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Words for Dubai:

climbing, reaching, fast, desert, luxury, comfort, fulgent, ease, lonely, dynamic, dazzling, lights, larger-than-life, alive, sand, prosperity, international, air conditioned, ethnic, spurious, malls, shopping, novelty, sky scrapers, dramatic, soaring, touristic, luminous, competition, young, stimulating, ostentatious, ultra progressive, ultra conservative, expatsIMG_5107

Marina walkIMG_5105

Creativity in urban architecture: spiraled skyscraper

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Blue skies, blue windows.  Made me jealous of the window washers propelling down the sides of these towers with their squeegees and buckets of suds

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The Great Burj

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Burj Khalifa showing his dreamy side

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How others compare to him

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…But when he is not in their periphery, they’re kind of lovelyIMG_5209

The Burj being modest and making himself look small next to C’s finger

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View of Dubai as seen from Floor 124, after a ride up the world’s fastest elevator #poppingears and an Indian man reading each floor out loud as we went….basically counting from 1-124 in a very loud, very fast voice while his wife looked mortified and tried to shush him.

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…But even from Floor 124, there’s still a few skyscrapers’ height above us

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Burj Khalifa is truly magnificent.  The project, the team, the timeframe, the architecture, the innovative experiments, the imagination required to create this breath-taking tower is quite mind-blowing.  It was good to see that these kind of immense undertakings that demand so many hands and brains and skills still take place.

A couple of months ago I took a walk through Central Park with a friend, and we were discussing the making of Central Park and the wonderful detail of it and the solidarity required for such a collective project.  I remember feeling sad afterwards and writing to C about what a project it was to create that, and how perhaps capitalism has highlighted functionality and individuality and competition over everything else, so there’s no room for those types of cultural initiatives that require so many people working together. I mean, wow!! In Bethesda Terrace, the staircase is divided into four sections that represent the four seasons, and all the stonework reflects the celebration
of the seasons. In the wall overlooking the fountains below, there are
little orbs set into the stone, and each have a different design because Olmstead (the architect of Central Park) allowed each of the commissioned Irish stoneworkers to leave their signature in the stone by creating whatever design they wanted in those little circles. The production!! I remember asking C if we still have such huge endeavors that involve so many people working together to create something that’s simply beautiful and there for purely aesthetic purposes.  Perhaps I am ill-informed, but I don’t really see it anymore.

But seeing Burj Khalifa was really stunning in that regard. It gave me goosebumps to emerge from the elevator after descending the tower, to walk down a hall lined with huge photos of many of the architects, project directors, plumbers, electricians, engineers, cleaners, designers, foremen, etc who had each played a crucial role in the building process.  An aerial view of Burj Khalifa shows how it resembles a flower from above, with many pedals spread out around the stem.  From below, you only see the multi-leveled stems leaping up from the base and growing gradually taller and taller until they drop off and the center juts upward, and when it cannot go further it is completed by a 200 meter spire.

Although the pace and dazzle of the city overwhelmed and estranged me, I suspended my own preferences as best I could, and marveled to see such proof that we humans are still moving forward and struggling to see our hopes and dreams materialize in tangible and remarkable audacity.