ARCHITECTURE: Dubai wants to be Mall of the World to boost tourism and highlight kingdom’s architectural skills….

The world’s first indoor temperature-controlled city is to be built in Dubai by property developer Dubai Holding. Called Mall of the World, it will cost an estimated US$7bn.

The result will be a 48 million sq ft tourism complex when completed by 2020, in time to be the star attraction at the UAE World Expo trade fair that year. It will be home to the world’s largest family indoor theme park, 100 new hotels, parking space for 50,000-plus vehicles, plus the world’s biggest shopping mall with 8 million sq ft of floor space.

Additionally, the city will feature a replica of New York’s Broadway theatre district, London’s shopping district Oxford Street, and Barcelona’s La Rambla. The state-financed venture will include a retractable glass roof.

It will close to protect the resort’s visitors during Dubai’s stifling hot season when temperatures rise as high as 50 degrees Celsius for a significant portion of the year. During the cooler season, the roof will open up.

Among the 180 million visitors predicted annually will be an estimated 500,000 “medical tourists”, who will visit the “wellness area” for a variety of health remedies, ranging from spas to cosmetic surgery.

The desert-laden United Arab Emirates has funded some of the world’s biggest architectural projects. It still has not finished Dubailand, the US$64bn leisure district aiming to compete with Disney’s theme parks. The 829.8-metre (2,722ft) Burj Khalifa was for several years the world’s tallest skyscraper.