Dubai Frame: Iconic structure for UAE city
Dubai - Residents and visitors cannot miss it. Set in the midst of the city, Dubai Frame, a giant structure shaped like a picture frame, is the latest iconic edifice rising in the glamorous emirate’s skyline.
The 50-storey structure frames views of the city, allowing visitors to see Old Dubai from one side and the New Dubai skyline from another from its strategic location in Zabeel Park.
Dubai Frame is expected to be visited by an estimated 2 million tourists a year. But those who wish to go up the structure for the breathtaking views need to wait until well into 2016.
The $43.6 million Dubai Frame project, the construction of which began in 2013, will be opened to the public by August 2016, said Shaza Fouad, an architect in the General Project Department, the engineering support section of the Dubai Municipality.
The plot area for Dubai Frame is 24,220 sq. metres, while the built-up area is 10,835 sq. metres. The Dubai-based Al Rostamani Pegel LLC is the main contractor and the design consultant is Arcadis (Hyder Consulting), which also designed landmark buildings and spaces in the city, including Emirates Towers, Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai.
The giant building has a simple form with 150-metre long concrete (core) legs connected by a 93-metre-long steel bridge at the top level.
“The bridge serves as a viewing deck or an observatory and will provide uninterrupted views of the ‘New Dubai’ and ‘Old Dubai’, and up to 300 visitors shall be allowed on the viewing deck at a time,” Fouad said.
There are many technical details and elements that make Dubai Frame a fascinating structure.
“The functional requirement of space in each floor within the concrete legs is to accommodate two lifts for the vertical movement of people and a staircase for emergency access and egress. Parts of the floors at different levels are also used for housing MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) equipment,” she said.
The Dubai Municipality architect also gave details of the external cladding feature and the special cleaning mechanism involved.
“Composite panels with special copper colour, along with solar photovoltaic panels will be used for external cladding. A building maintenance unit shall be used for cleaning the façade, which will be running on rails and tracks on the roof of the towers and bridge. When it is not in operation, the cradle and the machines will be hidden inside lower floor pits,” she explained.
One of the main features of the building will be the Exhibition Hall showcasing facts, photos and artefacts.
“The concept reflects a journey through time, starting at the mezzanine level, where visitors enter into an immersive experience representing the past. Projections, mist effects, smells and motion create the immersive mood setting of the space,” Fouad said.
“The Past Gallery embodies the idea of the project and tells the story of the evolution of the city and its history. It shows the old city, using the most new and updated means of projection and presentation that contributes to the creation of a favourable environment that develops and comprehends the renaissance taking place in Dubai.”
“The final experience,” Fouad added, “is on the other side of the mezzanine level and it represents the Future of Dubai. The concept of this gallery is to depict Dubai 50 years from now by creating a virtual metropolis through interactive projections and virtual reality technology.
“The visitors will exit the elevator onto the mezzanine floor to pass through a vortex tunnel with special lights and sound effects.”
The idea, Fouad said, “is to create an illusion of time travel through a warp vortex and arriving into the city 50 years ahead. An immersive ‘Virtual Metropolis’ with scenes depicting the city’s evolution after 50 years, how people would travel, live, etc.”
Dubai’s tourism officials overall are targeting 20 million visitors annually by 2020. According to Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the number of tourists for 2014 was 13.2 million, a growth of 8.2% year on year.
Tourism is a central pillar for economic growth and diversification for the emirate and the strategy is to position Dubai as the “first choice” for the international leisure and business traveller.