Al Seef

Dubai, UAE

The Contemporary Area of Al Seef has been created as a complementary foil to the Heritage Area which forms part of the wider masterplan. The Contemporary Area has activated 670m of the Dubai Creek waterfront with boutique food and beverage, retail, hospitality, and marina amenities over a total of GFA of 85,000sqm.

The site has been developed in 2 phases with the first phase accommodating the F&B, retail, marina spaces whilst the fourth phase encompassing 2 hotels (a 200-key Canopy and a 150-key Hampton), both by Hilton, additional F&B components, and along with the car parking structures for both phases.

Retail, F&B, Hotel
Site Area:
104,543sqm (670m)
Architecture, Masterplanning, CGI
Phase 1 open in 2017 ; Phase 4 open in 2018
Al Seef is located in the historic heart of Dubai, located along the Dubai Creek.
The design approach of the Contemporary Area resonates the scale and rhythm of the adjoining traditional phases of the development, describing a spatial narrative along the creek-side through the masterplan linking to the adjacent Al Fahidi Cultural Historical Neighbourhood.
The retail and F&B pavilions draw inspiration from the traditional arcade and souk typology in a contemporary adaptation. The meandering pathways between small stacked pavilion structures create an intimate scale and alternative shaded environment to add to the variety and richness of the visitor experience.

The massing of the 2 hotel buildings is fragmented into a series of smaller blocks to create a series of courtyard spaces and more intimate relationship with the public space. The reduction of the scale also reflects the scale and intimacy of the urban grain of the adjacent Al Bastakiya District.

The retail and F&B provision from Phase 1 of the development has been broken down into a series of small scale pavilions reflecting the scale of the surrounding historical courtyard houses.

These standalone retail and F&B pavilions look out towards Dubai Creek and the new marina. The water facing elevations of the pavilions fully open up in temperate months, blurring the distinction between internal and external spaces, also minimising cooling requirements.

External dining terraces are incorporated into the design, extending the internal spaces outward to provide a canvas of exciting, active, and bustling F&B concepts. Roof terraces create private dining experiences with views over the new marina and creek skyline.
The larger hotel components from Phase 4 of the development are made up of clusters of smaller buildings, accommodating a 200-key Canopy and a 150-key Hampton both by Hilton.

The hospitality amenity and pool decks are elevated to the roof tops to benefiting from elevated viewpoints across both the waterfront and the dramatic Dubai Skyline.

Extending from the hotels, a series of water pavilions spill out into the creek itself, providing a unique dining experience with views across the marina.

winning awards

DNA Paris Design Awards 2020 - Winner of Architecture / Commercial & Offices
International Property Awards 2019 - Winner of Mixed Use Architecture Dubai
MIPIM Global Awards 2019 - Finalist of Best Mixed Use Development
12th International Design Awards - Silver Award of Best Urban Design
Commercial Interior Design Awards 2019 - Best Outdoor Design Awards
HKIA Cross-Strait Architectural Design Awards 2019 - Commercial (Shopping) Nominated Awards
Middle East Architect Awards 2018 - Best Leisure and Hospitality Project
a&d Trophy Awards 2018 - Best International Architecture
identity Design Awards 2018 - Winner of Editor's Choice
The Architecture MasterPrize 2018 - Best Mixed Use Development
The Architecture MasterPrize 2018 - Best Commercial Project
Architecture Podium International Architecture Awards 2018 - Best Mixed Use Development


Design Partners - Gordon Affleck, Paul Rodgers
Project Partners - Chris Jones, Ross Milne, Miriam Auyeung

Architectural Team 1
Kishor Lad, Eugene de Villiers, Phil Gray, Colin Foster, Jon Derrin, Javier Manjon,
Alessandra Varonier, Almudena Lacruz, Jose Castaneda, Nick Cunningham, Thomas Odorico,
Riccardo Ferrari, David Hill

Architectural Team 2
Sonja Stoffels, Vincent Fung, Daniel Wang, Gwyneth Choi,
Bryan Diehl, Yan Liu, Yushan Wu, Adam Wang, Neil Sansom, Dan Narita

CGI Team
Peter Alsterholm, Jon Martin, Yasser Salomon, David Guardado


10 Design – Lead Design Architect
W.S. Atkins & Partners Overseas – Lead Consultant / Architect of Record / Structure Engineer / MEP Engineer
CH2M – Marine Engineer
Cracknell – Landscape Architect and Landscape Lighting Designer
Dutco Balfour Beatty (L.L.C.) – Contractor
Genius Loci – Signage and Way Finding Designer
Mace – Project Management Consultant
MCTS – Hotel Kitchens Designer
Meinhardt – Façade Engineer
MLC – Cost Management Consultant
NeoLight – Façade and Interior Lighting Designer
Studio HBA – Interior Designer
Vortex – Fire Safety Engineer

Photo courtesy of Rafael Vargas, Gerry O’Leary



contact us