulsive. Flashy colors, bad designs, crammed up together - really nothing to be amazed. I even saw some pictures of the apartments inside...nothing that great. But I have to say that indeed Dubai has some beautiful projects and in quite a few cases they are not the tallest buildings out there.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 05:21 PM   #9
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Is indeed architecture... disgusting architecture, speculative architecture (in general).
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Old January 13th, 2011, 01:53 AM   #10
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All your points of view are interesting. And this true actually a lot of highrises are quite dull and unelegant, but in a certain way it's like in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, etc, except in those cities those buildings was created for low-income people.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 05:43 PM   #11
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Yeah, and the thing is, Dubai was a desert, they had unlimited space and with the money, unlimited power to design the whole area to look like something Pudong in Shanghai has or Pearl River new city in Guangzhou. Unfortunately they cramped all their residentials together one next to another OMG. Each residential look original and prestige ( a lot better than the boxes they are building in China) but when cramped one next to another, especially with similar heights, looks really silly, which is a real waste. Instead of leaving the open space for building rivers, I would have preferred to see more green grass/parks floating around.

And what can I say about their CBD, So they build all their towers all on one road? Come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where did all the planning go?

A lot of buildings in Dubai look real good and the thing is, most of them reflect their culture, something they do much better than places like China. Its just that their placements are really a let down and their 'skyline' or 'cityscape' will never be able to make it into the top 10 since its so poorly done!!!
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Old January 15th, 2011, 12:34 AM   #12
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city of the "not places".the skyscrapers with their environment decontextualized.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 12:35 AM   #13
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surely it's architecture, but in my opinion its only "skyline architecture". I think that architecture need to bring people not only a good place to live, but also a great place where to forge the neighborhood's relations. Looking that place growing in the high, and with no one common cafe commerce, small market, but yes full of great international chains of luxury markets, let us the feeling of a "superficial" place where the people only buy and return to his home in the 45th floor...

in a very small scale we suffer (in my opinion) the same effect in my city Buenos Aires with a very young town called Puerto Madero, filled with very high and isoled residential towers (compared with the rest of the city), giving us a nice skyline but also something like a ghost town during the night, without signal of people correlating one with other, only people living in they luxury homes, pools, balconys and there

so, I prefer an architecture maybe more "smallest" but creating spots where people really live the town, and why not, make small modifications on it (new commerces and houses)

sorry my english I hope you understand
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Old January 15th, 2011, 06:54 PM   #14
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How much of the new space is actually leased out?

There is an old saying that "Rome was not built in one day". I think Dubai is a cautionary tale about trying to construct an "instant" city; in this case the city sprang up during a passing world trend of novelty architecture, leading to an entire city built in the same rather excessive style. When architectural styles change (as they now are), this will leave the entire city looking trapped in one time-frame. I think they would have been wise to take some time and plan a balanced mix of architectural styles instead of racing to win the novelty contest.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #15
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“The current vacancy in Dubai stands at 50 per cent and according to Bloomberg business week, the vacancy in other big cities like New York stands at 12 per cent, Toronto at 10 per cent, London at 14 per cent, Mumbai at 16 per cent, Hong Kong at 7 per cent and Tokyo at 6 per cent,”

That's just in reference to office space for the entire city, and is from December 26, 2010, and hotel occupancy rates are back up in 80%s I remember reading somewhere.

I certainly think it's architecture, but I've mostly found myself disappointed with what gets built in Dubai. Architects have as close to a blank check as is possible but I don't usually find myself too excited about the buildings, the height is always impressive but the quality mainly seems subpar. I've never been so maybe the pictures don't do them justice, and I'll reserve my judgements on the urban feel and urban planning until I get a chance to visit and when it's more completed. I feel like the entirety of Dubai is still a construction site/work in progress.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 09:55 PM   #16
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“we talked about the fact buildings need a story to be considered as architecture”


Though interesting architecture generally (but not always) needs a good story, it isn’t a requirement for architecture in general, just as having a good story for a building doesn’t make the architecture good.
This architecture is architecture simply because it is; it does not make it good however.
I find Dubai to simply be a fake city trying to falsely present itself as a real natural and organic city (Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Rome, etc…) though look beyond the skyscrapers and even a child could tell you it is fake.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 09:58 PM   #17
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What makes a city "organic" and what makes it "fake"?
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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:01 PM   #18
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What makes a city "organic" and what makes it "fake"?
Cities where people naturally flock and develop over time, its architectural wonders being added both through ambition and necessity.

Home to village to small town to city to metropolis.
Not village to metropolis, especially when the city itself lacks sustainable resources.
An Example city would be somewhere like New York.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:03 PM   #19
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Cities never have "sustainable resources". They are dependent on the hinterland. In this case the only difference is that the "hinterland" is the global supply chain. I don't see how Dubai is any less 'organic' than say, Singapore.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Cities never have "sustainable resources". They are dependent on the hinterland. In this case the only difference is that the "hinterland" is the global supply chain. I don't see how Dubai is any less 'organic' than say, Singapore.
True, but cities must also prove themselves.

If a city pops up tomorrow morning, I'm not going to bunch it in the same group as cities like Boston or Paris.

Dubai will have to prove itself as something more than just ego skyscrapers in the middle of a useless desert.
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