Architecture in Dubai
The city's most fascinating modern structures

Dubai is known for its incredible vision and ingenious architectural feats, so it’s no surprise that the city is home to some amazing building and structures. Whether you’re a fan of awe-inspiring design, crossing off an item from your bucket list, or just looking for a fantastic backdrop for your holiday snaps, these Dubai modern landmarks are all worth a visit.

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Burj Khalifa

An obvious contender for Dubai’s stand-out architectural landmark, the Burj Khalifa needs little introduction as one of the most famous buildings in the world since it opened in 2010. At over 828m tall with 162 floors, it’s an unmissable feature of the city’s skyline as the world’s tallest building.

Located in Downtown Dubai and next to The Dubai Mall, the At The Top tour takes visitors up 125 floors to see an incredible panoramic view that encompasses the entirety of Dubai and beyond. Outside, the exterior paneling includes 33,000sqm of hybrid LED nodes that light up nightly, and for the first time, were included in a record-breaking laser and light show to herald in 2018.

Tickets: From AED135 for adults, AED100 for children Downtown Dubai
+971 4 366 1655

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Dubai Frame

A one-of-a-kind structure, the Dubai Frame is literally that – a supersized picture frame with a special purpose. Viewed from one side, the golden-clad structure neatly frames Dubai’s past, including its historical heritage district and the pearl-diving ports that once supported the city’s rise.

From the other side, you can see Dubai’s future, with modern skyscrapers including Burj Khalifa stretching out to the desert. Visitors to the Frame can explore a third perceptive from 150m up, with a 360-degree view from the structure’s 25sqm crystal-clear glass panel. Don’t miss the immersive gallery on the mezzanine level, which makes use of projections, audiovisual presentations, and even curated scents and mists for an engaging retelling of the city’s origins.

Tickets: AED50 for adults, AED20 for children Dubai Frame, Zabeel Park
+971 4 398 6888

Atlantis, The Palm

Perhaps one of the world’s most iconic hotels, the Atlantis, The Palm has been in the spotlight since its launch in 2008, thanks to its eye-catching pink sandcastle design, glam interiors and prime position on the apex of the Palm Jumeirah island in Dubai.

While only hotel guests are privy to the luxurious resort, everyone can take that bucket list selfie in front of the hotel’s memorable turrets and towers from the adjacent Palm Boardwalk. Alternatively, book a table at the resort’s celebrity-led restaurants, including Nobu by Michelin-starred chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay.

Crescent Road, Palm Jumeirah
+971 4 4226 2000

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

One of the city’s original five-star hotels, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel has maintained its legacy of luxury since it first opened in 1997. Inspired by the shape of a cresting wave, the building is a stand-out on the city’s pristine shoreline.

The lush resort is home to several notable venues and is best known for its close-proximity to another Dubai icon, the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab. The hotel is currently undergoing a series of refurbishments to refresh the hotel and will reopen in October 2018.

Jumeirah Street
+971 4 348 0000

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Cayan Tower

Visitors to Dubai Marina won’t be able to miss this incredible structure. The shimmering silver Cayan Tower twists 90 degrees as it rises. In an amazing feat of clever engineering, each of the 75 floors is rotated by 1.2 degrees to create the helix shape.

It was designed by the same architectural firm behind Burj Khalifa, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, together with local specialists Khatib & Alami Dubai.

While the tower itself is home to residential apartments, a day spa and a gym, it is best viewed from across the water on the Marina Walk to be able to fully appreciate the building’s beauty.

Dubai Marina
+971 4 369 9910

Emirates Towers

An early architectural icon in the city, Emirates Towers is one of Dubai’s most recognisable skyscrapers since opening in 2000. Located along the famed Sheikh Zayed Road, which boasts other leading architectural examples including the record-breaking Burj Khalifa, the towers are a sleek example of modern vision.

With equilateral triangular facades, the towers are inspired by traditional Islamic themes. It features a hotel block and an office tower that boasts the Prime Minister’s Office among other prestigious names. Both towers are connected by a central podium – The Boulevard, a leading retail and dining destination in the city.

Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 319 8999


Taking its style direction from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, Wafi melds together the old and new for a unique building shape that stands out even amongst Dubai’s towering skyscrapers.

The complex is home to a mall with 350 stores, 30 restaurants and the Raffles Dubai hotel, which rises 18 floors from the ground in a modernised pyramid formation. At night, the ridges are illuminated for an extra striking effect.

The mall also features the Khan Murjan souk, inspired 14th century bazaars in the region. It’s filled with artisan wares and unique souvenirs, amidst a striking setting that’s complemented by the intricate stained glass on the ceiling which was hand-painted by skilled craftsmen.

Sheikh Rashid Road, Oud Metha
+971 4 324 4100

The Opus

Designed by the late Dame Zaha Hadid, revered for her inventive approach to architecture, The Opus stands out in Downtown’s Business Bay district for its striking design.

Set to house the first ‘ME by Melia’ design hotel in the region, the building was crafted in the form of a cube with two separate towers that merge together – from the bottom at the atrium level, as well as from a bridge 71m above the ground. The middle is given the illusion of being ‘carved’ out, creating iconic curves.

Once the ME by Melia hotel opens, The Opus will house 12 restaurants and a rooftop lounge, along with a variety of luxe residences.

Business Bay
+971 800 666

Dubai Canal

One of the city’s newest attractions is the Dubai Water Canal, a 3.2km long waterway which winds its way to the Arabian Gulf from the Creek in Old Dubai through Business Bay. Its effectively made parts of old Dubai, including Bur Dubai and Karama, an island in one of the greatest urban transformations in the city’s history.

There are five pedestrian bridges in the area, each offering prime vantage points of the city skyline. One of the most famous ones is the Tolerance Bridge that marks the International Day for Tolerance, which falls on 16 November.

The Habtoor City is nearby, home to the spectacular La Perle show masterminded by artistic director Franco Dragone, five-star hotels and a dining and entertainment destination known as The Atrium.

Business Bay
+971 800 666

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