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Dubai's Stunning 50-Story, Gold-Plated Frame To Be Completed By Year End

Kitco News

Dubai is getting another architectural wonder — a gold-plated 150-meter-high frame, which is scheduled to be opened in the end of 2017. The project has been under construction for four years and is costing the city $43.6 million.

Initially, the project was scheduled to be completed in 2015. The local government said the delay was due to replacement of the exterior gold stainless steel coating.

“We have been delayed because we have some difficulties with the claddings and so we need to change it. It’s not only because of the new [the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code 2017] regulations, but we also want to give the frame a new look,” Arabian Business quoted Dubai Municipality director-general Hussain Nasser Lootah as saying.

The golden claddings are being put in a pattern inspired by the Expo 2020 logo, according to media reports.

The structure, which stands in the city’s famous urban Zabeel Park, looks like a giant golden picture frame.

© Dubai Municipality

The two massive pillars of the frame are connected by a 93-meter bridge, with a clear glass walkway, where visitors can come up, stroll and take in breathtaking views of the city.

“The bridge serves as an observatory providing uninterrupted views of ‘Old Dubai’ to the north, and ‘New Dubai’ to the south,” Dubai Municipality said on its website.

The ground floor of the structure will feature a gallery and a museum, dedicated to the city’s history. Some of the exhibits will include live “mist effects, smells and motion,” as part of the experience.

The new attraction will join the ranks of Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper on the planet, and is expected to captivate more than two million visitors per year, according to Dubai Municipality.

Lawsuit and Copyright Infringement Claims

The new project is not without its controversy though, as Mexican-born architect Fernando Donis is claiming that the Dubai Frame was not only his idea, but he also won a 2008 award in a design competition for it, which was hosted by Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrupp Elevator.

Donis filed a lawsuit in December in the American federal court, accusing Dubai Municipality of breaching his copyright.

According to the terms of the ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award he received, “the winner's design would be considered by the Dubai Municipality and, if commissioned, only be used once a contract had been signed by both parties. The design owner would retain copyright and their design could not be used -- even in part -- without their formal consent,” CNN reported.

Donis’ lawsuit stated that he had not been compensated or included in the frame's construction process.

“It’s shocking,” Donis told The New York Times. “The Frame is mine, and they don’t want to grant that it is mine. The infringement doesn’t just victimize me. They have taken something from all architects — the protection of our ideas.”

Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, the firm representing the case in the U.S. are confident that they will win, CNN reported.


One of the lawyers, Andrew Celli, said they are yet to receive an answer from Dubai Municipality.

“Their silence is telling; they really have no substantive defense to the infringement claim,” he said. “A jury will plainly see that the infringing Dubai Frame is an illegal copy of Fernando's award-winning design. Such blatant misappropriation by the Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrupp is not just a clear violation of copyright law — it is an affront to artists and architects worldwide.”

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