Architecture in Dubai

Architecture in Dubai 20150625T044129 20161009T143807:636116206875679678

Dubai’s skyline is unlike any other. Boasting the world’s tallest building and the world’s tallest hotel, there’s certainly no shortage of other dramatic skyscrapers – but it’s the diversity and creativity of the architecture that really blows visitors away. Read on for our guide to the city’s most notable buildings, from the record-breaking icons to those influenced by classic Arabic design.

A round-up of Dubai’s architectural icons

Highlights of the city’s staggering skyline

Architecture is a subjective field – some people prefer ultra-modern and minimalist, while others are all about classic design – but one thing that is certain: anyone visiting Dubai for the first time can't help but be impressed by the city's skyline. Here's our guide to Dubai's most striking buildings.

Burj Khalifa

Standing at just under 830 metres tall, the Burj Khalifa is not only the tallest building in Dubai, but the tallest on the planet. The rocket ship-like design makes this striking skyscraper look as if it’s going to take off any minute.

Architect: Adrian Smith at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

Opened: 2010


Burj al Arab

Another bastion of Dubai's landscape of iconic buildings, Burj al Arab is famous for being one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. The sail-like structure features a prominent helipad at the top, which has played host to number stunts including a game of tennis between Roger Federer and Andre Agassi.

Architect: Tom Wright at WKK Architects

Opened: 1999


Raffles Hotel Dubai

Is this Dubai or Cairo? Such is the majesty of the 19-storey Raffles Hotel, if it wasn't for the bedroom lights peeking out of the pyramid-shaped structure, one could easily be excused for thinking the latter.

Architect: Bryn Lummus

Opened: 2007


Cayan Tower

Standing at an impressive 306m tall, the 73-storey Cayan Tower is the most imposing sight in Dubai Marina. But it's not just its height that the tower is famous for: the twist of 90 degrees makes this building absolutely unique and a truly remarkable sight.

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

Opened: 2013


JW Marriott Marquis

In another “world's tallest” record for Dubai, the JW Marriott Marquis has the illustrious title of being the world's tallest hotel. The massive twin towers that form the hotel stand at 355 metres high, and the jagged design really makes them stand out in the busy Downtown skyline.

Architect: Ashok Korgaonkar at Archgroup International Consultants

Opened: 2013


Jumeirah Beach Hotel

The gleaming, wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel has been a Dubai landmark ever since it first opened its doors in 1997. Despite not even making the top 100 tallest buildings in the city, it's still one of the most notable, thanks to a unique shape that perfectly complements the Burj al Arab, which it is in close proximity to.

Architect: WS Atkins

Opened: 1997


Atlantis The Palm

Located on the apex on the Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis is one of Dubai's most grandiose buildings. Themed around the mythical lost city but incorporating a definite flavour of Arabia, the imposing arches can be seen from anywhere on the Palm and kilometres up and down the coastline.

Architect: Wimberly, Allison, Tong and Goo (WATG)

Opened: 2008


The Address Downtown Dubai

Standing directly opposite the Burj Khalifa, separated only by the beautiful Dubai Fountain, The Address Downtown catches the eye with its distinctive blue-and-white exterior lights and unusual asymmetric design.

Architect: WS Atkins

Opened: 2008


A symbol of Dubai's financial might, DIFC Gate is a strong square structure that is simple yet striking, and is actually one of the city’s newest cultural and gastronomic hotspots, with the likes of Zuma, Gaucho and Opera Gallery and Ayyam Gallery.

Architect: Gensler

Opened: 2004


Emirates Towers

One of Dubai's oldest “modern” wonders, the two buildings that form Emirates Towers have stood for more than 15 years. With the office tower standing at 355 metres and the hotel tower measuring 309 metres, they are the 23rd and 47th tallest buildings in the world respectively.

Architect: Hazel Wong

Opened: 2000


Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Dubai isn't all about gleaming skyscrapers and ultra-modern, groundbreaking designs. Although the historic district of Al Fahidi has had most of its buildings renovated or rebuilt, the classic Arabian designs have remained, keeping this area as a throwback to the olden days when Dubai was a far less flashy destination.

English Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing
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