Dubai is a city full of emblems. Rather than adding another one, we propose to frame them all: to frame the city. Instead of building a massive structure, the purpose of this project is to build a void. This void of 150 meters by 105 meters will continuously frame the development of the past, current and future Dubai. It will become the structure that celebrates yet constrains the city. Opposed to the complexity in architecture, the Dubai Frame would become the most simple yet extraordinary archetype; maximization of the post-and-lintel principle. As architecture is about framing space, this will be its epitome. The Dubai Frame is a sustainable structure, easy to build and maintain, yet with an incomparable presence in the city; an anti-icon. The Dubai Frame, conceived and titled by DONIS, was selected as the winner of the ThyssenKrupp Elevator International Award 2009. For the competition a total of 926 design proposals were presented and evaluated by an experienced panel of judges. Participants from all over the world were required to propose an emblem that would promote “the new face for Dubai”.
Post competition
Unfortunately Dubai Municipality is infringing the UNESCO-UIA (International Union of Architects) regulations they promoted together with ThyssenKrupp during the competition stage- the first time in history since UNESCO commissioned the UIA in 1956 to ensure respect for International standards in the launch and operation of international and urban planning competitions. The following competition rules as agreed and promoted by Dubai Municipality during the competition have been breached or disregarded:
UNESCO-UIA Copyright: ‘The author of the preliminary design placed first will keep his copyright.’ [C.15 Copyright / Competition regulations]
Contract: ‘The author’s work may only be used by the Dubai Municipality when he has signed the corresponding contract for drafting the corresponding design with the former.’ [C.15 Copyright / Competition regulations]
Design changes: The Dubai Municipality has transformed the design without the participation of its author. Article 29 of the UNESCO regulations stipulates that ‘no alterations may be made without the author’s formal consent’. Dubai Municipality is building the project, transforming it from a modern monument to a post-modern figurative photo-frame. Dubai Municipality gave DONIS no opportunity to meet with the team of consultants and/or local architect to discuss the potential of the project and jointly integrate the needs of the client. Despite of having confirmed in writing that DONIS would develop and follow up the project, the Dubai Municipality offered at the end an unreasonable contract, where we would need to sign off the UNESCO copyrights, and without being able to neither develop nor publish our project in any manner. No contract or payment has been signed, yet Dubai Municipality took the Dubai Frame project. After repeated appeals for five years by the architect, the UIA-UNESCO, the governments of The Netherlands and Mexico, Dubai Municipality refused to respond.