Tuesday, September 2, 2008



Where are the accolades? These are images of another iconic project in Dubai, the new Palm Jumeirah Atlantis Hotel.

See more of these beautiful images at Skyscrapercity.com. They depict the hotel shortly before its scheduled grand opening on 24 September 2008. They reveal an architectural and design marvel in the same league as the Burj Al Arab Hotel and the Emirates Palace Hotel. But, tragically, this story has a twist.


What happened here?? As the sun rose over the Jumeirah Palm on the morning of 2 September 2008, something was tragically amiss.

What can be seen in the images is the complete ruination of the jewel of the Palm Atlantis crown--devastation of the new hotel's magnificent lobby, along with damage to the centerpiece presidential bridge suites.

Recall the massive mushroom-cloud warehouse fire that turned the morning skies across most of urban Dubai black, one early morning a few months ago. Recall the morning fire a year and a half ago which echoed 9/11, as smoke billowed from a 35 floor tower under construction.

Think back on the string of 200+ cars, dozens ablaze, that littered the country's main highway one early March morning in 2008. Picture again also the waters of the Dubai Marina rushing into the 15 meter deep pit of one of the Marina's upcoming iconic towers.

Dubai, and other parts of the UAE, have seen massive fires and other tragic events which seem to now plague what is otherwise the miraculous transformation of a desert fiefdom into a 21st century urban marvel.

In contrast to all the other mishaps that have occurred recently, however, I find the Atlantis inferno particularly shocking. Perhaps more than any of the other disasters that have occurred, this one in no way should have been an accident waiting to happen.

This was not an exposed construction site, not a warehouse filled with flammable materials, not a fog shrouded highway.

This was an all but complete ready to open luxurious, fully furnished and decorated property on a par with the finest that the UAE has to offer.

This was the Burj Dubai just weeks short of opening, the airbus 380 about to embark on its maiden flight, the Dubai metro just prior to its big 9-9-09 opening.

The Palm Atlantis was indeed one of the handful of incredible Dubai projects which could do nothing less than wow even the greatest detractors.

But something has gone incredibly amiss here. It could just as well have happened on the day of the grand opening. It is really quite shocking that the responsible parties could have allowed such a tragedy to occur.

How long will it take to bring it back?

See more incredible images of destruction or more of what was but is no more.

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