Dubai’s “Bespoke” Pearl Is On The Rise

sustainable development, greenwashing, LEED, DubaiDubai’s Giant Pearl is starting to make its significant presence known.

The mammoth Dubai Pearl construction project in Dubai was one of the few to survive the economic crash. Now the fruit of three and a half million man hours of work is beginning to rise above the rest of the city’s large, mostly empty towers. Just at the foot of the Jumeirah Palm, the project by Schweger Associated Architects has been branded the most “bespoke” of them all.  And people are buying into it.

LEED, greenwashing, sustainable development, DubaiA city within a city

At a whopping 20 million square feet, the Dubai Pearl will be a “city within a city.” Most new urban development projects marry residential, commercial, retail, and social facilities to cut down on the need for residents to travel great distances to satisfy their needs. This is a tactic that is designed to increase a project’s longterm sustainability.

The Dubai Pearl takes this ideology seriously. With seven hotels, an 1800 seat theater, However, it also promises its customers, who hail from 40 different counries, that the most audacious luxury awaits them.


95% of the first lot of residences being released have already been sold. Many of them will be themed.  Perhaps some people will be interested in the “Bellagio” apartments, or in “Fashion” and “Technology” themed residences.  Other options include “Sky Palaces,” and “B-residents.”

On its website, the project’s location overlooking Jumeirah is touted as “…prime location [that] will offer an unparalleled combination of free-hold in the convenience of a free zone with luxury, energy efficient sustainability and state-of-the-art technology.”

Adding to its “sustainability,” the project aims for LEED Gold Certification. But even at this early stage of development, the project’s carbon footprint already sheds serious doubt on the project’s overall sustainability.

LEED, sustainable development, greenwashing, DubaiCut the concrete

Al Habtoor Leighton Group, responsible for most of the construction, has already poured 60,000 cubic meters of concrete, which is largely considered one of the least environmentally responsible materials that developers can choose for new projects.

Sustainable Build from the UK says why:

This industrial use of concrete is the essence of all building projects: when the material comes out of the mixer and is laid down, or used to form bricks, or mixed with other materials. There can be a lot of industrial waste during this process: much of the concrete will not be used immediately, and will harden and be left unused. The process also uses and wastes a lot of water which is not so friendly to the environment.

Pollution of water can also occur at this and every stage of the process – from extraction of concrete through to its eventual application – and particularly if this water then becomes ground water or reaches the river systems, the natural environment can become polluted.

Given Dubai’s precious lack of water resources, not to mention the UAE’s infamous carbon footprint, the Emirate should have been barred from building new buildings until such time that those standing half empty are populated. But alas, the world’s rich need a playground. And this will be it, for a while.

:: Arch Daily

More on Dubai’s Insane Architectural Record:

The True Grit Behind Dubai’s Hot Building

More Signs of Dubai’s Foul Ecology at Jumeirah Islands

After Four Years, Dubai’s “Holey O” Finally Opens

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5 thoughts on “Dubai’s “Bespoke” Pearl Is On The Rise”

  1. Aviva Weisgal says:


  2. Mole, I appreciate your honest insight. While it does not surprise me, it is very refreshing to hear the truth! Thanks.

  3. Mole says:

    I worked on the initial design stages of this project and can honestly say that the LEED accreditation that was attained should be checked once the construction is completed. The Dubai Pearl group were more than happy to agree to all of the USGBC’s terms to acheive the LEED Gold Status but have no intention of sticking to them during construction!

  4. Eddie says:

    Further to the above, the worst thing about concrete is the embodied energy it comes with, namely, the Production of cement is energy intense.

    1. Well said Eddie. Thank you!

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