At the beginning of the 21st century, Dubai became an architectural playground with very expensive ambitious architectural projects in the city, not only Dubai but the whole Gulf region is booming in building projects.
Several projects were halts during the financial crisis such as Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia and Dubailand park. But now, ambitious projects once again geared up after standing out of the financial crisis. As Qatar alone is investing US$230 billion in future projects for FIFA World Cup 2022, according to CNN.
“Things are definitely picking up, more interesting buildings are coming out, both from the government and private developers,” says Simon Fraser, managing director of Hopkins Architects Dubai.
As CNN, I’m enlisting the 10 marvelous, modern buildings in the Middle East:
1. Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar
The museum building has rapidly become an iconic feature of the Doha landscape. Standing alone on reclaimed land, the building draws much influence from ancient Islamic architecture, notably the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei, the Museum is comprised of the main building with an adjacent education wing connected by a large central courtyard. The main building rises five-storeys, topped by a high domed atrium within a central tower, according to the Museum website.
2. Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Winner of the Hospitality & Leisure Project of the Year, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the world’s largest indoor theme park (a UFO-like architecture). Designed by Benoy for Aldar Properties, the project features over 20 rides and attractions including the world’s fastest rollercoaster.
Benoy’s vision was to create a form that was unmistakably Ferrari. Accordingly, the architectural solution is said to “reflect Ferrari’s sinuous form, directly inspired by the classic double curve side of the Ferrari GT chassis”. The double curve was proportionately applied in elevation once the function and scale of the inner spaces had been derived, setting the structure’s length and height, according to DesignMena.
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3. Cayan Tower, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Imagine a tower whose unique spiral design reflects the boundless energies and ever-changing shapes of the deserts, winds and seas that surround it. Imagine a building that is stylish, enabling graceful lines to become a byword for modern design and luxurious living throughout the world. Imagine Cayan Tower, a truly unique building that spirals by an amazing 90º as its slender tower rises 73 stories into the sky and offers its residents with spectacular views of the city and the marina, according to Cayan.net.
4. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
According to BurjKhalifa.ae, at over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
- Tallest building in the world
- Tallest free-standing structure in the world
- The highest number of stories in the world
- Highest occupied floor in the world
- Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
- Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
- Tallest service elevator in the world
5. Abraj Al Bait Towers, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The Abraj Al-Bait is a government-owned supertall building-complex in the Islam’s holiest city Makkah, Saudi Arabia, it has world’s largest clock face (a four-faced clock visible from 25 kilometers) and it is the third tallest building on the earth. It is larger than the London’s Elizabeth Tower.
It is standing at a few meters away from the Islam’s most sacred Mosque – the Grand Mosque of Makkah Masjid Al-Haram – the Greatest Mosque on the earth where all Muslims around the world face when they pray. The complex of Abraj Al-Bait is the world’s most expensive building as its construction cost touched US$ 15 billion.
6. The Chedi Muscat, Muscat, Oman
The Chedi Muscat is the complex that spread across expensive gardens, the hotel’s tented lobby gives the reflection of a giant Bedouin tent in the Middle of the desert. The hotel’s reception area is resembling an Omani fort.
7. Bank Muscat, Muscat, Oman
Bank Muscat is Oman’s largest bank, it has superb headquarters that influences modern and Islamic architecture. According to Construction Week, “in fitting with Oman’s architecture, both modern and traditional, the building is low rise and arranged in L and U shapes to create shaded courtyards, one of which is home to a Moroccan-style garden, and another forms the main entrance. The exterior is modern with traditional Omani and Arabic themes. While glass is used widely, some windows are part-obscured by patterned screens and some of the facades feature terracotta tiles. Also reflecting Arabic style, water features and greenery are prevalent.”
8. World Trade Center, Bahrain
The Kingdom of Bahrain, a tiny but wealthy kingdom has the one of the most impressive structure, that is, it has two interlinked towers with three bridges in the sky. The design of Bahrain’s World Trade Center is the world’s first design with wind turbines into towers’ structure. Therefore, the building is able to generate electricity.
9. King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
According to arch2o, “A crystal cluster rising from the ground in the middle of the desert – that’s what comes to mind when you see the renderings for the new King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, that has been underway for more than a year. The concept was to minimize the intervention on the existing landscape while creating a unique integrated piece. A special attention was given to sustainability and being environmentally friendly, so every feature of the project was thought-out in order to minimize energy consumption. Air circulation is done naturally, with the help of a very complex system, and it was designed in a way that helps to make a smooth transition from the hot outside to the cool inside of the complex”
10. Capital Gate Tower, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Capital Gate, developed by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, has been certified as the ‘World’s Furthest Leaning Man Made Tower,’ by the Guinness World Records.
It leans 18 degrees westwards – more than four times that of Pisa’s famous Leaning Tower. The 160 meter (524.9 ft), 35 storey tower is a postcard image of Abu Dhabi and makes a great holiday snap, according to Visit Abu Dhabi.
Capital Gate’s distinctive futuristic design, aesthetic splendour and technical excellence makes it a modern marvel and a celebration of human achievement that reflects the dynamism of Abu Dhabi. Additionally, the tower integrates with the grandstand at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, one of the world’s most modern exhibition venues. This grandstand was much loved by Sheikh Zayed and used by him to view National parades and celebrations. Capital Gate underscores the bond between the old and the new by linking to this historic grandstand through an innovative canopy commencing from level 18 of the tower and sweeping across the grandstand, creating a wave-like effect. #CapitalGate by @lindahollier
- 9 marvelous, modern buildings in the Middle East by CNN
- Traditional Islamic architecture meets the 21st century by mia.org.qa
- Ferrari World Abu Dhabi by DesignMENA
- CAYAN TOWER by cayan.net
- Facts & Figures of the Burj Khalifa by Burjkhalifa.ae
- Case Study: Bank Muscat by Construction Week
- King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center | Zaha Hadid Architects by arch2o.com
- CAPITAL GATE by VisitAbudhabi.ae