And so we return back to Dubai. How could we not? Archinect started the ball rolling last week when someone asked, “Is Dubai the city of the 21st C?” Mostly inconsequential responses from the lot, unfortunately, except maybe from the pseudononymous “anti”. S/he answers with a question: “How is this any different than Shanghai?” Indeed, questioning its premise, presumptions, proposals, prognosis, and prospects seems to be the only possible response.
Can Dubai sustain such massive construction? Will Dubai become a model of a post-oil Middle Eastern economy? Is it the future? And why Dubai of all places? Why a seven-star hotel? The world? The palms? A pyramid? Who would want to live in a pyramid? Will there be enough people clamoring to live in the world's tallest building, a very tempting target for bomb-laden planes, trains, and automobiles? And where will these people come from? Will the palms bifurcate into fractal self-similar patterning, sprouting or defoliating in response to the global real estate market?
Will the bubble burst, sending British investors and Malaysian migrant laborers back home destitute? Will the sand then creep back in, smothering the refrigerated ski slope along with its Swiss chalet? Will someone write another Ozymandias? And then, only when it becomes an archaeological ruin to rival Luxor and Pompeii, will it become the prime tourist destination in the late 21st century as it was meant to be in the early 21st century?
Anyway, back to Archinect, the gems of that thread are the links. For instance, one link takes you to this article by Mike Davis from TomDispatch.com: “Welcome to paradise. But where are you? Is this a new science-fiction novel from Margaret Atwood, the sequel to Blade Runner, or Donald Trump tripping on acid?” And this article by George Katodrytis from Bidoun.
Another one directs you to sinkingSands, a blog: “Real-estate soup anyone?” “You want more?” “Who's gonna buy all these houses?” “Vested interest in interested rates?” Huh?
And there's a link to this, from which all these photographs, by Brian J. McMorrow, were lifted.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times had something to say about all these zaniness.
“If Americans pushed west to manifest destiny, the Emirates are pushing into the sky. There is a vague consensus here that great cities arrange themselves around ambitious architecture, and Dubai is determined to outdo them all. You feel it when you drive down the highway, eyes assaulted by a string of quixotic slogans: 'The earth has a new center.' 'History rising.' 'Impossible is nothing.'”
And then Christo and Jeanne-Claude will anoint it as the new Paris x Berlin x New York with 390,500 oil drums.
They will install 10 mastabas. Obviously.
And now we come to The New Yorker. The article is not online, but for a taste, author Ian Parker discusses “the architectural weirdness of Dubai” online.
The Palms, or: Post-Oil Middle East I
Here Comes The Rain Again, or: Post-Oil Middle East, Part II
Ski Dubai, or: Outside-Inside