The Dubai Frame (Arabic: برواز دبي) is an architectural landmark in Zabeel Park, Dubai. It holds the record for the largest frame in the world. Whilst described by The Guardian newspaper as “the biggest picture frame on the planet,”, it is controversial as the architect describes it as the “biggest stolen building of all time.” The project was conceived by Fernando Donis, and selected as the winner of a design competition by the Government of Dubai. The designer has alleged that he had his intellectual property stolen and was denied credit for the design.
Dubai Frame is one of the unique projects that Dubai Municipality has been keen to implement. It is an aesthetic icon and an architectural landmark that culturally connects the past with the present. It’s an important attraction for visitors, tourists and residents alike. The unique museum is expected to attract two million visitors a year.
Dubai Frame or “Berwaz Dubai,” consists of two transparent glass towers of 150m height that are connected by a 93m bridge at the top. The space between the towers gives a clear view of the city from a high altitude. On one side, it frames the images and buildings of Sheikh Zayed Road, to symbolize the modern city of Dubai, while the other side of the Berwaz includes landmark areas of Deira, Umm Hurair and Karama, which symbolize the old Dubai
The design was selected as the winner of the 2009 ThyssenKrupp Elevator International Award from 926 proposals. Participants from all over the world were invited to submit an emblem that would promote “the new face for Dubai”. It is near the Star Gate of Zabeel Park and stands at 150.24 m (493 ft) tall and 95.53 m (313 ft) wide.
The ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award is an international architecture competition first held in 1988 and sponsored by one of the world’s leading elevator companies. An international panel of judges selected the winning idea from among 926 design proposals to create a Tall Emblem Structure for Dubai. The original jury consisted of 11 international architects — a former and current chairman of the International Union of Architects (UIA) and the regional chairman of ThyssenKrupp Elevator. Dubai Municipality’s director general and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum were listed as ‘honorary’ jurors.
Donis’ design was ultimately selected, for which he won an AED 367329.70 ($100,000) prize. According to Donis, when designing the structure he saw Dubai as a city full of emblems and rather than adding another one, they proposed to frame them all: to frame the city. Instead of building a massive structure, the purpose of the proposal was to build a void of 150 meters by 105 meters to continuously frame the development of the past, current, and future Dubai. To become the structure that celebrates yet constrains the city.
The Dubai Frame is created out of glass, steel, aluminum, and reinforced concrete with designs of the logo of Expo 2020 embedded on the outer facade. It is positioned in such a way that representative landmarks of modern Dubai can be seen on one side, while from the other side, visitors can also view older parts of the city. An observation deck spans the top of the frame, with glass-bottomed floors looking down almost 150 meters onto the building’s lower span. The lower span contains a museum showing the history of the city, and a video exhibit predicting the city’s future.
The ground floor is designed to include a museum that tells the story of the development of the city and a presentation of everything related to Dubai. The concept takes the visitor on a journey through time, where visitors enter into an immersive experience representing the Past history of the city. Projections, mist effects, smells, and motion create the immersive mood setting of the space. The Past Dubai Gallery embodies the idea of the project and tells the story of the evolution of the city and its past, and shows the old city using the latest means of presentation with 3D images that contributes to the creation of a favorable environment that suits the comprehensive boom witnessed by the city of Dubai.
After that, the visitors are directed to the second experience on the Sky Deck level that represents the Present of Dubai. The visitors will be experiencing uninterrupted views of Dubai from all sides, Old Dubai to the north, and New Dubai to the south. This is supported by interactive applications such as augmented reality activated screens, whereby the visitor can identify different buildings and land marks, by exploring interesting facts or observing buildings and landmarks in 3D. Modern technologies are used to represent different aspects of the present Dubai, such as architecture, economy and infrastructure. The next experience is on the other side of the mezzanine level, where the visitor can see the Future Dubai Gallery. The concept of this gallery is to depict Dubai 50 years from now into the future by creating a virtual metropolis through interactive projections and virtual reality technology.
The Frame opened in January 2018.
In December 2016, the architect Fernando Donis filed suit in the U.S court system against the Municipality of Dubai and ThyssenKrupp Elevator. In his suit, Donis claims that he has not received either a contract or compensation for his design, despite it being currently under construction. As of 2018, the architect and the Municipality of Dubai were engaged in a legal dispute over ownership of the copyright for the building
PHOTOS BY DAVE GEORGE PHOTOGRAPHY
Dave is a passionate diver & ocean photographer that learnt his craft underwater, before taking a camera on land His goal is to try and tell the stories & emotions of the ocean, the ‘alien’ world that exists right next to our own
Was this article helpful?