Deira was once the heart of Dubai, claims Firas Hnoosh, principal and design director of architecture at Perkins+Will, and Sheikh Zayed Road was the artery that connected it to Abu Dhabi and other cities. But as time passed, the highway’s construction split the emirate into two: a landside and a seaside.
“In my opinion, that’s an issue,” says Hnoosh. “We should look at how to divert Sheikh Zayed Road’s dominance on the cityscape, and stitch the landside and seaside back together again.”
While Hnoosh doesn’t advocate removing the highway, he does suggest transforming it into an underground tunnel above which a lush green park invites passersby to experience the city through walking.
“You could put a proper park on top of the highway,” he says, “and add some gaps between strips of green space to bring daylight to the road below. People could then walk between the two sides with no disruption, and you could also have some buildings there to bring some vibrancy to it.”
Hnoosh’s comments come as part of a wider discussion called ‘Dubai: The Next Decade’, a series that will be running in Middle East Architect‘s July issue. Other contributing voices include Phillip Jones from B+H Architects and Christian Vasquez from NEB.