Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Crossing connects two rapidly developing urban areas on either side of Dubai Creek. As such, the crossing is an integral link in the urban fabric. As it rises above the creek, overlooking the city of Dubai with views of one of the world’s most striking urban skylines, it presents us with an opportunity to create a gateway between city and nature and focus attention on this scarce yet important water-based ecology.
Dubai Creek brings the tidal Gulf waters deep into the desert landscape. With it, a natural ecosystem travels south through the urban fabric, and culminates at Ras-Al-Khor wildlife sanctuary, one of the few protected urban ecological areas in the region. As urbanization continues to expand and surround the creek, the protected mangroves and salt marshes will become an oasis in the heart of the city. As the bridge traverses the creek, it provides us the opportunity to recreate many types of tidal landscapes across the transect, expanding this critical resource by over 60 acres.
At the midpoint support, our team proposes an iconic island – Dubai Nature Island – as a mitigating force and central orientating natural feature in Dubai Creek that reveals and protects native urban ecology. Conceptually, the island consists of a hard outer shell protecting a soft interior: the shape is dictated by the ebb and flow of the tidal creek. The outer shell is exposed to the landscape outside the island: the creek, the bridge, city views, the opera, and the lagoon. The soft interior allows water to infiltrate the core of the island, creating an inner intimate landscape that is unique to the island and the region. The island is formed from the material excavated for the bridge foundation.
The integration of the landing design into the urban fabric will encourage users traveling by car, bicycle, metro, or on foot, to stop and enjoy the unique landscape of the water in this desert place. It will also enlarge the habitat for the large bird population and other animals of the mangrove as well as aid in improving water and air quality.