'As great as the Burj Khalifa': Santiago Calatrava wins contract for futuristic Dubai tower
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'As great as the Burj Khalifa': Santiago Calatrava wins contract for futuristic Dubai tower

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Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has beaten competition from five unnamed international rivals to design a landmark cultural tower in Dubai.

The ruler of the emirate, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, approved Calatrava’s futuristic design, which he hailed as an "architectural wonder that will be as great as Burj Khalifa and Eiffel Tower."

According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the sheikh – who is also vice president of the United Arab Emirates – said the unnamed tower will be a new cultural landmark and tourist attraction for the country.

While few details have been released about the design, Calatrava's studio said in a statement that the tower "is inspired by Islamic architecture and fuses modern, sustainable design with the rich culture and heritage of the United Arab Emirates."

Calatrava himself said: “We feel extremely thankful and honoured to have been selected for such an important project. Dubai is where innovative and revolutionary architecture is making incredible strides. In our proposed design, we have united local traditional architecture with that of the 21st century.”

Construction is expected to begin in the next few months.

The building is being developed by real estate companies Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties and will be located in their Dubai Creek scheme – a “sustainable and environmental model for future global cities” – which is currently under development. Retail, dining, leisure and entertainment components will be included in the project.

The company is already developing “the tallest twin towers in the world” as part of the city. Elsewhere in Dubai, it has opened an exclusive fitness and wellness retreat called The Burj Club.

Calatrava’s Museum of Tomorrow opened in Rio de Janeiro in December and work is nearing completion on his building for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York.

In November Calatrava was awarded with the prestigious European Prize for Architecture, with competition organisers describing his work as “immensely evocative and fiercely intellectual.”

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Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has beaten competition from five unnamed international rivals to design a landmark cultural tower in Dubai.
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