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Feng Shui forces Dubai financial centre redesign

CHINA'S ANCIENT art of feng shui has forced a redesign on Dubai's international financial centre complex, the project's client said this week.

Buildings on the project have been relocated and increased in height after original designs were found to go against feng shui principles.

'The changes are being made so the financial centre will attract business from the Far East, ' said Usama Amin, project manager for designer Hyder.

The redesign followed a study by specialist consultant House of Chi.

In Chinese feng shui means wind and water and the underlying philosophy is that the environment is sustained by energy called chi. The philosophy is taken very seriously in Hong Kong and China.

If buildings are not aligned with the landscape then it is believed that the chi will stagnate and breed illness and lethargy (NCE 30 November 2000).

The main building in the development is a 17 storey steel and concrete arch shaped structure known as the financial centre gateway.

This is under construction.

It will hold offices for the financial centre authority and a trading floor for the new Dubai stock exchange.

'According to feng shui the gateway building is the brain of the site. We must surround the brain with water and wood to encourage wealth and energy, ' said Marwan Kalifa Al Felasi, project manager for the Dubai government Real Estate Development Department.

Rather than have office blocks alongside the gateway structure, the tallest blocks of 40 and 60 storeys have been moved to the end of the site, west of the gateway building.

'We have moved the low rise buildings to be next to the gateway with the tower blocks at the end of the site to prevent congestion of energy, ' said Al Felasi.

Water features, additional planting of green areas and the use of wood around the site are also to be added to the original design.

Also in Dubai construction of the first snow dome in the Middle East will start this month. The project is part of a £500M shopping centre development known as Mall of the Emirates. Contractor Swiss Boring has already started construction of the piled foundations. Designer is Hyder Consulting.

INFOPLUS www. nceplus.co.uk

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