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ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award 2009

by Jeff Roberts on May 12, 2009


Dubai Frame by Fernando Donis of the Netherlands.
Dubai Frame by Fernando Donis of the Netherlands.
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Was the ThyssenKrupp award a wasted opportunity?

Responding to a call for a “new emblem structure to add to the face of Dubai”, an international jury selected Fernando Donis’ Dubai Frame as the winner of the 11th edition of the ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award.

In a selection process that spanned 13 months, 2967 teams comprising 4651 architects from 106 countries were admitted to participate in the competition. Just 926 projects made it to the official reception period and, of those submissions, 106 were approved and included in a worldwide online poll in March 2009. From the results of the poll, 62 projects were returned to the jury for final consideration and, after a two-day jury workshop, five winners were announced on May 6, 2009.

Entrants to the 2009 competition were asked to design a new ‘Tall Emblem Structure’ for Dubai’s Za’abeel Park. According to the brief put forth by ThyssenKrupp Elevator, the new emblem needed to add to the new face of Dubai by promoting tourism, while also providing a venue for recreational, scientific and cultural activities.



In order of award, the successful proposals included: Fernando Donis of the Netherlands for Dubai Frame (Winner); Luo Siwei of China for Magic Mirror (2nd Place); Alejandro Rios of Spain for The Mirage (3rd Place); Ferran Yusta of the Netherlands & Marta Pozo of France for Big Beam (3rd Place); Hongbo Lu of Canada for The Flying Colors of Dubai.

“Rather than compete with the city, the Dubai Frame intends to do the opposite: simply to frame it,” explained the winning Donis team. “Rather than building a massive structure, the purpose of this project is to build a void.”

The original jury consisted of 11 international architects — two of whom were ill for the deciding meeting and one (Zaha Hadid) pulled out altogether — 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 H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum were listed as ‘honorary’ jurors.

By way of selection rationale, Rafael de la Hoz, renowned Spanish architect and jury member offered this: “The winning project proposes a ‘frame’ whose principal quality is not in its colossal dimensions but in its measured simplicity and rectangular proportions…what should be memorable could not be a single icon of the city but rather the city itself. In other words, Dubai.”



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