Part 2 – Amirreza Gostaryfard

City of Sand and Fog (Dubai Construction workers)

Project Description

In an effort to provide humane living conditions for immigrant workers in Dubai who are trapped in the flawed immigration system, I propose a ‘Worker City’ to replace the ‘labor camps’ where workers live today. The city is being tested at a variety of levels, from planning, infrastructure, modularity to materiality; certain elements such as planning, infrastructure are playing a significant role to generate a worker community which will provide necessary amenities for the migrant workers in Dubai. The immigration of workers from overseas into Dubai is an overlooked humanitarian issue, from the moment they are deceived into an idealized lifestyle, to their day to day living/working conditions once they arrive in Dubai, all the way to the deprivation of their rights as humans.


Dubai and almost all other Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries have a shameful way of luring uneducated foreigners into their countries as immigrants, and treating them as modern day slaves. Companies and individual citizens control immigrants by enforcing the Kafala sponsorship system; this is a system used to monitor migrant laborers, working mostly in the construction and domestic sectors, in Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. With Kefala, companies waive international guidelines and rights set by organizations such as the International Labor Organization. While an issue such as the Kafala system is just one of many facets of the overall situation, my project focuses on the impact that architecture can have to improve the lives of the South Asian labor force behind the luxurious facade of Dubai. This is best represented through a ghost city running parallel with Dubai’s sky line. This proposition will also be a starting point of testing and tackling the living conditions in extreme climate conditions, by imposing green architectural systems, with its main criteria being:

-Natural ventilation

-Reduction of temperature by natural methods

-Traditional methods construction (Optimization of wind towers and wind catchers)

-Materiality (the use of sand as the main construction material)

My design thesis presents a set of specific program requirements and functional activities. The approach embraces spatial organization and technical needs as essential form-givers, employing rigorous analysis of user culture. I seek to distill these core qualities into clear program objectives that can be supported and expressed in the functional and aesthetic character of the design. My intention was to apply visionary thinking from the outset while ensuring that environmental principles are integrated with the strategic goals of the project.

Amirreza Gostaryfard

Last but not least, my project is a direct response to the studio brief: CITYzen Agency thinks about the strategic urban design of the city and understanding the resources within communities, the city can become more adaptive, resilient, egalitarian and coherent, and this is where I become really interested and try to address my project, in Bruno Latour’s terms, ‘Critical attention is shifted from architecture as a matter of fact to architecture as a matter of concern.’



Bond Bryan Architects

West Yorkshire Society of Architects

Part of Lighting Exchanges from Deltalight

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