The GCC is constantly at the forefront of architecture that marvels the world. From the iconic Burj Khalifa in the UAE to the luxurious Kingdom Centre in Saudi Arabia, the region has moved on from lush landscaping designs to initiatives that closely contribute to sustainable solutions. Here’s our pick of the top 5 architectural masterpieces to watch out.
- Cityland Mall, UAE
Set to become the world’s first nature-inspired shopping destination, the $400m project comprises of a botanical garden spread across 18,600 square meters, and over 350-stores that span across 1,125,000 square feet. The 200,000 square-foot botanical garden, titled Central Park, will form the mall's core and will feature a miniature version of the Miracle Garden, a miniature water park, a rooftop garden, restaurants and cafes, and several species of rare flora. Businesses surrounding the green space will accommodate a second layer of trees and gardens on their rooftops. The skylights and facades are made from high energy efficient glass which has reduced running power costs. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
- Jeddah Tower, Saudi Arabia
Another world’s ‘tallest’ in the making, the Jeddah Tower project worth over $20b is projected to be at least 1,000 meters high with 200 floors that would comprise of a 200 room hotel along with residential apartments. The tower will feature a stunning viewing deck allowing visitors to walk around the ‘sky terrace’, which would also be the highest observatory in the world, standing above 600 meters and overlooking the Red Sea. Elevators serving the observatory will travel at a rate of 10 meters per second in both directions. The tower will also contain 59 elevators, including 54 single-deck and five double elevators, along with 12 escalators, and will be 50 floors higher than Burj Khalifa! The project is currently on-hold, visit this link to find out more on the progress.
- Madinat Al Hareer, Kuwait
Currently in-design, the multi-phased 250 square kilometers mega-project is worth over $86b and due to be completed over a 25-year period, with construction to begin by May 2025. With Kuwait’s Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway already marked as the world’s longest bridge, watch out for Kuwait Madinat Al Hareer - the city will be divided into four main districts: Educational City, Finance City, Leisure City and Ecological City. The development will include an Olympic Stadium, residences, hotels, retail facilities, and much more.The ecological section includes national parks and reservations for wild animals and rare planets as well as nature reserves for immigrating birds from Central Asia and Africa. Part of the megacity project, Mubarak Al Kabir Tower which is set to be the tallest in Kuwait and a centrepiece of the Arab region will boast a height of 1,001 meters (the number is said to be an intentional tribute to the all-time famous folk tales’ collection 1001 Arabian Nights) and is going to comprise 234 floors with the capacity to house 7,000 people!
- Bahrain Marina, Bahrain
Dubbed as the iconic world-class facility, the Bahrain Marina Development Project ($975m) will adopt a modern urban design and will comprise of state-of-the-art residential, entertainment, leisure and marina facilities. The mixed-use project will include a five-star luxury hotel and serviced apartments along with freehold apartments and waterfront villas, and more. To depict Bahrain’s full potential as an enriching cultural destination, design company Benoy was asked to transform the underdeveloped area to a lifestyle destination that involved replacing the oldest yacht club in the GCC to a modernized urban destination. To protect the marina’s heritage while creating a new legacy, the design of the facade was inspired from the traditional Bahraini sailing dhow. This framework according to Benoy architects enabled them to design the waterfront that combined contemporary and luxurious architecture.
- Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre
The $1.8b project will be constructed in various phases, with 86% of construction work nearly completed for Phase 1. Design company WATG designed the centre with a contemporary and sophisticated look - A concept that recognizes the needs of international visitors, inspiring businesses to come to Oman, and to welcome foreign delegates in a design-oriented environment that represents the future in a contemporary way. The design of the mixed use project also balances the lush urban landscape with the natural landscape thus preserving the existing wadi. The project is set for completion by 2021.
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