Dubai World Trade Centre, one of the Middle East’s most prominent business organisations, today launched an international design competition for the second phase of its major Dubai Trade Centre District development.

Designs are being sought from the world’s leading architectural practices, and the area to be developed will include the District’s Landmark Tower, which is expected to be one of the most striking structures ever developed in the region.

Sir Michael Hopkins, considered one of the world’s greatest living architects, will head the judging panel, which has been charged with selecting the “apex of architecture” in terms of design and sustainability.

“Dubai Trade Centre District will provide the headquarters for some of the world’s most dynamic companies. It will create a unique urban environment at the heart of Dubai, that will surpass the top business destinations globally,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre.

“We are aiming for the highest possible standard of architectural design across the project, and this second phase – which includes the Landmark Tower – is among the most important in terms of defining the character of the whole development. The aim of this international competition is to encourage the best practices in the world to deliver their strongest possible visions,” he added.

Sitting at the heart of Dubai, alongside the central Sheikh Zayed Road, the Dubai Trade Centre District offers a unique opportunity for major designers to capture world attention. The project has already attracted expressions of interest from almost every major architectural, engineering and development company in the world.

In addition to world-class standards of design and development, submitted entries will be required to incorporate key elements of sustainable design and architecture into their vision for the District. DWTC was among the first companies in the region to build sustainability principles into the heart of its development strategies, in line with the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dubai Trade Centre District was among the first in the region to be designed to be built according to the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Standards. Submitted entries will have to demonstrate how sustainability principles will be executed upon through the complete development lifecycle, including design, construction, operation and maintenance.

The current schedule means that the successful architect would be announced at MIPIM, the largest business property show in the world, which is being held in Cannes France in March 2008.

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