Archis 2005 #2, Archis 2007 #2

An Awakening in Dubai

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You have been considered dead for years, leading a vegetative life, dependent on a life support system. Like a somnambulist you murmur words that make no sense and gaze at things that are not there.

Not responding to any stimuli, doctors do not know how to resuscitate you. They take you outside, to see if fresh air will help. They try shock therapy. Then, finally, they find the place for you. The air may not be really fresh, but the locale is certainly shocking.

Waking up, you find yourself where nothing is as you knew it. Things look familiar, but the system according to which they operate is very, very different. These differences do not preclude a learning experience, however. To make your time as productive as possible, we have provided a guide.

After you have found your way from souk to mall, from pathway to ski dome, from desert to golf course, from mansion to skyscraper, you will have acquired an appetite for further navigation in this strange world. A guide will then no longer be enough. You’ll need an atlas.

You start to see patterns, grasp relations, and enjoy connections. The awakening continues by resettling yourself in a region that shows unprecedented energies in land use and creation. You are going to have a hard time keeping track, so we will help you with mapping.

Then, as soon as you have a profound understanding of the new realities around you, you finally feel a new urge to intervene again.

The awakening has completed. The coma of a designer who has lost all relevance and inspiration has ended. Re-energized, you want to act, to make a difference. Looking back at the world from which you came, you see entirely new tasks and endeavors. We have started to list them for you. An agenda for design.

Here it is: a guide, an atlas, an agenda… Here is Al Manakh