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District One: A Haven Within Dubai


Courtesy of Meydan Sobha

Dubai is the financial and nightlife capital of the Arab world. The city is defined by thumping discos, gravity defying buildings and blindingly bright beaches. But when one wants to take a break from the non-stop partying and incessant deal making where to go? And what if one wanted to settle down and raise a family in Dubai?

Sensing a need for an island of repose in the bedlam, a joint venture consisting of the Meydan Group and the Sobha Group is putting the finishing touches on a suburban style-community called District One, located just four minutes away from Dubai’s downtown. District One is situated near another new development called Meydan One, which in typical Dubai fashion is slated for awe inspiring sights including the world’s largest tower, the tallest observation deck, the longest ski slope, and the largest dancing fountain.

Low density District One is making a different kind of statement. One of its defining features is its 600 acres of parks and lawns as well as a large lagoon. There also are landscaped corridors where one can take a stroll, something that is difficult to do in many parts of the auto oriented city. Indeed, a big emphasis of this places is catering to active lifestyles with cycling and running tracks made from new low impact surfaces that loop around the entire development.

Befitting Dubai’s international population, there is a style to make people from various cultural heritages feel at home. The first phase, slated for completion at the end of the year, consists of 267 villas in three main styles: Modern Arabic, Mediterranean and “Contemporary.”

All three styles emphasize modern flourishes. Mediterranean is defined by pergolas and columns embellished with Southern European motifs. Modern Arabic consists of geometric patterned interiors, pools shaped with Arabic arches, windows covered with wooden screens, and central majlis or courtyards.  Contemporary, which is steeped in the International style idiom, makes the strongest statement. It eschews ornament and makes its statement through a hierarchy of spaces defined by different shades of gray.

Green open space, tranquility, dwellings with accents that remind you of your cultural heritage. The whole place doesn’t seem very Dubai like. But that seems to be the point. And if you want to visit the city, it is right at your doorstep.

District One by Meydan Sobha

District One by Meydan Sobha

About the Author

Alex Ulam is a freelance journalist and design critic based in New York.

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