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| 14 September, 2017

Cityscape Global: Plans moving forward for the European Union's 'House of Europe' in Dubai

The European Union flag is seen flying, at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, June 27, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU Brexit referendum. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The European Union flag is seen flying, at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, June 27, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU Brexit referendum. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

REUTERS/Jon Nazca


Plans to build a commercial property in Dubai for the European Union (EU) are currently underway with a construction tender expected next year, the project’s developer, Kleindienst Group, has said. The venture, currently awaiting building permission, is designed to be a ‘wood-only’ high-rise in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Thomson Reuters Projects reported in July last year that Dubai-based developer Kleindienst was in talks with the EU to build ‘The House of Europe’.

The G+16 mixed-use development will provide workspaces for companies from the EU that will be participating in the World Expo in 2020 in Dubai, for use both before and during the event. The building will contain offices, hotel apartments, retail, and leisure facilities.

“It is designed, and it has submitted to authorities for building permission,” the company’s chairman Josef Kleindienst told Thomson Reuters Projects in an interview at Cityscape in Dubai on Monday.

Kleindienst has acquired land in Nakheel’s Jumeriah Village Circle master community, where The House of Europe will be located, within reasonable proximity of the Expo site.

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Building permissions are expected to take longer than usual due to the choice of construction materials for the project.

“We have an interesting construction material… and this gives a little headache to the authorities because we want to build it in wood,” Kleindienst explained.

Wooden towers currently stand only in a small number of locations including Canada and Norway.

“The reason why we are interested to build it in wood is because wood is the only sustainable building material,” Kleindienst said, adding that he was referring to ‘sustainable’ wood supplies from forests that are being replanted and not depleted.

He said the lifespan of the wooden building would be four times that of a regular building in the emirate – and would be more sustainable in terms of construction waste if demolished in future.

“In Dubai, the regulation is requesting a builder to design the building in a way, and use construction and materials (that have) a lifespan of minimum 25 years,” Kleindienst said. “If you break the building, you have to remove all the waste. But wood can be reused.”

Kleindienst said the building would be tendered some time next year, but could not provide a definitive timeframe.

“It depends on permits,” he said, adding that construction would take approximately 18 months.

“We need to start it (construction) in latest mid-2018, to be ready in time. We need The House of Europe to be ready, say, end of 2019, beginning 2020, because some European countries, (and) the pre-opening teams for Expo will use these facilities.”

A ‘Sustainability Pavilion’ will be one of the three themed pavilions at the 4.38 square kilometre Expo 2020 site in Dubai, in line with the event’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

“Sometimes we treat this planet like we own it and there is no next generation,” Kleindienst added. “But there is a next generation, and we need to think about how we act and how this will affect our children, and their children.”

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© Zawya 2017