Top 10 UAE construction projects that opened in 2017
From museums to government-promoted 'smart' stations, 2017 saw the launch of exceptional projects in the Emirates
2017 saw the launch of numerous innovative projects in the UAE.
From cultural projects such as museums and galleries to 'smart' versions of government facilities, including police stations, the year saw a raft of technology- and environment-friendly developments being unveiled in the country.
In the following pages, Construction Week rounds up, in chronological order, the top 10 projects of note that were launched in the country this year.
1. Etihad Museum
The year began with the official launch of Etihad Museum, which opened to the public on 7 January, 2017.
Designed by Moriyana & Teshima Architects and located next to the historic Union House on the Dubai waterfront, the museum honours the 1971 signing of the document that created the UAE, and celebrates the culture and history of its people.
READ MORE: Top five museum projects in the UAE
Etihad Museum's complex extends across the Union House building, a 123m flag pole, and a parking building with a 100-car capacity, with an additional 100 outdoor parking spots.
Dubai-based construction group ASGC (formerly known as Al Shafar General Contracting) was awarded a $133m contract to build the project – also referred to as Union Museum – by the emirate's Roads and Transport Authority in March 2015.
2. Trump International Golf Club Dubai at Damac Hills
Damac Properties inagurated its Trump International Golf Club Dubai at Damac Hills this February, in the presence of Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
The 7,205-yard, par-71 course is located 10 minutes away from Sheikh Zayed Road, within the 390ha Damac Hills master development.
Architect Gil Hanse, who also designed the course for the 2016 Olympics, designed the 18-hole golf course.
The golf course includes a club house, which is the largest of its kind in Dubai and features an infinity pool, a wellness centre, and a high-end golf pro shop.
3. Emaar's Address Boulevard hotel
Emaar Hospitality Group opened its luxury hotel, Address Boulevard, in Downtown Dubai this March.
The hotel comprises 196 rooms, including 116 deluxe rooms, 44 deluxe club rooms, 28 one-bedroom suites, seven two-bedroom suites, and a presidential suite.
In addition, there are 532 serviced apartments including duplexes and two penthouses within the hotel.
This November, Emaar Hospitality Group announced that has more than 7,500 hotel rooms currently under development across local and international markets.
In total, the firm boasts 10,000 hotel rooms, with more than 2,500 already operational across its 11 hotels in Dubai, and 30 upcoming projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey, and the Maldives.
The under-construction rooms are spread over three hotel brands including the Address Hotels + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts, and Rove Hotels.
4. First solar-powered gas station
The UAE's first solar-powered petrol station, developed by Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), was inaugurated in Dubai this April.
Situated on the city's Sheikh Zayed Road, the facility is covered with solar panels that can generate up to 120 kilowatt hours of energy.
The figure represents 30% more energy than the station would need, with the excess power directed towards the city's electric grid.
It is planned that the station will reduce CO2 emissions by 195 million metric tonnes each year.
5. UAE's first-ever 3D printing factory
The UAE's first 3D printing factory was launched by Immensa Technology Labs this June.
Immensa is known for its additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing capabilities.
The facility features eight 3D printing systems, and offers more than 30 materials for production.
Immensa's factory is "equipped to build and manufacture production-quality parts, components, and one-off prototypes for customers across a variety of industries", according to a company statement.
Some of the technologies used at the laboratory include selective laser sintering (SLS), stereolithography (SLA), extrusion (FDM), and material jetting.
6. Youth hub in Dubai's Emirates Towers
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated a youth hub in Emirates Towers this September.
He was accompanied by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Both called for the replication of the centre in other parts of the country.
The youth centre was designed by a group of designers younger than 30 and offers facilities for journalists, entrepreneurs, researchers, programmers, and gamers.
Aimed at those who are below the age of 30, the centre has an annual calendar of events and programmes, including classes and workshops, and features meeting rooms, areas for youth projects, a library, a theatre, a workshop area, and a studio for creative productions, according to Dubai Media Office.
7. World's first-ever smart police service centre
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the world’s first smart police services centre in Dubai this September.
The centre will operate round the clock to provide 27 services to the public. These will cover traffic, criminal, and community services, as well as 33 full automated sub-services, UAE state news agency, WAM, reported.
According to the news agency, Sheikh Mohammed instructed the Dubai Police to open more centres in residential and commercial districts in Dubai to provide smart services.
Sheikh Mohammed also highlighted the importance of facilitating easy access and communication between the public and the police.
8. UAE's first hydrogen refuelling station
Al-Futtaim Motors, the distributor of Toyota and the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in the UAE, inaugurated the UAE’s first hydrogen re-fuelling station, in partnership with France’s Air Liquide, a leading provider of hydrogen technology this October.
Located at Dubai Festival City, the hydrogen station will enable the expansion of a fuel cell vehicle pilot programme – announced in January 2017 at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and beginning in May 2017 – aiming at testing the utility of the zero-emission technology on UAE roads.
Bertrand Thiebaut, senior managing director of Al-Futtaim Motors and senior VP of the Al-Futtaim Automotive Group, explained: “The pilot which started with only three Toyota Mirai vehicles, will soon expand to involve a larger fleet that will be tested by key stakeholders in the UAE.
“With the inauguration of the UAE’s first hydrogen station in partnership with Air Liquide, we are one step closer to a low-carbon society, as we work towards a concrete contribution to a cleaner air, in line with the Government’s green agenda.”
9. Louvre Abu Dhabi opens after 10-year scheme
The Louvre Abu Dhabi officially opened its doors to the public on 11 November, 2017, after 10 years of construction challenges and delays.
The museum was initially scheduled to open in 2012 after breaking ground three years earlier within Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, the up-and-coming cultural district of the city.
But the project had faced its fair share of setbacks, being delayed three times – first in 2015, then again to mid-2016 before finally being scheduled for a November 2017 opening date.
In 2013, construction of the main phase of the Louvre Abu Dhabi was awarded to an Arabtec-led joint venture that included Construction San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi LLC, with the section completing a year later.
10. Dubai Safari officially launched
Dubai Safari, the emirate's newest tourist attraction, lured 14,000 visitors during the first two days of its soft opening.
The wildlife park saw 4,000 visitors on its first day and 10,000 on its second day of opening after its soft launch on 12 December, 2017.
READ MORE: Dubai Safari to cover nearly 400 acres
The park is due to open fully to the public in January 2018, but entry is free for the first two weeks.
Arabian Business reported that the park is open daily from 9am to 5pm during the soft opening phase but hours will be extended to 9pm following the official launch.