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Sat 4 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Scraping the sky

It seems each week we discover a new project that promises to give us the biggest, brightest, tallest structure in the region.

Scraping the sky

If it appears that Construction Week is preoccupied with skyscrapers in the UAE it’s because, well, we are a bit preoccupied.

It seems that with each passing week, we discover a new project that promises to give us the biggest, brightest, tallest structure in the region. It will redefine the Middle East. It will bring foreign investors. We will be viewed worldwide as the “new Paris,” the “new New York,” the new whatever.

Donald Trump comes in and makes a noise about building a skyscraper that will exceed the Burj Dubai. Saudi Prince Al Walid bin Talal is planning his Mile-High Tower in Jeddah. In Bahrain, the Al Moayyed Towers is set to take shape in the Seef District.

Nakheel’s Tall Tower between Jumeirah Lake Towers and Ibn Battuta Mall on Sheikh Zayed Road will be taller than the Burj Dubai at 1400m.

In this week's issue of Construction Week, features editor Shikha Mishra reports on the Marina Pinnacle Tower in the Dubai Marina. The tower will reach 71 floors. Everyone associated with the project is bursting with pride that it will be among the tallest structures in the Marina.

And now this: A new tall tower that will exceed all skyscrapers reportedly will be built in the middle of the planned Jumeirah Garden City. This latest piece of news falls somewhere between knowledgeable contractors leaking the news and a bit of speculation. But if experience tells us anything about Dubai, where there is smoke there is fire. As far as the construction community is concerned, the proposed tower is a reality.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I must again wonder where all of this is going and for what purpose. While it’s exciting to see visionaries execute the boldest plans ever conceived on a global scale in commercial and residential development, there is an aspect of machismo here that borders on the silly.

Given this, it can be interpreted not as visionary thinking, but simply developers and architects who appear to have something to prove to themselves and to their colleagues.

Rob Wagner is the editor of Construction Week.


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SR 11 years ago

Everybody seems to have forgotten that buildings are only a by-product of development!! Take any developed country, none of the buildings came first, they came last to support economic activities. Further, does anyone have any idea what is the impact on environment?? Or is it that nobody cares??

hombil 11 years ago

As usual, Rob has hit the nail on the head! What is the region trying to prove? To whom? And at what and whose cost?

Cholo Jopson 11 years ago

Man has a penchant for innate symbols. His own 'insecurity' makes him adhere to anything that possesses unequivocal characteristics. The earth, wind, water and fire have been associated with his social needs and aspirations. He sees power in the eagle, hence, it becomes the symbol of the infamous intelligence network in the US. He believes height is might as standing level-headed would sometimes make him insecure. He feels deeply ungratified when surpassed of being the first, the tallest, the largest, etc because he sees existence is a universe of feats. In Dubai and other parts of the GCC, it would be the name of competition. Unless the rest of the worlds stop, Dubai would keep on building the tallest skyscrapers, the first hotel beyond the ocean depths…

Graham Plater 11 years ago

As I see it, these vulgar "biggest, tallest, widest..." exercises are merely the reflection of an innate inferiority complex. The world has far more pressing issues to deal with right now, and less and less time to waste upon the latest attempt at getting into the Guinness Book of Records for something which nobody needs.