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Arts & Culture

Dubai's most fascinating architectural landmarks

Mon, August 24, 2020

Dubai is known for its incredible vision and ingenious feats of architecture, so it’s no surprise that it is home to some amazing structures.

Dubai is known for its incredible vision and ingenious feats of architecture, so it’s no surprise that it is home to some amazing structures.

1

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

An obvious contender for Dubai’s outstanding architectural landmark, the Burj Khalifa needs little introduction. Commanding attention since opening in 2010, it stands over 828m tall and pierces the city’s skyline as the world’s tallest building. Located in Downtown Dubai, next to The Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa's At The Top tour treats visitors to incredible panoramic views from dedicated observation decks. There's lots of incredible design features to admire, such as the 33,000sqm of hybrid LED nodes on the tower's exterior paneling that light up the night sky – these were included, for the first time, in a record-breaking laser and light show to herald in 2018.

2

The Opus

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. Housing the first ME by Melia design hotel in the region, the building is crafted in the form of a cube with two separate towers that merge together – from the bottom at the atrium level, and from a bridge 71m above the ground. The middle is given the illusion of being ‘carved’ out, creating iconic curves. With the opening of ME by Melia hotel, The Opus features 12 restaurants and a rooftop lounge, along with a variety of luxe residences.

3

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

One of the city’s original five-star properties, 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 definitely stands out along the city’s pristine shoreline of Jumeirah Beach, and it's within walking distance to another Dubai icon, the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel. Guests will notice that even the corridors within the hotel are curved, guaranteeing perfect sunset views from every angle.  

4

Emirates Towers

Emirates Towers

A sleek example of modern vision, Emirates Towers is one of Dubai’s most recognisable skyscrapers. It is located along the famed Sheikh Zayed Road, which features other leading architectural structures including the record-breaking Burj Khalifa. With equilateral triangular facades, the towers are inspired by traditional Islamic themes. Inside, you'll find a hotel block and an office tower that houses 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.

5

Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame

A one-of-a-kind structure, Dubai Frame is literally that – a supersized picture frame that presents 360-degree views of the city from a height of 150m. To the north, visitors can view Old Dubai, the dhow-studded Dubai Creek and its surrounding souks, including its historical heritage district and the pearl diving ports that once supported the city’s economic rise. The south meanwhile offers a splendid view of the glistening New Dubai skyline. The contrasting views seamlessly connect the emirate's past with its present, making this an important attraction for tourists.

6

Atlantis, The Palm

Atlantis

Perhaps one of the world’s most iconic hotels, Atlantis, The Palm stands out thanks to its eye-catching pink sandcastle design, glamorous interiors and prime position on the apex of one of Dubai's other structural landmarks, Palm Jumeirah island. While only 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.

7

Cayan Tower

Cayan

The shimmering silver Cayan Tower is not your typical skyscraper. This clever example of engineering twists 90 degrees as it rises. Each of the 75 floors in this luxury apartment building is rotated by 1.2 degrees to create its distinctive helix shape. It was designed by the same architectural firm behind Burj Khalifa, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in collaboration with local specialists Khatib & Alami Dubai. Here's a tip straight from local photographers: you'll get the best views of the striking structure in its entirety across the water at Marina Walk. Head over at sunset for that inimitable golden glow.

8

Bridges of Dubai Water Canal

Dubai water Canal

The Dubai Water Canal is a 3.2km long waterway that winds its way to the Arabian Gulf, from the Creek in Old Dubai through Business Bay. This waterway extension means that large portions of the emirate are now effectively an island. Visitors can soak in new skyline views from five pedestrian bridges in the area, all of which are an equally impressive sight . There’s a 120m-long one suspended by metal cables, one that’s constructed in a distinctive S-curve shape with a dramatic oval arch, and another that takes the form of twisted steel.

9

The Green Planet

The Green Planet is a marvel both inside and out. Home to a lush indoor rainforest and over 3,000 plants and animals, this innovative attraction brings tropical ecosystems in a controlled environment to the desert. The forest is enclosed in a glass-case cylinder featuring the world's largest manmade tree at its heart, while surrounding the bio-dome is an origami-style cube sporting contemporary Arabic calligraphy designs. It's an award-winning structure that breathes new life to the city.

10

WAFI

Taking its style inspiration from ancient Egypt, WAFI blends the old and new to form a building that stands out even among Dubai’s newer towering skyscrapers. The complex is home to a mall with over 300 stores, an array of restaurants and the five-star Raffles Dubai hotel, which comprises 18 floors in a modernised pyramid formation. In the evenings, the structure's ridges are illuminated to create a striking effect against the night sky. Inside, the mall also features the Khan Murjan souk that's filled with artisan wares and unique souvenirs, and garners attention for its hand-painted stained glass ceiling.

11

Dubai Creek Tower

A monument in the making, Dubai Creek Tower is designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is expected to open in 2021. It will mirror Burj Khalifa in height, a twin in regards to innovation and engineering, while aesthetically defying all conventions of architecture. The structure alludes to traditional Arabian minarets and the lily flower, but with a neo-futuristic spin that speaks to the city's ambitious future. Disrupting a neighbourhood rich in local history, the ultra-modern tower will soar high above Dubai Creek Harbour, boasting bird's eye views of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and the city beyond.

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