Dubai's stunning architecture

Date: 2017-05-11
The UAE continues to develop at pace and almost every week makes incredible announcements.
There are too many formidable structures in Dubai to include a comprehensive list, but here’s a taste of some old and new, to spark your curiosity.

Burj Khalifa

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is over 828m tall at more than 160 storeys. Designed by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building was inspired by the Hymenocallis flower, and features three ‘lobes’. At such a great height, wind, pressure and temperature all posed a challenge, and the stepped effect of the structure avoids winds vortices being able to form.

Sheikh Rashid Tower

The first skyscraper to be built in Dubai, the now dwarfed Sheikh Rashid Tower remains a testimony to the vision of former ruler Sheikh Rashid, who at the time built it in the middle of the desert as a symbol of his ambition for Dubai’s growth. Sure enough, the city grew to meet it, and much further beyond.

Burj Al Arab

Standing on its own man-made island, this dramatic Dubai icon was designed to be iconic and is now recognised around the world for tales of its opulence. Designed by architect Tom Wright of WS Atkins from the United Kingdom, the 321m tall landmark is inspired by the billowing sail of the traditional Arabian wooden dhow, and is a tribute to the nation’s seafaring heritage.

The Gate, DIFC

The Gate announces your arrival in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and leads into a boulevard of business. Designed by California-based architects Gensler, it is modelled on Paris’s Arc De Triomphe.

Emirates Towers

Overlooking Dubai’s commercial district, the twin Emirates Towers are another distinctive element of the city skyline, designed by architect Hazel Wong. The twins are actually different heights – the office tower being 350m and the hotel tower reaching 305m. Both topped with equilateral triangles, the towers are connected by a central podium, known as the Boulevard, home to shops and restaurants.

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Travel back in time at this atmospheric area in Bur Dubai – one of the oldest heritage sites in the city. The neighbourhood dates back to the early 1900s and is characterised by traditional windtowers, known in Arabic as ‘barjeel’, bustling courtyards and maze of winding alleyways, called ‘sikka’. There are some great cultural attractions to visit in the area, including the Dubai Museum.

Etihad Museum

Designed by Canadian firm Moriyama and Teshima Architects, the museum marks the site where the United Arab Emirates was founded in 1971. The roof’s undulating curves are inspired by the shape of the unification manuscript and is supported by seven tapering columns that symbolise the pens used by leaders of the seven emirates to sign the agreement. Surrounding the 25,000sq m structure is a plaza and pond, and the historical Union House and Guest House have been restored as part of the project.

Coming Soon

Dubai Creek Harbour & Tower

Poised to steal the title as the world’s new tallest tower in 2020, Dubai Creek Harbour & Tower will boast 360-degree views of the city. Designed by Spanish/Swiss architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava Valls, the tower will be crowned with revolving balconies and VIP observation garden decks that recreate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The Opus

Dame Zaha Hadid DBE’s first venture in Dubai, expected to open during 2017, The Opus is a cube made of two structures. Home to ME Hotel by Melia Group of Hotels as well as luxury residences individually furnished by the world-famous architect. Appearing to hover above ground level, the building’s pixelated façade is reflective in the light, meaning it appears as a solid structure, but at night, the exterior appears to turn transparent as light floods the interior.

The Address Jumeirah Resort + Spa

A striking vision on the beachfront, The Address Jumeirah Resort + Spa will feature a shimmering cube-shaped façade, with its centre carved out. This will maximise the effect of the sunlight and views of and from the building. Made of two connected structures – one housing the hotel and the other luxury residences – there will be penthouses, sky lofts and a rooftop infinity pool opening to uninterrupted views of the sea.

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