By Mohanad Alwadiya
Published in Gulf News Freehold
It is the beauty, grandeur and special significance of landmarks and monuments that continue to withstand the ravages of time – characteristics which make them timeless in appeal, and transform them into global icons.
Not to be missed, of course, are the socio-cultural impact and economic benefits of having monuments and landmarks in a place, city or country. After all, their building or restoration already spurs economic activity and, with the end product, can lead to some form of socio-cultural revitalization.
Every nation or great city has some symbolic architectural icon which helps define either the history, vision, cultural values or characteristics of the people that inhabit it… whether it be the Statue of Liberty in New York, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Shard in London, The Sydney Opera House, or even St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow… they are all symbols, and all of us have grown to accept those structures to be symbolic, in some way, of the cultures that they uniquely represent.
Dubai’s dynamic, ever-changing landscape, a constant in the continuously developing emirate, is a characteristic of the city known the world over. From the opulent halls of the Burj Al Arab and the graceful fronds of the Palm Jumeirah, to the tallest skyscraper that is Burj Khalifa, the architectural and engineering feats Dubai is famous for seem to have no limits. Areas which were once all desert and sand are now teeming with people, businesses, and bustling with tourists.
Such achievements in the field of architecture and engineering prove how important property development is to real estate, and to the general economy. Emaar Properties, one of the UAE’s most respected property developers, after delivering established communities such as Arabian Ranches, Emirates Living, and Dubai Marina, has played a significant role in establishing the bedrock for supporting the lifestyle that Dubai offers today. But all that was eclipsed when it delivered its flagship development, Downtown Dubai, home to the iconic Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall and The Dubai Fountain. Not only did it provide what is now the world’s leading lifestyle destination, but it also reshaped Dubai’s skyline forever, and gave it a profile which is recognized around the world. And that skyline is about to change significantly, once again, with the recent announcement of the construction of a stunning new architectural icon, their latest exciting development.
The icon will simply be known as “The Tower” and its design was chosen by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, a design which draws inspiration from the lily and evokes the image of a minaret, which is a common feature and distinctive aspect of Islamic culture and architecture.
The location of The Tower is an important reminder of Dubai’s past as it will be constructed on the Dubai Creek, the cradle of Dubai’s history and culture. This astute choice of location will forever mark the origin of Dubai and remind all of the humble beginnings of what has now become a remarkable story of vision and growth, amply demonstrated by the 6 square kilometers of world-class master-planned development that will have The Tower as its centerpiece.
Not only is the site historically significant, but it is also located in close proximity to the Ras Al Khor National Wildlife Sanctuary, protected under the UNESCO Ramsar Convention, and home to over 67 species of water birds.
And, as with all great icons, The Tower has a reason for being, and is envisioned to be of symbolic significance to, not only Dubai and the UAE, but to global visitors hailing from all across the world. Once The Tower is finished and unveiled in time for Expo 2020, taking inspiration from the Eiffel Tower which was built for the 1889 Paris Expo, it is envisioned to become another global landmark surpassing the boundaries time and culture.
As an iconic structure, The Tower will provide a clear and bold symbol of a people’s culture, aspirations and ambitions. It will be representative of a vision of progress that has global relevance and benefit demonstrated through innovation, growth and development.