Deira Central will be a model city for sustainable social and urban development with minimum energy use in the Middle East. Its approach to shared and communal spaces brings the innovations of the local 19th century courtyard house into the 21st century.

Project Details +

Project Details


CLIENT: Al Ghurair Properties LLC

DATE: 2018

STATUS: Invited Competition

SIZE: 194,700 m² (138,900 m² residential, 24,200 m² hotel,16,800 m² office, 14,800 m² retail)

Credits +


ACME: Mark Broom, Nicholas Chrysostomou, Constantine Lemos, Duarte Lobo Antunes, Friedrich Ludewig, Alvaro Mandrazo, Eleni Meladaki, Matteo Modenese, Ioana Petrova, Thomas Soo, Luca Tesio, Adriana Zurera


BSBG (Local/Lead Architect)

AKT (Structural Engineer)

Hilson Moran (Services Engineer)

SEAM (Lighting Designer)

Cracknell (Landscape Designer)

Spaceagency (Signage & Wayfinding)

Deira is one of the old districts of Dubai, with recent buildings interspersed with 1950 and 1980 structures. Located close to Dubai International Airport, the Al Muraqqabat area consists of a mix of uses and typologies - low rise structures, mid-rise and tall blocks, interspersed with surface car parking. The site comprises four separate plots, enabling the creation of a masterplan that can create a significant new neighbourhood. Dubai has a great 19th century tradition of working with the harsh climate, and the new proposals re-interpret this traditional urban fabric to create a dense, cool and shaded quarter. Seventeen landscaped courtyards structure the blocks and create a pedestrian experience of meandering routes with the qualities of courtyard houses and ‘sikkas’. 

Buildings are connected at upper levels through bridges and cantilevers creating “courtyards in the sky”. Courtyards and communal spaces have motorized fabric shading systems to ensure that outdoor areas remain pleasant even in the summer heat. All facades are designed with external shading based on traditional building technologies, heavy mass absorption, mashrabiya and Arish  screens. Heavy concrete arch facades are used to absorb heat, fine metal mesh facades to filter daylight, and sliding reed screens, based on traditional Dubai summer pavilions, are used to create adjustable shading facades. 

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