World’s largest – and most controversial – picture frame opens in Dubai

The Dubai Frame, a 150m tall, 93m wide structure that resembles an empty picture frame, has opened to the public.

A museum at ground level showcases the city’s transformation from a "fishing village to metropolis" according to the project’s website. The bridge connecting at the top has with a glass middle offering views over the city.

The $44m project has been under development since 2009, when a design competition run by German lift-maker Thyssen Krupp and the International Union of Architects was won by Mexican architect Fernando Donis.

Image courtesy of Fernando Donis

In 2016, Donis filed a lawsuit against Thyssen Krupp and the municipality of Dubai in the American federal court. In this he claimed that shortly after winning the competition he was reduced to an advisory role and told he should relinquish his intellectual property to the municipality of Dubai.

Donis’ website says the architect originally proposed a frame that was less opulent than the completed 50-storey gold and black structure. The architect commented: "Instead of another massive structure I proposed a void, something that would frame all the other landmarks."

Image courtesy of the Dubai Frame website

Thyssen Krupp is quoted by The Guardian as saying that the matter was a "commercial disagreement", and the International Union of Architects is quoted as saying it "cannot legally intervene in the aftermath of a competition".

The completed project is based in Dubai’s Zabeel Park and costs $14 for adults and $5 for children.

Top image courtesy of the Dubai Frame website

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