Tom Wright is a British architect best known as the designer of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
Burj Al Arab
It was conceived in October 1993 and finished in 1999. The brief was to create an icon for Dubai: a building that would become synonymous with the place, as the Sydney Opera House is with Sydney and the Eiffel Tower is with Paris. The hotel is built in the shape of a dhow’s (a traditional Arabic ship) sail to reflect Dubai′s seafaring heritage.
The building’s dramatic shape is formed of a steel skeleton braced with trusses. Engineered by Skyspan Europe, the cloth mebrane consists of twelve double-curved sections supported by steel-trussed arches and rods that deflect wind pressure.
Burj Al Arab has received criticism as well as praise, considering how well-designed and impressive the construction ultimately proves to be. The contradiction here seems to be related to the hotel’s decor. “This extraordinary investment in state-of-the-art construction technology stretches the limits of the ambitious urban imagination in an exercise that is largely due to the power of excessive wealth.” Another critic includes negative critiques for the city of Dubai as well: “both the hotel and the city, after all, are monuments to the triumph of money over practicality. Both elevate style over substance.”
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