Welcome to our online store!
You have no items in your basket.
Close
Filters
Search

Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai

Author/EditorReisz, Todd (Author)
ISBN: 9781503609884
Pub Date27/10/2020
BindingHardback
Pages416
Dimensions (mm)229(h) * 152(w)
$43.24
excluding shipping
Availability: 1 In Stock
+ -

Staggering skylines and boastful architecture make Dubai famous-this book traces them back to a twentieth-century plan for survival.


In 1959, experts agreed that if Dubai was to become something more than an unruly port, a plan was needed. Specifically, a town plan was prescribed to fortify the city from obscurity and disorder. With the proverbial handshake, Dubai's ruler hired British architect John Harris to design Dubai's strategy for capturing the world's attention-and then its investments.


Showpiece City recounts the story of how Harris and other hired professionals planned Dubai's spectacular transformation through the 1970s. Drawing on exclusive interviews, private archives, dog-eared photographs, and previously overlooked government documents, Todd Reisz reveals the braggadocio and persistence that sold Dubai as a profitable business plan. Architecture made that plan something to behold. Reisz highlights initial architectural achievements-including the city's first hospital, national bank, and skyscraper-designed as showpieces to proclaim Dubai's place on the world stage.


Reisz explores the overlooked history of a skyline that did not simply rise from the sands. In the city's earliest modern architecture, he finds the foundations of an urban survival strategy of debt-wielding brinkmanship and constant pitch making. Dubai became a testing ground for the global city-and prefigured how urbanization now happens everywhere.

Staggering skylines and boastful architecture make Dubai famous-this book traces them back to a twentieth-century plan for survival.


In 1959, experts agreed that if Dubai was to become something more than an unruly port, a plan was needed. Specifically, a town plan was prescribed to fortify the city from obscurity and disorder. With the proverbial handshake, Dubai's ruler hired British architect John Harris to design Dubai's strategy for capturing the world's attention-and then its investments.


Showpiece City recounts the story of how Harris and other hired professionals planned Dubai's spectacular transformation through the 1970s. Drawing on exclusive interviews, private archives, dog-eared photographs, and previously overlooked government documents, Todd Reisz reveals the braggadocio and persistence that sold Dubai as a profitable business plan. Architecture made that plan something to behold. Reisz highlights initial architectural achievements-including the city's first hospital, national bank, and skyscraper-designed as showpieces to proclaim Dubai's place on the world stage.


Reisz explores the overlooked history of a skyline that did not simply rise from the sands. In the city's earliest modern architecture, he finds the foundations of an urban survival strategy of debt-wielding brinkmanship and constant pitch making. Dubai became a testing ground for the global city-and prefigured how urbanization now happens everywhere.

Todd Reisz lives in Amsterdam and is an architect and writer. His work has been featured in The Guardian, Architectural Design, and Artforum. He has taught architectural and urban design at Yale University and Harvard University.

Contents and AbstractsPrologue: Here's a Plan chapter abstractThe prologue establishes the themes and kinds of characters present in the rest of the book. An introduction is given to the British architect whose work and career in Dubai provide the historical lens through which to examine Dubai's twentieth-century expansion. For his work to have made an impact, a stage had to be set by colonial officers, engineers, and contractors. 1Bustle chapter abstractIn 1954, the British government opened political offices in Dubai. The chapter establishes both the continuity and change the move represented, in relation to the British intervention reaching back at least to 1819. Dubai and its port are portrayed as how one would have been experienced them in the mid-1950s. More information is given over the political dynamics at hand in Dubai at the time, shaped by the British government, the ruling Maktoum family, and a somewhat organized faction of Dubai's wealthiest merchants. The second political agent, Peter Tripp, founds the Trucial States Development Office as a means to prompt visible change that appealed to all three parties. 2Landscapes for Production chapter abstractChapter 2 focuses on two of Peter Tripp's efforts to produce the visible changes on Dubai's urban landscape that would convince all parties involved to become further invested. He first organized the arrival of an Iraqi "municipal expert," Abdul Salam Er Raouf , who was Dubai's first foreign consultant paid for by the ruler. The second effort was his writing the initial script for a propaganda film about Dubai and the other Trucial States (These Are the Trucial States). The film follows the various development programs Tripp had struggled to get going. In contrast to reality, he portrayed them in the film treatment as active and successful, so that they might come true. His efforts to focus on photogenic development projects were trumped by a recently begun effort to reinforce Dubai's harbor. 3Hardened Edges chapter abstractBased on British-government documents, the chapter links the travels and ordeals of a group of stateless pilgrims who arrive in the Trucial States with the start of a significant engineering scheme on Dubai's harbor, which landed the city's leader in perilous debt. As with millions after them, the pilgrims sought economic gain based upon the stories of Dubai's profitable future. Dubai's most significant infrastructure project to date was financed by Sheikh Rashid's becoming a significant debtor. The British engineering firm Halcrow began its long and profitable career in manipulating Dubai's landscape for economic gain. 4Taking Measures: 1960 Dubai Town Plan chapter abstractDubai's third political agent, Donald Hawley, convinces Dubai's ruler to hire a town planner, perhaps based on his discussion with British architect John Harris in London. The chapter examines how the British government defined the importance of a town plan and how that interest did not seem to take into account the established professional tradition in urban planning in London. After a jumbled selection process, John Harris is selected to create Dubai's first town plan. He produces the plan in 1960 after a nine-day stay in the city. Through an alternative history, the town plan's unadopted prescriptions are explored. The proposal immediately faces opposition within the British government but ultimately is carried out by the team of experts Hawley has assembled in Dubai. 5Piecemeal: Al Maktoum Hospital chapter abstractAl Maktoum Hospital predated British architect John Harris's arrival in Dubai; however, even before completing the town plan, he was preparing proposals for the complex's expansion. Before Dubai's hospital, he had already been commissioned to complete multimillion-dollar hospitals in Qatar and Kuwait. His budget for Dubai was a mere fraction of the others. Harris's plan for the hospital, completed before the funding was even near to be conf

Write your own review
  • Only registered users can write reviews
*
*
Bad
Excellent
*
*
*
)
CLOSE