Dubai Residential High-Rises: Typology, Uniqueness, Tendencies, and Prospects of Development

Elena Generalova
PhD Architecture, Professor, Department of Residential and Civic Architecture
Samara State Technical University, Samara

This presentation is devoted to the contemporary typology of Dubai high-rise housing under the conditions of a polycentric city, and to an attempt to single out the criteria for “the high life” in Dubai. These issues are becoming more and more urgent due to the growing interest in tall housing. Until 2000, for more than 100 years of tall construction history, 1,110 buildings with a height of 150 meters or greater were built worldwide. Among these, office buildings dominate; residential buildings make up only 13 percent of the total. In the 21st century, in only 17 years, 3,104 buildings of 150 meters or greater have been built, and the percentage of residential buildings has grown to 44. With this background of worldwide interest in tall housing, the typology of Dubai high-rise housing deserves a closer look, because it has been formed in a very short period, practically from zero and under unique natural and climatic conditions.

The world history of high-rise construction started at the end of the 19th century. The first Dubai skyscraper was built 90 years later in 1979. In 38 years, 176 buildings 150 meters or higher were built, with residential tall buildings making up 52 percent of this number. High-rise housing in Dubai is unique for the intensity of its “vertical race,” which can be seen by comparing the following figures: eight supertall (300-meter-plus) residential buildings out of the total 15 such structures existing in the modern world are located in Dubai (and seven buildings are among the 10 highest residential buildings in the world). In this presentation this tendency and its impact on life quality are analyzed.