World’s most admired architects and their Dubai designs

Dubai’s most distinguished building designers revealed


Mention Dubai and immediately one thinks of cloud-piercing skyscrapers and huge shopping malls. In a city that has become a dream destination for architects seeking to unveil their next record-breaking landmark, we profile five of the industry’s top building designers and reveal where in Dubai you can admire their work…


Tom Wright

The iconic Burj Al Arab has become the de facto symbol of Dubai’s lavish lifestyle. Perched on a manmade island, the 321-metre-high hotel is the brainchild of Tom Wright (whilst with Atkins) and resembles a billowing spinnaker sail, while inside the 202 suites are accessed via one of the tallest atriums in the world.


Zaha Hadid

Before her death earlier this year, Zaha Hadid made her first architectural foray into Dubai with The Opus, a torus-shaped structure resembling a melting ice cube. Fusing art with form and functionality, the landmark project in Business Bay (due for completion in 2016) comprises a hotel and luxury serviced apartments. A one-bedroom unit costs approximately AED4m.


Brian Johnson
As the principal and managing partner of GAJ, Brian Johnson’s influence on modern Middle Eastern architecture is undeniable. As well as designing Dubai Creek Golf Club (which features on the UAE’s AED20 banknote), his residential accolades include Al Barari Villas and Jumeirah Golf Estates Villas, blending contemporary design with traditional Arabic themes. A six-bedroom Al Barari villa costs approximately AED12m.


Jamil Jaddallah

Jamil Jaddallah, CEO of National Engineering Bureau (NEB) is one of the driving forces behind Dubai’s phenomenal growth and has designed countless architectural masterpieces. One of his most impressive is Dubai Marina’s dramatic, 426m-high Marina 101, one of the world’s tallest residential buildings. A two-bed apartment with sea view costs approximately AED2.2m.


Adrian Smith

High-rise maestro Adrian Smith designed Dubai’s Burj Khalifa whilst at SOM and, upon completion, nabbed the title of world’s tallest structure. It’s the architectural grace of this soaring 828m colossus that really sets it apart, however. Inspired by the geometries of the Hymenocallis desert flower, the design comprises three elements arranged around a central core. Yearning to live the ultimate high life? A one-bedroom unit costs around AED4.2m.

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