October 29, 2002
10:48 AM   Subscribe

For this installment of Oissubke's trip around the world, I bring you not tourism, not language, not culture, for this location is fascinating simply by virtue of its bold architecture. The buildings here are not quite New York, but not quite Las Vegas either. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dubai.
posted by oissubke (20 comments total)
Gosh, I love them all! Even the boxy-looking ones. Just more proof that our present culture is sooooo boring....
posted by tommyspoon at 10:52 AM on October 29, 2002

Very nice! It's nice to know that not everyone has become as staid and predictable with regard to architecture as Americans have.
posted by rushmc at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2002

Neat! I didn't realize how dull the states are.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:12 AM on October 29, 2002

I always used to see things about the raffles at the Dubai airport in various inflight magazines -- like you pay $1K for a raffle ticket and you have a 1-in-50 shot at winning a BMW or something like that. Anyone been there and can tell us more?

The Burj al-Arab (yeah, I know you already posted a pic of it) is such a cool-looking building. It's one of the most expensive hotels in the world, too.
posted by Vidiot at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2002

i like the al ali tower in the last link! "not available" huh? :D

also i wonder if they encourage location shooting there for movies and stuff. dubai another day! keke :D

oissubke: baikonur! i'm tellin ya :D
posted by kliuless at 11:44 AM on October 29, 2002

I ♥ Oissubke. Thanks for a worthwhile and fun series!
posted by Lynsey at 11:45 AM on October 29, 2002

Dubai's architectural exuberance extends to other types of buildings, too. Consistent? No, not necessarily...but interesting, yes.
posted by furiousthought at 11:50 AM on October 29, 2002

Well, as you're all ooh-ing and aaah-ing over their architecture, chew on this fun tidbit: all companies incorprated there must be at least 51% owned by citizens. Public companies must be wholly-owned by citizens.

"Big deal," you say? Well, the only people who can be citizens of the UAE are those who are related to the governing sheiks. One of the guys who works for me is from Dubai, but his family is Indian, and therefore ineligible for citizenship.

Nice way to run a country.
posted by mkultra at 12:27 PM on October 29, 2002

Actually mkultra, that's not how things really are (i grew up in the uae, and no, i'm not a citizen):

While locals have 51% stake in the initial records, they also have a private agreement where it states that the expatriate has full ownership of the company and he required to pay a minimal fee to the local.

Also Citizenship is only allowed in limited numbers and you dont have to be friends with the sheikhs to get one. When i say limited, i mean really limited.

The reason for the restriction on citizenship is because the local population is less than 20% and should they hand out citizenships, the country will be run by foreigners who still have alliegence to their country.

People who do end up getting citizenship are those who ended up staying there for a couple of generations and have adopted the arabic customs. This is because the local population fears the deterioration of their customs and way of life, and this is their short term fix.
posted by nanothan at 12:42 PM on October 29, 2002

Interesting... thanks for the clarification...
posted by mkultra at 12:45 PM on October 29, 2002

Modern architecture can be so beautiful! Every time they try to build something different in Seattle, people complain unendingly about how ugly, impractical, and expensive it will be (like the forthcoming library building).

I was in Milwaukee last week and was completely blown away by the art museum (scroll down to MAM Images and click the Photo Gallery link).
posted by ukamikanasi at 1:09 PM on October 29, 2002

The Burj Al Arab truly is stunning. It looks like something out of a William Gibson novel.
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:27 PM on October 29, 2002

This type of architectural exuberance is typical of high-growth economies, wherever they are. The US has undergone a stretch of deconstructivist architecture, and we recently discussed the new Westin Hotel on 42nd St. in NYC, which Muschamp believes marks the entree of Latin-American architecture in our largest city. The US also much more easily accepts experimental architecture in cultural centers as opposed to corporate headquarters, which are generally desired to be distinctive but not obstrusive. Hence the Wright-designed Guggenheim, the Calatrava-designed MAM, the Gehry-designed Seattle Music Experience and Disney Auditorium.

American commercial architecture, especially of skyscrapers, is also severely restricted by zoning and other considerations. A goofy-looking standalone structure surrounded by a plaza may have marked the pinnacle of US architecture a generation ago, but the trend has swung back toward integration on both esthetic and functional levels. Also, many US corporate structures would be built in exurban commercial areas where low-rise architecture is the norm. So in many ways Dubai is only developing this way because of considerations that don't apply to the US, not because they have greater appreciation of interesting buildings.
posted by dhartung at 1:31 PM on October 29, 2002

I wanna hear about them bmw raffles!
posted by mecran01 at 1:38 PM on October 29, 2002

great link! thanks.
posted by pejamo at 3:45 PM on October 29, 2002

They're also planning to build an absolutely nutty resort island in the Persian Gulf in the shape of a palm tree!
posted by BinGregory at 8:34 PM on October 29, 2002

oissubke, you are the undisputed master of interesting global nooks & crannies! Thanks for all the efforts you take to find such interesting places to surf through.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:58 PM on October 29, 2002

Wow, what a great great post and thread! Thanks oissubke and all.

And dhartung, if I'm ever near chicago I'm buying you a few of your favorite adult beverages just to hear you chat. I always enjoy your well researched comments. What the hell, oissubke can come too!
posted by Tacodog at 10:59 PM on October 29, 2002

thanks again, oissubke...and what madam said !
posted by amberglow at 7:01 AM on October 30, 2002

It seems like a big waste of resources to me. What's the point of building a skyscraper in the middle of a desert? It's not like people are in need of space.

Eh, I guess it's better than the money going to the pockets of the royalty.

posted by Witold at 4:01 PM on October 30, 2002

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