Atkins to design Dubai Canal taxi stations

The contract for the design for marine transport stations along the Dubai Canal has been awarded to the architecture and engineering consultancy Atkins. This presumably happened some time ago – Atkins wasn’t mentioned when the renders for the designs were originally published last year, but they don’t seem to have changed since then.

RTA says the canal stops along the 3km canal will provide transport links for commuters and tourists from Business Bay to Jumeirah; around 13 million passengers already use marine transit each year, mostly on the Creek and in Dubai Marina. Anecdotally they tend to be tourists, but commuting could be a growth area for the future – especially along the Dubai Canal.

Atkins says its winning concept was derived from Dubai’s heritage and “the historic fishing and pearling culture of the region”. A large translucent shading canopy over each station symbolises a fishing net being cast into the water. Photovoltaic panels in the canopy will generate solar power to supply light at night, so the stations should look pretty good as glowing beacons along the canal (assuming they can compete with the ambient lighting from canalside development).

Atkins has a longstanding relationship with the RTA following contracts on the Dubai Creek Abra (water taxis) and ferry stations in 2010/11, and four-year relationship with the Marine Transport Agency.

Adrian Lindon, Atkins Fellow and director of architecture, commended the Government of Dubai’s thinking on this project – opening the Dubai Water Canal in 2016 and developing more public transport choices throughout the city demonstrates an “innovative vision”, he said. “Public transportation is the cornerstone of smart healthy cities. As such the RTA is playing a vital role in meeting Dubai’s Smart City aspirations.”

Atkins is looking at the possibility of 3D-printing some of the station structure modules, according to Lindon. As he noted: “The Dubai 3D Printing Strategy is particularly relevant to the construction sector with a target to 3D print 25 per cent of buildings in Dubai by 2030.”

Atkins, which has just been acquired by the giant Canadian engineer and contractor SNC-Lavalin for C$3.6 billion, is celebrating 50 years in the Middle East region this year. Its projects have included the Dubai Metro (Atkins was the lead designer), the Business Bay/Downtown area (masterplanning), the Burj Al Arab (architecture and engineering), and the Dubai Opera (just about everything). Atkins is also working on Al Habtoor City, a major 395,000 m²mixed-use development beside the Dubai Canal in Business Bay.

Construction of the marine stations is planned to start in 2019.

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