The French Connection

European architectural breakthroughs help define the Dubai skyline.

Most impressive for many visitors to Dubai is not the shop-around-the-clock duty-free opportunities, but the stunning and innovative architecture that makes up the Dubai skyline.

The Burj Al Arab

One name to keep an eye out for, thanks to their audacious and creative contributions to the planning of the cityscape, is Aéroports de Paris (ADP). Best known as the airport authority for the Paris region, this French company has expanded its operations worldwide through its subsidiary ADPi to include not only airport design, but urban planning and real estate. From runways and terminal buildings to sports stadiums and hotels, the ADPi touch is evident around the world, and Dubai is no exception. Pitched and planned projects include The Gate Tower and Tiara United Tower, however most work has been carried out with architect Paul Andreu to upgrade, renovate, and extend the passenger terminals, baggage handling systems, and Emirates Airline onsite facilities at Dubai International Airport.

The other wonders of Dubai architecture are well known. Even those who have never set foot on this exotic emirate or captivating city of the same name would have some idea of the Palm Jumeirah artificial island; the proposed "Dynamic Tower", a rotating residential and hotel skyscraper complex designed by Italian architect David Fisher; or the Burj Al Arab luxury Dubai hotel, designed by Tom Wright of Atkins. Not only is this hotel unique amongst international and Dubai hotels for being one of the tallest hotels in the world, it's also billed as the world's only seven star hotel, an impressive title to say the least!

However, stay tuned for "The World", an artificial archipelago located 4km off the coast of Dubai, and representing the world map through a series of specially designed islands. The land for the 300 islands that make up the map tableau was reclaimed from the sea by dredging. Think that the world is not enough? That seems to be the opinion in Dubai, and The World project is just one of several reclaimed land projects currently underway.



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