In 1947, the British government sought a “gift” of land from Dubai’s ruler, Saeed bin Maktoum bin Hasher Al-Maktoum. The process of selecting, securing, and designing for that land plot established architecture as a key component of the British government’s goals in Dubai, particularly to initiate a modernization campaign. With references to British public record documents, this chapter provides evidence that Dubai’s modernization began several years earlier than many histories suggest. Some histories claim that Dubai’s ruler offered the British government a piece of land beyond the city limits so that the British “should not impinge too closely on the affairs of Dubai’s population”. The fenced-off compound as a spatial model had already been implemented by British interests in the region: at the Sharjah air station in 1932 and later by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company camps, including the one adjacent to the agency compound site.