On my bucket list for quite some time now has been the United Arab Emirates. If you’ve ever seen photos of the architecture in Dubai and Abu Dhabi you know why. So, when I received an email from Meridian International, a US NGO that works on cultural exchanges, I was excited, though a bit skeptical. After a bit of research, a phone call with Meridian and reaching out to a past participant I had exchanged a few messages with on Instagram over the years (Darren Bradley, @modarchitecture) I felt a bit more secure that this was legit.
I was told I was shortlisted for a delegation with Meridian the UAE Embassy that was focusing on architecture photographers, architects and museum curators from around the US. I hung up the phone completely stunned but over-the-moon-excited! That call was on a Friday and by the following Monday, it was all confirmed. I’ve been back a couple of weeks now and I can honestly say I’m still in shock.
As you can imagine there will be a number of posts about the trip. We visited 4 cities during our week there. Starting in Sharjah, followed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. I’ll get into more details from each, but today I’m focusing on Urban Quilt images I created in Dubai & Abu Dhabi.
When people think of Dubai it seems what comes to mind are the glitzy skyscrapers and new, innovative architecture. I was somewhat limited in getting images for this series from the newer part of the city because we were mostly traveling by bus, which makes it harder to thoroughly explore. But here are a couple of versions. Same finned building, but different sides.
While this is all impressive and noteworthy, and we’ll get to more of the contemporary architecture in a later post, one of the most interesting areas of the city was Old Dubai. We took a small boat across Dubai Creek to get to this part of town…fun!
A couple of shots of the area. Well, the souq, for some level of context…something I’m notoriously horrible at. So, for this first shot (and the one of us above on the boat), I have Haitham Al Mussawi from the UAE Embassy to thank for documenting all of us during the trip!
We spent at least half a day exploring this area. And I’m pretty sure we all could have spent even more time here! The wandering and getting around by foot is the best way to find images for this series, it’s a slower pace and allows for better alignment.
Onto Abu Dhabi! The first few images were made from our hotel on Al Maryah Island looking toward downtown.
Now, onto another fantastic walking tour around the city by @vectorsandstuff. Interestingly, there are areas here where all the buildings are the same height. If I’m remembering correctly, most from the 1970’s-1990’s and modernist in nature, the city imposed a height ordinance on its buildings. They also required the buildings to have an Islamic element incorporated into the design. Some succeeded better than others but it’s certainly distinctive. The textures, colors and patterns here were so fantastic!
And for a little context, thanks again to Haitham!
As for the Urban Quilt images, this is just a small selection. If you’d like to see the rest, stop by here.