Koolhaas' Dubai Master Plan is Bold and Reserved

<p>In his 1.5 billion square-foot master plan for a waterfront city in Dubai, architect Rem Koolhaas has proposed a dense and elaborate city, but one that doesn't try to rely too much on flashy high-end architecture.</p>
March 3, 2008, 12pm PST | Nate Berg
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"Designed for one of the biggest developers in the United Arab Emirates, Nakheel, Mr. Koolhaas's master plan for the proposed 1.5-billion-square-foot Waterfront City in Dubai would simulate the density of Manhattan on an artificial island just off the Persian Gulf. A mix of nondescript towers and occasional bold architectural statements, it would establish Dubai as a center of urban experimentation as well as one of the world's fastest growing metropolises."

"The mixed-use project, startling in scale, is a carefully considered critique not just of the generic city but of a potentially greater evil: the growing use of high-end architecture as a tool for self-promotion. To Mr. Koolhaas this strategy, which many architects refer to as the Bilbao syndrome, reduces cities to theme parks of architectural tchotchkes that mask an underlying homogeneity."

"His strategy is not to reject either trend outright but to locate each one's hidden, untapped potential, or as he puts it, 'to find optimism in the inevitable.'"

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Published on Monday, March 3, 2008 in The New York Times
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