Dubai Frame – Framing the past and the present Dubai

19 juni 2018

By Deepa Edmond and Rini Cherian

Dubai Frame is Dubai’s latest landmark that overlooks the entire city. The unique architecture of the building allows you to enjoy 360 degrees views of both old and new Dubai. Arcadis can proudly add this ambitious project as a feather to one’s cap.







26th December 2017 marked an important date both for Dubai and Arcadis. The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, visited the Dubai Frame, an award-winning cultural landmark at Zabeel Park.

His Highness was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. He was also joined by other officials from Dubai Municipality including the Director General H.E. Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah and Arcadis representatives Mario Pishiri, Managing Director of UAE and Oman, Matthew Cross, Technical Director and UAE Structures Discipline Lead, and Revikumar P A (Revi), Resident Engineer. This was the official tour before the official launch that happened on January,2018.

Since its official launch in January 2018, the newest addition to Dubai’s growing tourism offerings, has become a popular attraction for both residents and visitors. Offering spectacular panoramic views of old and new Dubai from its 150-meter-high observation deck, Dubai Frame is expected to receive two million visitors yearly.

The design of the Dubai Frame is based on the idea of framing the existing landmarks and emblems of Dubai, instead of adding to them. The structure straddles between the old city and Dubai’s newest landmarks.The landmark consists of two transparent towers, 150 metres tall. They are connected by a 93 metre long bridge.The biggest challenge during the construction of the project was the safe lifting of the approximately 700 tonnes of structural steel bridge that spanned 75M to connect it to the 150M tall towers. The Dubai Frame Tower attains its structural stability only after the integral connection of the bridge to the tower legs. The free legs supported the lifting of the bridge in the temporary construction stage, and the tower movements were precisely recorded during lifting (which took place in three stages) while structural measures were applied in bridge connections. The whole exercise was executed to be well within Arcadis Structural Designer’s figures

Construction was by three different customised climbing formwork solutions, comprising ACS self-climbing formwork, VARIO girder wall formwork and TRIO panel formwork, were used to construct the two towers of the Dubai Frame. The climbing units were moved from one storey to another using an integrated hydraulic system.The final slabs of the structure had a thickness of 1.4m and were cantilevered by 3.5m on the outer side of the towers to support the weight of the 3,000t sky bridge. The design enabled the load to be transferred horizontally through steel beams.

The façade of the towers is installed with 2,500 triple-safety, multi-functional, laminate glass modules in a yellow-gold colour. Measuring 485mm x 985mm, the modules deliver aesthetic value to the towers and filter ultraviolet and infrared radiation. They prevent the greenhouse effect and deliver significant energy savings. The two towers of the Frame are installed with glass elevators and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) equipment.


The concept takes the visitors to a journey through time on three different levels: old Dubai, present Dubai and future Dubai. The ground floor has a museum that tells the story of the development of Dubai, with presentations spanning decades of city development. These presentations are immersive experiences themselves with 3D technology and imagery. Starting from the mezzanine level the visitors experience the old Dubai: projections, misteffects, smells, and motion that creates an immersive mood setting of space.

The Past Gallery describes the project and tells the story of city’s evolution and the old city. Visitors are taken to the second experience the main highlight is the Sky Deck which gives uninterrupted views of the entire city, both old and new the present Dubai.. It will house interactive technologies such as augmented reality-activated screens, where visitors can view and observe buildings and landmarks in 3D.

On one side, the towers and bridge frame the buildings on Shaikh Zayed Road, denoting ‘modern Dubai, while the other side includes views of Deira, Umm Hurair and Karama, symbolising ‘old Dubai’.

Finally the visitors exit the elevator onto the mezzanine floor and pass through a swirl tunnel with special audio and visual effects. The idea is to create an illusion of time travel through a warp swirl and arriving into the city 50 years ahead. On the other side of the mezzanine level, the future of Dubai will be depicted as a virtual metropolis generated using interactive projections and virtual reality. Visitors will pass through a vortex to reach the mezzanine level. The vortex will be installed with special lights and sound effects, creating the illusion of time travel through a wrap vortex.

This Iconic structure is a combination of architectural simplicity and structural complexity. Arcadis involvement from schematic stage to the final opening is remarkable achievement for us as a global company, making our portfolio diverse. Dubai frame, with no doubt, is a must visit place if you ever be in Dubai. It’s truly an iconic building that tells you all about Dubai.