Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai

Apr 14, 2021, 12:00 pm12:00 pm
Free, Open to the Public


Event Description



Showpiece City recounts the story of how a group of hired professionals planned Dubai's spectacular transformation through the 1970s. Drawing on exclusive interviews, private archives, dog-eared photographs, & previously overlooked government documents, Todd Reisz reveals the braggadocio and persistence that sold Dubai as a profitable business plan. Architecture made that plan something to behold. Todd Reisz highlights initial architectural achievements―including the city's first hospital, national bank, and skyscraper―designed as showpieces to proclaim Dubai's place on the world stage.

Reisz explores the overlooked history of a skyline that did not simply rise from the sands. In the city's earliest modern architecture, he finds the foundations of an urban survival strategy of debt-wielding brinkmanship and constant pitch making. Dubai became a testing ground for the global city―and prefigured how urbanization now happens everywhere.

Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies