Dubai is a double-edged sword. At once there is an encounter with tarnished terrain. A lucid lagoon of baroness turned hard-scape; an impenetrable reality of unprecedented scales. The other reality, a more global and serious one, deals with the question of the permanency of architecture now. Dubai garners the wealth to exploit construction at a never-before-seen rate, bypassing values like craftsmanship (the lack of which is a ubiquitous problem), durability and poignantly, adoption. The fate of architecture is to become fragile, subjects of Warhol's "fame" then forced into the shadows of its newer, more "world's biggest" successor on some other terrain vague in another part of the city with a function bound to a state of negligence. The landscape and its migrant labourers that set stone upon it have to—admirably and muted—handle the changes to their existence to the point that what really is at stake is survival.
Most of contemporary urban planning is dedicated to (re-)solving problems. Despite being "young", Dubai is no exception. It is centre-less and preparing for more major expansions. Politically, the UAE is inherently undemocratic.This project explores ways to restore democracy by proposing numerous urban centres (Activity Nodes) to minimise the distance that commuters are required to travel. In the case of Dubai now, the inconvenience of travel outweighs the need for travel. The concentration of development within designated Activity Nodes places particular emphasis on public transport over the development of peripheral suburbs dependant on the car.
Common to each node is a structure whose role as a leitmotif forms the framework for Dubai to regenerate. This 'entosurb' (from entos- "within, inside" + urbs (gen. urbis) "city."), is a system of common spaces for meeting and decision making, and private living spaces with the aim of minimising the environmental impact on the Earth's surface. Each entosurb has the common program of being housing for construction workers, a component of local government and a third program suited its locality (in this project the third program developed is a workers union: something of which is illegal in the UAE).
Location of the "Dubai: Home Away From Home" in Dubai, UAE.
View "Dubai: Home Away From Home" in a larger map.
The city is marketed on impression, not reality, on seven stars not hidden labour camps, and on "life unlimited" and not because the Emirates is one of the biggest energy consumers and carbon dioxide emitters per capita on the planet.
The proposed infastructure forms dense, vertical activity centres allowing the propogation of interstitial green and baron sand spaces.
Distant view from Sheikh Zayed Road.
The composition of a Entosurb. Housing: The houses are distributed around the Entosurb which are accessible by platforms and retrieved by cable. Each house has water, and electricity drawn from solar panels.
Local Government. Local decisions about the upkeep of each Activity Centre is made here. The worker can also migrate from the Union platform below to voice their opinions directly to the Government.
Upper level plan: Housing for Construction Workers.