Dubai's first skyscraper to be listed in new preservation initiative
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Dubai Trade Centre protected

Dubai's first skyscraper to be listed in initiative to preserve 1960s and 70s architecture

Dubai's first skyscraper, first library and a clock tower are all set to be heritage-listed, as the UAE's largest city looks to preserve the early buildings that shaped its development.

Dubai Municipality has launched a programme called Modern Heritage, which aims to protect some of the most significant buildings constructed when the city was first beginning its rapid development.

Among these is the 149-metre-high Dubai Trade Centre, which is regarded as the city's first skyscraper. Designed by John R Harris & Partners, the 39-storey tower was the tallest building in Dubai from 1979 until the Burj Al Arab completed in 1999.

"Buildings have had a great impact"

The initiative, which will be launched jointly by the planning department and the architectural heritage department, will protect buildings that have a significance in helping to establish and develop the early architectural style of the modern city.

"Many of these buildings still occupy major positions and perform important functions," Ahmed Mahmoud, director of the Architectural Heritage Department is reported as saying on state news website WAM.

"The buildings have had a great impact on shaping the urban environment and crystallising the architectural character of the 1960s and 1970s of Dubai's development."

List also includes Clock Tower and Al Baraha Hospital

A shortlist of buildings has been drawn up as the first stage of the initiative. Along with the Dubai Trade Centre, this list includes the Clock Tower, Al Baraha Hospital, Al Khuloud Nursery and the Al Ras Library.

A Dubai landmark, the Clock Tower stands at the centre of a roundabout, at a major interchange that leads to the first bridge across the Dubai Creek. Designed by Architecture Design Construction, the tower was built in 1965.

When the Al Ras Library opened in 1963 it was the first public library in the country, while the Al Baraha Hospital completed in 1966 as one of the first hospital's in the city's central Deira area.  The Al Khuloud Nursery was completed in 1975.

In the years since these buildings were completed, Dubai has rapidly developed into a global commercial and tourist destination.

Over 150 skyscrapers now stand in city, including the world's tallest building, the 830-meter high Burj Khalifa. The city also contains the world's tallest hotel.

Photography is by Imre Solt.