Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Paul Goldberger on Dubai

The architecture critic writes:

The Burj Khalifa, like most super-tall skyscrapers, looks best from afar, and, certainly, it can’t do much to mitigate the real horror of Dubai, which isn’t the fact that most of the towers look gaudy on the sky line but that they are wretched at street level. This is a city that has grown with utter hostility to the idea of the street. The main commercial thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road, lined with skyscrapers, is a twelve-lane highway. It’s impossible to get anywhere here without a car, and there is no place to walk except inside a mall. The city is completing a transit system, and there are some strikingly handsome, glass-enclosed elevated stations, but it is an idealized version of a Western-style metro, dropped onto an urban plan designed solely for the automobile; it’s hard to believe that it will make much difference. The biggest group of pedestrians I saw in five days was on the promenade outside the Dubai Mall, where people gather to look across an artificial lagoon at the Burj Khalifa while watching fountains dance to Middle Eastern music. To them, the Burj is a backdrop for a show.

I couldn't say it better myself.

1 comment:

John said...

Can't wait to visit Dubai. I'm excited to see these skycrapers.