Architect in row over Dubai Frame

Mexico's Fernando Donis claims municipality has unlawfully altered his winning design
By Nick Ames
Thu 05 Jun 2014 11:06 AM

A row has broken out over the design of the Dubai Frame, a tourist attraction set to be constructed in Zabeel Park.

Fernando Donis, a Mexican architect, won a competition in 2009 to design the structure when his idea was selected from 926 designs in the ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Awards – sponsored by Dubai Municipality, the body responsible for building the structure.

But according to a report in Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper, Donis claims changes to his design revealed by the local authority are in breach of the competition rules.

He has written an open letter on the issue to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“The tone of the letter and intention to go public is to solicit the intervention of the Ruler of Dubai, as we assume he is not aware of this situation, to hopefully still participate in the process of the project; and now make them see that the design alterations they are making – next to unlawful – are misguided,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

“The project is being transformed from being non-figurative architecture to an overscale figurative photo-frame. That is, from being a modern, public monument to a postmodern pastiche.”

The structure, due to be completed next year, is to be 150m tall and 100m wide. Plans include a transparent walkway constructed from glass between its two sides to give visitors the impression they are walking through the sky, with 360-degree views across the city.

Dubai Municipality did not respond when approached to comment on the report.

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