Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Buildings that shaped Dubai to be preserved under new project

Municipality in talks over project aimed at promoting history of older buildings from 1960s and 1970s

Perhaps the most well known roundabout in the UAE, the Clock Tower Roundabout was built in 1964. Jeff Topping / The National
Perhaps the most well known roundabout in the UAE, the Clock Tower Roundabout was built in 1964. Jeff Topping / The National

Dubai Municipality is working with other institutions to preserve some of the emirates most recognisable buildings for future generations.

The project seeks to preserve the heritage of the city and the older buildings that shaped the city skyline.

Ahmed Mahmoud, director of the Architectural Heritage Department, said that his team has been working on a list of the most important buildings from the 1960s and 1970s in terms of their cultural, social, architectural and tourism impact — these include Dubai World Trade Centre, Clock Tower, Al Baraha Hospital, Al Khuloud Nursery and Al Ras Library.

“Many of these buildings still occupy major positions and perform important functions. The buildings have had a great impact on shaping the urban environment and the architectural character of Dubai's development,” said Mr Mahmoud.

The Dubai World Trade Centre, built in 1973 by architect John Harris, was described by Mr Mahmoud as a landmark that reflects the harmony of local architecture with modernity.

“It was the first skyscraper in the region. It seemed to be self-sustaining, and was one of the first projects to promote trade,” he said.


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Also on the list is the old Al Baraha Hospital, which was one of the first hospitals to be built in Deira in 1966. It was paid for by the government of Kuwait and was also designed by John Harris.

“The 100-bed hospital was designed as part of the expansion of the city, providing free services for the public,” Mr Mahmoud said.

“The building still offers its services to patients, in spite of its proximity to Dubai Hospital.”

The list also includes Al Ras Library, built in 1963 under the guidance of Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Al Khuloud Nursery School in Karama is also on the list as its design was adopted as a model that was replicated many times across other emirates.

The municipality is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Al Baraha Hospital, the Knowledge Fund Establishment, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and the World Trade Centre.