The city of Dubai is home to some of the most innovative architecture in the world, but its latest skyscraper is certainly one of the most “picturesque” we’ve ever seen. The Dubai Frame, otherwise known as the “World’s Largest Picture Frame”, is a 150-meter-high rectangular structure whose unique shape frames stunning views of the city’s growing skyline, including the iconic Burj Khalifa. It is the latest design to take its place among the city’s prestigious architectural portfolio, but the project has been mired in controversy from the start, with one architect saying the city stole his design.
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The Dubai Frame is located in the city’s beloved Zabeel Park, and at a staggering height of nearly 500-feet (150 meters), provides visitors with stellar panoramic views of the skyline from its 300-foot (93-meter)-long viewing bridge. The unique skyscraper is expected to attract nearly 2 million tourists annually, and with an entry fee of 50 dirhams (approx. $14.00), will definitely bring some income to the city.
Inside the golden framed-building, visitors are led to the glass-floored walkway where they can enjoy views of the old city of Deira to the north and the towering buildings lined along the famed Sheikh Zayed Road to the south. On the ground floor museum, visitors will have the chance to take in an innovative augmented reality display that follows Dubai’s transformation from a remote fishing village to a bustling metropolis.
However, the story of the city will most likely gloss over the controversial beginnings of the Dubai Frame design itself. In 2008, the Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrupp Elevators hosted an international design competition searching for the city’s next amazing skyscraper. Architect Fernando Donis’s design was chosen as the winner of the competition. However, when it came time to collaborate on the construction of the project, the architect and the city failed to agree on contractual terms. Nonetheless, the city went on with the project, breaking ground in 2014, which resulted in Donis filing an Intellectual Property claim against the city for copyright infringement.