Guardian: Dubai, the soaring folly, is doomed - Spear's Magazine

Guardian: Dubai, the soaring folly, is doomed

Hovering over Dubai is a cloud called nemesis. The first time I saw the place two years ago through a plane window, its towers were hovering in the heat over the desert, gulping up water and energy and fussed round by reputedly a quarter of the world’s construction cranes. Even then the vision was unmistakable, of Ozymandias and his “vast and trunkless legs of stone”.

From the Guardian:

By Simon Jenkins

Hovering over Dubai is a cloud called nemesis. The first time I saw the place two years ago through a plane window, its towers were hovering in the heat over the desert, gulping up water and energy and fussed round by reputedly a quarter of the world’s construction cranes. Even then the vision was unmistakable, of Ozymandias and his “vast and trunkless legs of stone”.

When prices go up, buildings go up. When prices come down, buildings tend to stay up. Until recently visitors to Dubai returned gasping. This was truly a city designed from start to finish by autocrats and architects. It was the last word in iconic overkill, a festival of egotism with humanity denied. It was an architectural chorus line of towers, each shouting louder and kicking higher. People were ants.

Dubai must have as many publicists as it has towers. Business and travel journalists in need of a freebie can just call. So, too, did a stage army of British writers who went to last month’s Dubai International Festival of Literature, pretending to discover that it was not a free country (and practises censorship) only after being installed in their luxury rooms. A “tower of Babel” of a place “with neither charm nor character”, declared an ungrateful Germaine Greer.

Even as the property market turned sour last autumn, the vast Atlantis hotel, built for $1.5bn with a whale shark in its swimming pool, was spending $20m on its launch party. Yet still the supplements and television contra-deals spluttered their superlatives – recently from a near-hysterical Piers Morgan. Every time the builder of the tallest tower in the world, the monster of Burj Dubai, sees the local ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum, he is told to add more storeys for fear someone else may build an even taller one.

To read the full article, visit guardian.co.uk
 



 

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