Dubai: Looking Back At the Future

BY Pooja Bhatia / Jun 22 2017 / 19:55 PM

Alserkal Avenue hosts Dr Ruben Garcia Rubio and Dr. Tiziano Aglieri Rinella for Dubai’s Architecture: Captivating Cityscapes, a lecture organised by ArtExperts+ that explores Dubai’s fascinating urban planning process

Dubai: Looking Back At the Future
Dubai Marina Skyline
Dubai: Looking Back At the Future
Dr. Tiziano Aglieri Rinella, Founder of ArtExperts+ Dilyara Amin, and Dr Ruben Garcia Rubio

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tourist or a long time resident of this city, you won’t fail to be amazed at the incredible transformation of the bustling modern metropolis of Dubai. Dubai’s Architecture: Captivating Cityscapes gave us an informative look at the driving forces of the architecture and at the icons that created this city. The lecture hall was filled to the brim, with attendees sitting on the floor and on chairs outside the door as the seats filled up. They were not disappointed for their troubles; the next hour was filled with insightful glimpses of Dubai’s past, present, and future.

The lecture was divided into five parts that took us through a journey of time, back to when the city was at a crossroads between more commercial countries, and the sprawling architecture was nothing but a dream in HH Rashid Al Maktoum’s mind. During the 1950s, he hired John Harris, a relatively unknown British architect in those times, and together they developed Dubai’s first Master Plan. From the very beginning, Harris’ plan took into consideration the climate of the city, and showed remarkably forward-thinking ideas. He then went on to create landmarks like Dubai Hospital, Rashid Hospital, National Bank of Dubai, and The World Trade Center, all of which were shining examples of modern and functional architecture in those times, and are still renowned today.

Dr Rubio proceeded to highlight more celebrated buildings and key figures in Dubai’s past, like The Sheraton Hotel by Rader Mileto Associates, SAS Radisson by Neuhaus & Taylor and 3D International, and The Hyatt by Neuhaus & Taylor, which was the first mixed-purpose building in Dubai. He also pointed out icons like The Dubai Creek Golf Club and Emirates Golf Club, the latter of which nods to a traditional appeal by imitating a Bedouin tent in its design.

New Dubai played a role in the lecture as the talk moved on to emphasise the European aesthetic of DIFC, the unique design of the Opus Building, the iconic sail-shaped Burj al Arab, and of course, the towering Burj Khalifa. Attendees also peered into the future as the innovative designs of the Creative Community d3 and the Expo 2020 site were discussed.

Guests were given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session, and the speakers were happy to offer their knowledge and opinions on queries ranging from the influence of automobiles on the city to the environmentally friendly guidelines it follows. At the end of the night, the audience was left with a better perspective on Dubai’s architectural milestones and impacts.

Dubai’s Architecture: Captivating Cityscapes arranged by ArtExperts+ and was held on 20 June at the A4 Space, Alserkal Avenue. For more information, please visit or email