If there’s one city every architect has to explore at least once in their lifetime, it’s undoubtedly the jewel of the middle east- Dubai. The city has more than 190 skyscrapers, making it a true city of the future. A relatively “young” city, Dubai exhibits a fascinating juxtaposition of towering skyscrapers placed alongside more traditional Islamic and Persian structures.
A man-made paradise, Dubai has a plethora of Architectural marvels restricted not just to its skyscrapers. Indeed, some of the best examples of modern Islamic architecture can be found in Dubai, making the city a veritable cornucopia of architectural gems. From Zaha Hadid to Norman Foster, some of the most famous architects in the world have contributed to the city’s architecture. For architects traveling to Dubai, here’s a list of places you must not fail to visit:
1. Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world since 2009, the award-winning Burj Khalifa is a must-visit structure for every architect. Standing tall at almost 830 meters, it was designed by architect Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings and, Merrill. The Burj Khalifa perfectly combines modern architectural technology with traditional Islamic design, making the building structurally strong while retaining its aesthetic appeal.
2. Cayan Tower
The Cayan Tower, also known as the Infinity Tower, is the world’s second tallest high rise building with a 90-degree rotation. The tower is primarily a residential building completed in the year 2013. It is a 73 stories tall skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings and, Merrill (SOM) group.
3. Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab is one of the tallest hotels in the world. This luxurious hotel is shaped like the sail of a ship. Designed by architect Tom Wright of WKK Architects, the construction of the hotel was completed in the year 1999. An artificial island was created especially for the hotel to rest on, making this quite an extraordinary project.
4. The Palm Islands
These unique palm-tree shaped islands are the largest artificial islands in the world. The Palm Islands comprise of 3 islands in total. These islands house some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, glamorous beachfront homes, and various other entertainment and leisure activities. Construction of these islands commenced in 2001, but as of yet only one island, the Palm Jumeirah has been fully completed.
5. Atlantis the Palm Hotel and Resort
This is an extravagant hotel and resort located on the Palm Jumeirah Island. With over 1500 guest rooms, adventure theme parks, water parks, and access to serene white beaches, the hotel embodies the word “luxury”. The hotel was designed by the firm Wimberly, Allison, Tong, and Goo (WATG). It opened in the year 2008 and is one of the main attractions of the palm islands.
6. Princess Tower
The Princess Tower is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. Its construction took place over 6 years. With over 101 stories and numerous amenities like indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gymnasiums, saunas, steam rooms, etc.; the building is one of the most premium properties in the city.
7. Dubai Miracle Garden
This Garden might not be an architectural wonder precisely. But it is surely a sight to be seen. Occupying a space of over 72,000 square meters, the Dubai Miracle Garden is the largest natural flower garden in the world. The garden features over 50 million species of flowers and over 250 million species of plants.
8. Ski Dubai
An indoor ski resort laid over an area of 22,500 square meters, the Ski Dubai is a part of the Mall of the Emirates. The resort was opened in 2005 and features numerous slopes, play areas and slides. All other necessary accouterments associated with ski parks, such as boxes, rails, and kickers are also present in the resort. Another unique feature of Ski Dubai is its penguin enclosures.
9. The World Islands
Inspired by the map of the world, the world islands will consist of a total of 300 man-made islands located off the coast of Dubai. These islands cover an area over 6 km wide and 9 km long. The construction of this project was managed by the same Dutch companies who had overseen the construction of the Palm Jumeirah. The construction for this project began in 2004 and is still underway.
10. Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the second-largest mall in the world by area. This mall attracts over 54 million visitors every year. It has over 1000 retailers, an aquarium and underwater zoo and an interactive theme park for children.
11. Mall of the World
This is an ongoing project to build the largest shopping center in the world which will cover an area of 700,000 square meters. The mall will ideally comprise a fully air-conditioned city, the largest indoor game park in the world, and numerous theatres, enclosures for cultural events, play areas, etc. Around 20,000 hotel rooms are also expected to be constructed within the structure.
12. The Opus
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Opus is slated to open soon. The mixed-use type building has a unique, almost fantastical façade with an irregularly shaped void in the middle. It will consist of several restaurants, office spaces as well as a luxury hotel complex. With its dazzling glass façade and the signature sleek lines of Zaha Hadid Architects, the building is gaining popularity amongst visitors.
13. Dubai Frame
The Dubai Frame is a glass, steel, aluminum and reinforced concrete structure placed such that it frames the architectural splendor of Dubai. The project was designed by architect Fernando Donis who won a design competition organized by the Government of Dubai. It opened in 2018 and attracts millions of visitors each year.
14. Gevora Hotel
The tallest hotel building in the world, as per Guinness World Records, the Gevora Hotel is a luxury building with over 75 floors. The flashy gold structure is a marvel of steel and concrete and has more than 500 guest rooms.
15. The Green Planet
As the name suggests, this is an immersive indoor vertical rain forest designed by architect Gavin McTavish. The structure draws inspiration from an origami cube. It houses more than 3000 species of exotic plants and animals.