Located along the shores of Dubai’s iconic Creek the Al Seef development is an exciting new cultural tourism space that merges the city’s past with its present.
GAJ were responsible for the design of the overall master plan, along with the design and construction supervision of the eastern section (phases 2 and 3) which follows a more traditional heritage style.
For this unique project it was essential that we first appreciated the extent and requirement of preserving and showcasing traditional Emirati architecture and local trades. The challenge was to design the buildings as if they had always been there withstanding the test of time through aging techniques and carefully calculated degradation percentages. Water marks, caulking and bulges in the edges all contribute to achieve this, as well as specifically chosen materials and finishes unique to local conditions of the time.
The eastern section includes a number of heritage style cluster buildings with the intention of recreating the memory of old Dubai along the banks of the Dubai Creek and extending the existing historical district of Bastakiya.
This started with the masterplan which was to act as the guiding principle of the development to ensure a cohesive vernacular architecture based on local heritage building principles and construction materials, reflecting local traditions as well as the environmental, cultural and historical context.
Each house or building within the project has a story of its own. Some buildings are designed to look as if they were built in 1960s with darker walls, less lighting and simple decorative elements, while others have lighter walls with much more intricate details and embellishments on the façade which indicates that they were built at a later stage when trade was good and businesses were doing well. The colours used for the buildings were based on traditional Dubai sandstone.
Attention to detail was crucial for this project and the team spent many hours researching the era visiting museums and old souqs as well as trawling through old news stories and photographs for inspiration to ensure that the finished product was as authentic as possible. It was important to ensure that elements, such as cornices, ironmongery and wooden doors, were as close to the original as practicable. Chandals, pergolas and barasti, which have been used in Emirati architecture for many years, have been cleverly incorporated as shading or screening to hide modern equipment and many of the fixtures are reclaimed items.
The result is a beautifully transformed area that brings to life an important era in Dubai’s fascinating history providing an authentic heritage experience and a stunning leisure, retail and dining location.
1. Information about some of the building materials used
a. All doors and windows are made from Dabema African Teak
b. Handmade wrought iron ironmongery was used where possible
c. Traditional palm tree materials were used for Barasti
d. Coloured rendered plaster was used for the walls with various tints and finishing techniques.
e. Light fittings where made from brass where possible and authentically aged
2. Did the interiors mimic the same appropriation of the past or were they designed in a more modern sense
a. All front of house areas and FF and E were designed with same heritage intent, from the hand wash basins to the four poster beds in the hotel rooms.
b. All buildings and public areas have also been decorated with heritage props to add to the authenticity of the space, from old photographs to enamel cookware and traditional Emirati fabrics and ornaments.
Yes it is nearby the Al Fahidi district
- The hotel design draws deeply on the UAE’s rich culture and heritage
- It has been built using traditional Middle Eastern building techniques, for example – the walls are designed to keep the heat out during the summer season, allowing air in at ground level to then flow through the wind towers right at the top.
- The hotel rooms have three colour schemes inspired from the light blue sea waters in the Creek, the soothing beige from the desert sands and soft green tones from the country’s flora interspersed with colourful flashes of reds, turquoises and yellows
- The room’s interiors reflect an age of pearl diving trading and Emirati crafts, with a colour palette borrowed from the UAE’s natural environment
- Middle Eastern woven fabrics (Sadu), wooden beams, lamps and rustic ceilings with fans, and rough plastered walls complete the authentic look of the rooms
- Large windows with traditional wooden panels offer views down onto the winding outdoor corridors of the ground floor souk and the waters of the creek, alongside the characteristic Barjeel wind towers
Jessica Alba, Zac Efron, Yasmine Sabri, Stephane Rolland, Sharuh Khan and many more stayed at the hotel.
Many filming scenes were shoot in the area.
It is not historical, it is a representation of the past buildings.
Collection of Arabian Bayts