Dubai is where the schism of the east and west combines in a perfect architectural juxtaposition. For a city having buildings hardly hundred years old, Dubai has magnificently remodelled itself faster than any other on Earth. The multicultural environment, lifestyle, ideas and traditional Arabian architecture takes on heavy influence from the caravans sailing across the Gulf, India, East Africa, Iraq and Oman conducting trade.
This bygone fusion of the European and Asian influence stirred Dubai’s adventurous tone into bizarre, stunning and totally futuristic architectural styles. Skyscrapers that tears through the clouds complement to the majestic transformation and rather overpower the traditional low courtyard houses and their elegant wind-towers. Here’s what to see in Dubai for a burst of multicultural fusion!
The traditional architecture
Opulent courtyard houses with old-fashioned wind-towers forms a maze of slim alleyways in Al-Fahidi Historic District of Bur Dubai. It’s among the oldest and most captivating heritage sites in Dubai, dating back to early 1900s in the era of wealthy textile and pearl merchants.
They belonged to the Bastak region from Iran having interest in free trade policy of Dubai and willing to settle in the area. And as you wander the narrow streets, note how they all bend towards the creek and feeding on the cool breeze!
Climate played a crucial role in development of early settlements, especially long harsh summers. While the houses seem to pin into each other unnecessarily, the tall residential walls provide a cool shade throughout the day.
The Barasti huts were cool and made from palm fronds that can be assembled conveniently. Once common and occupied most of the creek, only few are left other than those preserved perfectly in the Al-Fahidi Historic District and the Dubai Museum. Back then, Persian merchants and well-off residents build their houses using gypsum and coral.
Yet another example of traditional architecture is the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House constructed in 1896 from coral and gypsum, comprising a courtyard in the centre and four wind-towers. These resourceful towers were open from all four sides catches wind and funnel it in the room through a central shaft. It is believed that when traders sailed into the creek, wind-towers of Bastakiya welcomed them safely to the port with their raised hands or fans.
The contemporary & bold
During the 1970s, the oil boom led to imminent growth and development of the infrastructure with introduction of Dubai’s first skyscraper; Dubai World Trade Centre boasting 39-floors. However, the true adventurous and futuristic designs emerged in the late 90s bringing the iconic Burj Al Arab with its dhow-shaped construct.
Since then, the entire cityscape represents jaw-dropping marvels including the world’s tallest building; Burj Khalifa. A casual ride down the Sheikh Zayed Road packs a punch of glass and steel architectures in many different designs from sail boats to curved towers and petal domes; innovation is endless!
Dubai’s eclectic skyline is nothing short of stunning that represents sleek and shiny glass edifices, cutting-edge eco-friendly materials and sturdiest metals glorifying true Arabian style.