Architecture in the Middle East has a rich tradition that dates back for thousands of years and it continues to dazzle us today with its ingenuity, traditional design and the use of innovative cutting edge materials. Something interesting to consider is that because of the expansive nature of many of the cultures that have thrived in this region since ancient times, the influences present in Middle Eastern architecture are diverse and come from places like the Roman and Byzantine culture all the way to Chinese and Indian influences due to their South Asian expansion.
Impressive design is not foreign to the Middle East, as Egypt is home to some of the most notorious and still standing ancient architectural wonders of the world. Today, mind-blowing architecture in the region is as modern as ever, but still continues to amaze the world and show us how limits are pushed and art is mixed with engineering in order to create buildings that cannot be considered anything less that modern wonders of architecture.
Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Ferrari World opened its doors to the public on November of 2010 and it is considered to be “Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction” and also the largest indoor amusement park in the whole world and home to one of the fastest roller coasters ever built. The place is a monument to extravagant design and the world of Ferrari all under one roof, a roof so large that if it were to be turned upright, it would be the tallest manmade structure ever built.
Museum of Islamic Art – Doha, Qatar
This beautiful structure built by architect I. M. Pei at the age of 91, is located on an artificial peninsula on the south end of Doha Bay and currently houses one of the largest collections of Islamic art in the entire world. Even though its design seems so modern at first sight, the architect traveled throughout the Muslim world looking for inspiration and learning about its art and architecture before coming up with a suitable design.
Infinity Tower – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Commonly known as Cayan Tower, this 73-story high skyscraper was opened in June of 2013 and it became the world’s tallest high-rise structure with a twist of 90 degrees. The tower contains no pillars; the insides have reconstituted wooden floors and its external design make it so that sunlight doesn’t bother the occupants of the units. Owners can lease out their properties for holidays or during the weekends for those who want to visit the beautiful building temporarily.
Burj Khalifa – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Khalifa Tower opened in 2010 after many financial delays and it became the tallest tower in the world. Anyone who talks about Dubai mentions the majestic structure, as it has become one of the main attractions people visit when they travel to the city. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the same firm that designed the Sears Tower in Chicago and the One World Trade Center in New York City, designed Burj Khalifa. The building houses residential units as well as the largest shopping center in the world.
Abraj Al Bait Towers – Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Part of the complex also known as Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower, this structure overlooks what is considered the holiest place in Islam. The tower is larger than the famous Big Ben in London, complete with a large observation deck under the clock face and a prayer hall that can hold up to 10,000 people. The building is 600 meters tall, with 120 floors and it was finished in 2014.
The Chedi Muscat – Muscat, Oman
This is something completely different from the skyscrapers and modern buildings that are making Middle Eastern architecture so popular in the past few years. The Chedi Muscat is a seaside hotel located amidst beautiful gardens and blends perfectly with its magical surroundings. The hotel has 158 rooms and brings together influences of traditional Omani, Zen, Arabic, Japanese and European architecture.
Bahrain World Trade Center – Manama, Bahrain
The World Trade Center building in Bahrain is a one of a kind structure made of two sail-shaped towers connected by sky bridges. The bridges have been outfitted with turbines that can provide up to 15% of the energy the building consumes. The structure stands 240 meters tall and has become very popular due to its beauty and innovative design as well as its commitment to utilizing alternative energy in our constantly changing world.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The purpose of this project envisioned by the late president of the UAE was to build a structure that would bring together the cultural diversity of the Islamic world under a blend of its beautiful traditional architecture. This mosque is the largest place of worship in the United Arab Emirates and is visited by thousands of practitioners during Eid prayers.
For more amazing examples of beautiful architecture, check out our articles at Kenny Slaught’s Blog.