The Dubai Frame project — shaped like a giant window frame — is expected to be completed this year. The 150 meter tall tourist attraction will frame of a view of modern Dubai on one side and the older city on the other.

The roadmap for skyscraper development in Dubai was charted out at the second annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit that concluded in Dubai this week. The summit was held under the patronage of the Dubai Municipality and was produced by Expotrade. The summit was attended by over 350 participants, with an agenda that featured over 20 keynote speeches, panel discussions and case studies.

The summit was inaugurated by Abdullah Al Rafia, Assistant Director General - Engineering and Planning Department, Dubai Municipality in the presence of senior embassy representatives and Wassim Aboushaar, Executive Managing Director, Schindler Middle East, who then welcomed the gathering.

Delivering a special address on behalf of the Dubai Municipality, Abdullah Al Rafia spoke on the Dubai Frame Project that aims to implement one of the highest landmarks in the world. Located inside Za’abeel Park, the project will be in the form of a frame with two 150m (492 feet) high towers connected by a bridge at the top of the towers. He explained how the project would provide a great view of ‘Old Dubai’ to the north and ‘New Dubai’ to the south.

The address was followed by a presentation on the challenges of delivering iconic tall and complex buildings globally by Samsung C & T’s Ahmad K. Abdelrazaq. He explained the benefits of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) and provided case studies on several iconic structures around the world, highlighting the importance of transfer of technology across the boundaries to deliver structures of the highest safety and quality standards, on time and within cost.

Intelligent transit in modern high-rise buildings was the focus of the session conducted by Schindler’s John Mizon, that highlighted how new concepts such as transit management can ensure the quality of space being provided can be increased and improved, thereby creating buildings that are efficient and improve people’s lives.

Other sessions included SULB Company’s Rudi Clayton explaining the advantages of using structural steel in tall buildings. He detailed the advantages of structural steel for owners, designers, fabricators and contractors, including reduced construction times and project costs, aesthetic appeal, design flexibility, high strength, environment friendliness and many more.

Abdullah Al Rafia, Assistant Director General - Engineering and Planning Department, Dubai Municipality, addressing the audience at the inauguration of the Smart Skyscrapers Summit.

KONE’s Johannes de Jong focused on innovative technology to future proof buildings in his session. Emphasizing the importance of optimizing traffic flows within a building, he highlighted how smart, scalable solutions integrating subsystems like access, destination, information and monitoring can enable smoother and smarter people flow.

Sessions on Day 1 featured speakers from AESG and AECOM as well as Emerson Climate Technologies MEA, Guardian, Al-Jazeera Paints, Kansai Paint, Emirates Insolaire, Vision Project Services, speaking on topics ranging from design and construction of sustainable buildings in the Middle East; safety in tall buildings; compressor modulation technology in air conditioning; energy efficiency with glass facades; smart paints; innovative colored solar glass; sustainable paints; use of precision mapping drones. The panel discussion for the day sponsored by Novelis featured a discussion on the current and future trends in architecture, with panelists from Novelis, Perkins+Will, Qatar University and B+H Architects.

Day 2 featured speakers from UTC Building & Industrial Systems and GE Sealants, along with Perkins+Will, Qatar University, Ramboll Middle East, Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development, speaking on vertical transportation and integrated building technologies; silicone structural glazing; smart ideas for future skyscrapers; socio-cultural sustainability and tall buildings; sustainable design and facades for skyscrapers in the Middle East; sustainable development guidelines for skyscrapers. The panel discussion on the second day featured a lively debate on making tall building developments and city infrastructure work.