Todd Reisz is an architect and writer living in Amsterdam. His work examines the global practice of architecture, specifically how the architect circulates technologies and cultural narratives. His recent book Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai (Stanford University Press, 2020) explores architecture’s packaging to sell Dubai on a global stage. He has also co-edited Building Sharjah (Birkhäuser, 2021), an archival investigation of the city’s vanishing twentieth-century landscape.
In 1959, experts agreed that if Dubai was to become something more than an unruly port, a plan was needed. Specifically, a town plan was prescribed to fortify the city from obscurity and disorder. With the proverbial handshake, Dubai's ruler hired British architect John Harris to design Dubai's strategy for capturing the world's attention—and then its investments.