40 years of the United Arab Emirates have spelt 40 years of economic growth, innovation and wealth. And that process has entailed redefining the topography of the desert cities. The moment the Arab federation was born, cities began to grow out of the desert sands in the 1970s, at breathtaking speed. Buildings bristling with superlatives came into being - glittering metropolises with unmistakable skylines. Architectural bureaus that made the running internationally were commissioned to make visions come true. Radically innovative projects were undertaken on the basis not only of massive oil revenues but also of a decisive will to make something new on the part of the political leadership.