DIFC's new headquarters to break ground soon



The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has appointed Gensler & Associates to design the “DIFC Gate” building, which will be the Headquarters for the DIFC and will symbolically serve as the gateway to the new Dubai Financial District.

At the beginning of August 2002 the DIFC revealed that it was undertaking a global design competition to fast track the development of the DIFC Gate building. Seven best-of-breed firms were shortlist and asked to present their vision for the building that will become Dubai’s latest landmark. According to Marwan Al Felasi, Projects Manager for DIFC Real Estate Development, while the competition was fierce, Gensler’s design vision delivered a structure that is truly iconic, expressing the core values of the DIFC, while at the same time providing a practical and state-of-the-art working environment. (Artist impression of the winning design is attached).

Mr Al Felasi went on to explain that the winning design is a contemporary interpretation of the “Arc De Triomphe” in Paris. It will rise fifteen floors above a podium that will house retail and parking facilities. A composition of solid stone and stainless steel will form the main arch, while transparent glazed elements will emphasis the open space created at the centre of the building. The top of the arch will be expressed by open steel lattice to symbolize transparency, the cornerstone of the DIFC offering.

As well as accommodating the offices of the DIFC, the DIFC Gate will house the Regulatory Authority and Regional Financial Exchange, as well as offering office accommodation for other financial institutions and businesses. Mr Al Felasi added that construction is expected to begin in December 2002 and is scheduled for completion by early 2004. Commenting on this appointment, Chris Johnson, Managing Director of Gensler’s London office said; “We are very pleased to be given the opportunity to design this prestigious landmark building, the first in the new Dubai Financial District. This project has given us a fantastic opportunity to create cutting-edge, high quality architecture in a progressive and dynamic city that will lead the way for the new DIFC development.”

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