One of the things that really impresses visitors to the UAE is the beautiful Dubai and Abu Dhabi architecture.
In the past, the harsh climate of the area and lack of timber has resulted in unique and beautiful structures. In the desert you can sometimes still see houses made of sun-dried mud bricks and palm leaves. Bedouin tents are another sight to behold.
Modern day Abu Dhabi, however, is another sight to behold.
My favorite are the beautiful wind towers are both visually appealing and functional. It is a natural cooling system that allows hot air to escape as it rises. This results in the heavier, cooler air being trapped beneath.
Courtyards became common in the early to mid 1900's. These are now a common area for children to play.
A distinct element of the architecture is intricate wooden lattice work.
The architecture of Abu Dhabi has more recently become more westernized, but ultra modern glass designs allow Abu Dhabi to stay a cut above. High rise buildings that are covered in glass give the city an almost futuristic look.
While Dubai has become a more business-looking emirate, Abu Dhabi has become the tourism center. The Abu Dhabi skyline is quickly becoming a recognizable icon for the city of the future.
Perhaps the most impressive Abu Dhabi architecture structure is the Capital Gate skyscraper. The building comes out of the ground and spirals toward the heavens. The upper stories lean far out over the lower stories seeming to defy gravity. The glass and steel reflect the suns rays in beautiful patterns.
The concept follows the idea of rolling sand dunes or crashing waves. It is more than just a building. It is a piece of art that gives credit to the beauty of the land from which it arises.
The top 18 floors of this 35 story building contain a 5 star Hyatt hotel. An 18 degree slope adds to the distinctive look of the structure. Some of the features of the building are a large atrium, a suspended swimming pool, and a tea lounge.
The Formula 1 event, which puts Abu Dhabi on the world circuit, is hosted at the beautiful Yas Island. The contemporary architecture of the sports arena has made it a big draw for enthusiasts the world over.
Of course, a list of important architectural sites in Abu Dhabi would not be complete without the Emirates Palace. It is a 220 acre hotel complex with its own private beach. 114 gilt domes draw people to see the immense palace.
A mosaic measuring 42 meters in diameter turns the palace into even more of a work of art. Finally, there is a 20 kilo solid gold finial to see. These features make the palace an outstanding attraction.
Saadiyat Island, set to begin opening in sections in 2012, will feature branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim. The buildings are masterpieces themselves.
As the architecture of Abu Dhabi draws more attention, it will no doubt also draw more creative minds to add to the engineering beauty.
What's your favorite scene in Abu Dhabi architecture?