Wednesday, 27 August 2008


What the hell is this?

If these were actually existing buildings, one could argue that they represented a certain kind of philanthropic gesture towards the indentured workers of dubai, considering the conditions that currently exist for them. If these projects had been through the admittedly swift, but capricious and ruthless process of having a building completed in Dubai then we could congratulate the designers for achieving, perhaps, the best-of-all-possible-projects.

But this is not a 'real' proposal. This is an academic, conceptual piece of design by students. This represents a sickening internalisation of ideology; if academic architecture has any value whatsoever, surely it is in its ability to suspend the normal functioning of the world in order to consider what-else-might-be, what else is possible, architecturally. In this case, the proposal gives itself with a logic of plausibility. There may be humour evident in the assumption of a fictionalised corporation, but the project is still presented as something that could exist in the real world. But of course, this projection of possible-reality always hides a suspension and in this case, what is suspended is the fact that there is no political will whatsoever to improve conditions for low paid workers in Dubai, despite the centralisation of power. So, bearing in mind that this proposal is thus entirely fantastical, the cynicism is mind-boggling.

"While this development is clearly not intended as social housing or a worker's paradise, it is committed to serving the worker's actual needs and aspires to ennoble their humble station. It could even be said, that the proposal dramatises the worker's true position at the centre of this emerging nomadic society. The development promises affordable and humane living conditions for the guest worker. At the same time, it is responsive to its surroundings and sustains property values. The strategy of an integrated separation is therefore a policy of invisible alliance."

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