Traditional buildings for Al Safa

Dubai Municipality launches plan to return to Arabian architecture in an effort to salvage traditional construction

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  November 26, 2005

Dubai Municipality has launched a new housing and recreational project that combines modern and Arabian architecture styles. The project, which will be built in the Al Safa area of Dubai, will cover a massive 100 ha. It will include canals, and a lake surrounded by restaurants, offices and residential complexes. Tenders are about to be released for the development, but contractors will have to follow Municipality designs. “The project, designed to develop a new housing, recreational and work area, is in line with the Municipality’s keenness to support the construction boom in the emirate,” said Qassim Sultan, director general of Dubai Municipality. Inspired by the traditional aflaj (water channel) system, the project will reflect the original architectural heritage of Dubai by a network of small water canals. The Arabian architecture is expected to be well received in Dubai with its predominantly ultra modern buildings. “The architecture in Dubai has become too modern with absolutely no reflection of our Arab culture in it at all,” said Saif Eddin Khodr of Dubai-based Al Fajer Establishment. “It would be nice to see some of that culture salvaged.” The project will include a recreational commercial axis for pedestrians, called the Pedestrian Promenade, to be constructed along an 800-m water canal. The promenade will be the centre point for commercial and recreational activity. Residents will be able to use boats as a mode of transport and leisure. There will be separate areas for cars and pedestrians. The Dubai Executive Council has approved the plan to develop Al Safa with the aim of creating an exemplary environment for housing, work, recreation and shopping activities within the same area. An official at the Municipality said that the work on the infrastructure development of the area, between Al Wasl and Sheikh Zayed Road, would start soon. “We will construct roads, a canal, a lake and promenade and do landscaping,” he said. The cost of the project has not been released. “We have not reached any estimations as yet,” said Hamid Hattal, planning specialist at the Municipality.

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