A Peek into the Future of Dubai

Today, the city of Dubai announced it has purchased the Queen Elizabeth 2, “one of the world’s most majestic cruise liners,” to convert into a luxury hotel. The QE2 will be completely renovated and parked at the world’s largest man-made island, Palm Jumeirah. The restoration process will stay true to the original design of the ship, and a museum will be built inside to educate visitors on the liner’s legacy.

What’s else in store for the booming city of Dubai? Here’s a quick rundown of current, future, and conceptual projects in the United Arab Emirates’s oasis in the desert.

We talked about it earlier today, but the outrageousness of the resort complex dubbed The Cloud makes it worthy of another mention. Nadim Karam, a Lebanese architect, presented this resort-in-the-sky concept at the International Design Forum in Dubai last month. The actual resort will resemble a cloud floating 300 meters in the air, with slanting support beams that look like sheets of rain. Take that, Sandals! [Stage: Concept]

Who needs Disneyworld when you’ve got Dubailand? Announced in 2003, this super-sized mega theme park (the builders prefer to think of it as a true city) will consist of six poorly named “worlds”: Attractions & Experience World, Retail and Entertainment World, Themed Leisure and Vacation World, Eco-Tourism World, Sports and Outdoor World, and Downtown, each containing a total of 26 “sub-worlds.” Downtown will feature the world’s largest shopping mall, called Mall of Dubai. Coffee lovers unite: the Mall of Dubai will eventually feature the world’s largest Starbucks. [Stage: Under Construction]

Bigger is better, and Dubai has its sites set on the sky with the Burj Dubai. When construction finishes in 2009, the Burj Dubai will most likely be the tallest “land-based structure” (which includes buildings and towers) in the world. Why most likely? “The projected final height of the Burj Dubai is officially being kept a secret due to competition,” according to its Wikipedia entry. Makes sense — why announce an official height when you can just continue building if someone else announces a larger project? Clever. [Status: Under Construction]

Italian-Israeli architect, David Fisher, unveiled in April a 68-story “spinning tower” he hopes to see join the the Dubai skyline in the future. Unlike existing structures that have a single revolving floor (San Antonio’s Tower of the Americas comes to mind, among many others), “[e]ach floor would rotate independently, creating a constantly changing architectural form,” says the Wall Street Journal. This is by far the coolest concept building I’ve found, Dubai or not. It reminds me a bit of Jenga, only…you know…much cooler. [Status: Concept]