At a roundtable held at Cosentino’s showroom in Dubai Design District, four architects who work across the GCC, gathered to discuss the future of residential design in the region. Those who attended included Phillip Jones from B+H, Samer Touqan from Dewan, Ralf Steinhauer from RSP and Adrian Welch from GAJ.
“I think the future of residential development in the UAE is in joining up a lot of the inland developments, like Silicon Oasis and Sports City,” Jones said. “A lot of the future projects will likely try to kind of build the outer rim, although there’s still a lot of coastline. We’re involved in a project in Umm Al Quwain, which will completely change it when it goes forward, and it’s imminent. Ras Al Khaimah continues to grow mostly on the hospitality end of things, because I think we’re at around 14 million visitors a year.”
The comments came as part of a larger discussion that addressed the need for more affordable housing across the GCC.
“What’s interesting is you have Umm Suqeim that goes into Al-Qudra Road where you have a lot of developers now starting to fill out pockets of land,” added Steinhauer.
“You also have Arabian Ranches which has been there for quite a while and now Arabian Ranches 2, and then you’ve got Akoya, Mudon with Arabella. And then you’ve got Mira and Shamma… so there is a lot of stuff happening at this one access point into Dubai’s inland area.”
According to Touqan, the inland developments are currently being directed toward growing families who are looking for a little more space for a little less cost.
“The residential market in the GCC has a new target audience,” said Touqan. “And this audience consists of average income people who have been living here for a while and who like it, but don’t want to spend large amounts of money on housing. So the new product targets those who want to stay and raise their families here, but their budgets don’t allow them to buy the luxury units… So we have made this product to actually recycle or recirculate the economics of Dubai itself and make it home for another layer of people.”