ARTstor has partnered with ART on FILE to document contemporary architecture in the in the United Arab Emirates. Focusing on the cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, photographers Colleen Chartier and Rob Wilkinson have created approximately 1,000 new, direct-digital photographs of buildings, built-environment projects, and landscape architecture.

Dubai is the site of many recent large-scale construction projects, including the Burj Khalifa (Skidmore, Owings and Merrell), which was completed in January 2010 and is the world’s tallest building at 2,717 ft. They photographed the Meydan Racecourse (TAK architects), the longest building in the world the day before its grand opening in March. Included in their collection is the 0-14 Tower (Reiser + Umemoto, RUR Architects), one of the most innovative and striking designs in Dubai that resembles Swiss cheese on its exterior. The holes in the outer skin of the building serve to circulate air and provide shade to reduce energy demand. They also photographed the new light rail system that opened late last year; the Burj Al Arab, a hotel constructed on an artificial island that resembles a huge Arabian sailing dhow (Tom Wright of W. S. Atkins PLC); the Dubai Marina, a man-made marina district (Emaar Properties, 2000-present); and the Rose Tower, the world’s tallest building used exclusively as a hotel (Khatib & Alami Group, 2007). Chartier and Wilkinson’s photographs depict a Dubai under construction with skyscrapers rising out of an inhospitable landscape. Many of the buildings are still incomplete or empty but are visually powerful examples of a city under construction.

In the city of Abu Dhabi they photographed the new Sheikh Zayed Mosque (Yousef Abdelki (architect), Halcrow Group (engineers)), a project enormous in size (holds 44,000 people for prayer sessions) and spectacular in rich exterior and interior detail and the Yas Hotel (Asymptote Architects) that features a Formula One race track which passes through the hotel and a net-like roof consisting of thousands of light panels that change colors. Other buildings include Capital Gate (RMJM Architects), the largest leaning tower in the world and Al Jazira Stadium that was recently opened and the new Ferrari World (Benoy Architects), a low undulating design with a roof surface of 200,000 sq. meters that is still under construction.

These new photographs will join the approximately 9,700 images by ART on FILE already in the Digital Library. Chartier and Wilkinson have contributed selections from ART on FILE’s extensive archive of slides and transparencies, which documents contemporary architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and public art around the world. ARTstor has also sponsored previous campaigns for ART on FILE to create new digital photographs of contemporary architecture in the United States and Europe (Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia).

For more detailed information about this collection, visit the Contemporary Architecture, Urban Design, and Public Art (ART on FILE Collection) page.

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