Fueled by vast liquidity, Dubai's boomtown development has stimulated and accommodated growth more aggressively than any other city outside China.
In just 20 years, Dubai has masterfully transformed itself from modest trade port to manufacturing hub, to what is now a tourism and service-oriented international city.
Its next move aims to cultivate a robust, secure economy to match its global stature.
By 2015 the "City of Gold" is targeting its non-oil-related GDP to be 95 percent.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is the keystone of Dubai's drive to build a diversified economy and an environment to attract investors and inhabitants.
"We had to create an environment where a senior banker would want to locate," says Ian Mulcahey, Gensler lead planner for Europe and the Middle East.
"That's how our idea of a 'banking resort' was conceived, with a vital sense of place and a well-judged underlying framework."
Packing 20 million square feet of new development onto 100 acres, the master plan creates a coherent urban fabric, integrating office development with supporting infrastructure of leisure and residential.
Climate-controlled levels below grade mitigate sweltering summers, while above grade, a network of parks and green routes make the site walkable in winter.
The headquarters of the DIFC and focal point of its master plan, The Gate is home to the state's stock exchange and largest commercial office space.
Creating a dialogue with nearby landmark Emirates Towers and Dubai World Trade Centre, the building achieves its gravitas through siting and massing rather than size or swagger.
Delivering hospitality, retail and services to the region's growing investor and tourist class is key to the planning strategy of the Dubai International Financial Centre.
A premier destination for executives, the Ritz-Carlton Dubai, located in the heart of the DIFC, will provide 341 guestrooms and suites, 124 serviced apartments, and 70,000 square feet of retail space.
Lush gardens juxtaposed with a traditional limestone façade give the Ritz-Carlton Dubai a desert oasis feel while reflecting the Ritz's longstanding tradition.
The Dubai International Financial Centre plan establishes a precedent for Dubai's future development; and one that is sustainable in terms of how it manages growth and deals with climate.
The plan builds in flexibility that makes it possible to implement the region's vision in stages, adding entirely new components over time.
What endures are the elements that make this growth and change possible.
Elizabeth Cobb—Gensler Firmwide Communications
Owen Raggett (Gensler—London): page 2
Dubai International Financial Centre Project Team: pages 3 and 4 (left)
Hufton & Crow: pages 4 (right), 5 and 7
Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre Project Team: page 6
*For detailed information, please roll over imagery on individual story pages.
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