In a first step toward preserving the development history of Dubai, the city has begun earmarking buildings for heritage status, including the first skyscraper in a metropolis now defined by them.
The push is part of the new Modern Heritage program aimed at protecting the mid-20th century architecture that ushered in the city’s rapid development. Dubai’s first library and one of its first downtown hospitals are also on the proposed shortlist.
The initiative is headed by the city’s planning department and the architectural heritage department, and will focus on buildings from the ’60s and ’70s, when Dubai entered a period of stunning growth.
Built in 1979 and standing at 489 feet tall, the 39-story Dubai World Trade Centre held the title of the city’s tallest building until 1999. The hulking monument to modernism is considered to be the first skyscraper in Dubai and marked a turning point in the city’s standing on the world stage.
The list, which is only in a preliminary stage, also includes the Deira Clocktower, the Al Ras Library, the Al Baraha Hospital, and the Al Khuloud Nursery. Each building showcases a distinct architectural style that creates the foundation on which Dubai has pushed forth its development.
The discovery of oil in Dubai during the 1960s spurred its rapid growth into a global destination, with the city’s rising architectural standing playing a big part. Since 2010, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa has been the world’s tallest building, standing at 2,717 feet tall.