DIFC: Global design competition

The DIFC has undergone a global architectural design competition to fast track the development of the “DIFC Gate” Building, which will be the Headquarters for the Dubai International Financial Centre.

To ensure the vision of creating a truly iconic landmark that will be universally recognized as the regional hub for institutional finance, the DIFC opened the competition to leading architectural firms from all over the globe and the region. According to Marwan Al-Felasi, DIFC Real Estate Projects Manager, they issued the request for proposal (RFP) in early July 2002 and have short-listed seven “best-of-breed” firms, including A4, Cox Group, Gensler & Associates International, Kohn Pederson Fox, NORR Group, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and WSW, (for more details see Notes to Editor).  The final decision will be announced soon. 

The building has been dubbed “DIFC Gate” because it will symbolically serve as the gateway to the new Dubai Financial District, positioned at the main entrance adjacent to the Emirates Towers complex. According to Mr Al-Felasi, the orientation will be such that the DIFC Gate will frame the Dubai World Trade Centre building between the Emirates Towers buildings, thus reinforcing Dubai’s historic role as a centre of trade and commerce. The DIFC Gate will resemble a grand archway spanning the main boulevard, dubbed “Gateway”, which will run the length of the Financial District. It is envisioned that the building will be encased in glass, thus portraying complete transparency, which together with integrity and simplicity forms the foundation of the DIFC offering. 

According to Mr Al-Felasi, these founding principles have been integral to the design process. Construction is expected to begin in November 2002.

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