Dubai needs to better preserve its architectural monuments
Are we missing the point by knocking down our cities’ older structures and building shiny new ones in its place?
A city needs monuments in the shape of its architectural landmarks and buildings as much as it needs the newer bits to survive and thrive.
That’s one of the reason’s I simply admire the Dubai Frame. A glance through it from either side reveals the old and new Dubai.
The erstwhile ‘Sana’ building resided not too far away from the Dubai Frame, which was knocked down just a few months ago to make place for a new development. Not much of an architectural marvel, but the Sana building was a well-known landmark for Dubai residents.
Another example of an asset owner deciding to knock down instead of refurbish a building was seen with the Ramada Bur Dubai, where its owners Abjar International decided to pull down the curtains on its operations in 2016 citing the property could not be refurbished.
The Sana building was more than three decades old, as was the Ramada Bur Dubai hotel building.
The Bastakiya area in Bur Dubai is a good example of how the right amount of facilities management and regular refurbishments can make a lasting impression on an asset.
Experts have dabbled with the concept of recycling buildings and changing their purpose much like architects and owners have done in New York City. In some instances consultants are planning the next move for a residential building that’s 120 years. Maybe we could see a bit more of that in the region?
Extreme weather and climatic conditions might have an adverse impact on a structure, but the right amount of energy retrofits, and making buildings adaptive to modern equipment can go a long way.