From iconic cultural landmarks to luxury resorts and everything in between, the Middle East will unveil several new, ambitious architectural projects over the course of the next year.
Be sure to check out our top five picks:
1. MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE, DUBAI
The Museum of the Future, recently cited as one of the world’s most beautiful museums by National Geographic, has already established itself as a significant landmark in Dubai’s ever-expanding skyline. Originally scheduled to open in 2021 during Expo 2020, the building’s much-anticipated launch is now expected to be early this year.
Designed by Shaun Killa of Killa Design to a LEED platinum standard, the building’s torus-shaped exterior features a calligraphic façade created by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej. The Arabic script, which is illuminated at night by solar-powered LED lighting, forms a poem by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid that states: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.”
Inside, visitors can expect to find seven floors of immersive exhibition space through which they can explore topics relating to the future - from space travel and the foundation of a better world to health and wellness.
2. BEZALEL ACADEMY OF ARTS AND DESIGN, JERUSALEM
Situated in the heart of Jerusalem, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design has been known as Israel’s national school of art since it’s foundation in 1906. First announced in 2013, the new campus designed by Japanese firm SANAA and HQ Architects is on course to open ahead of October 2022 and is expected to attract some 2,500 new students and 500 faculty members to the city.
Spanning six floors, the 42,000 square-meter building will be glazed from top-to-bottom providing panoramic views across the city and reflecting the surrounding structures and native landscape. The new campus will feature studios, classrooms, public galleries, offices, and outdoor courtyards, and aims to connect east and west Jerusalem, serving as a commonplace for Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
3. DESERT ROCK RESORT, RIYADH
A facet of the ambitious giga-project by The Red Sea Development Company, the Desert Rock Resort is set to welcome its first guests before the year is out. Emersed in the wadi vistas in the west of the Kingdom, the design by Oppenheim Architecture centres around protecting the natural environment while allowing visitors to connect with the region’s local environment and culture.
Comprising 48 villas and 12 guestrooms, guests can relax in the property’s lagoon oasis while absorbing the dramatic desert landscape, dine in remote restaurants under star-lit skies, or explore the region’s top-level hiking trails.
4. ABRAHAMIC FAMILY HOUSE, ABU DHABI
Inspired by the 2019 Document on Human Fraternity, the much-awaited Abrahamic Family House, which is on track to become one of the UAE’s most iconic cultural landmarks, is set to open in 2022. Designed by Sir David Adjaye OBE, the project will comprise a mosque, church, synagogue, and education centre – a symbol of interfaith harmonious co-existence in the region.
Situated on Saadiyat Island, the cultural heart of Abu Dhabi, the design features three identically sized cubic structures which are both unique in their essence and unified in their external materiality. A place for learning, dialogue, and worship, visitors can benefit from an extensive schedule of programming and events, from religious sermons to international summits.
5. KATARA TOWERS, LUSAIL CITY
On course to open ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar in November 2022, Katara Towers is set to be the iconic new landmark of Lusail City. Featuring two crescent-shaped towers rising 36 storeys to a height of 211 metres, the structure’s architectural design is a realisation of Qatar’s coat of arms.
The property will comprise over 700 luxury guestrooms and apartments, along with offices, restaurants, swimming pools, and a man-made floating island housing water sport and leisure facilities, a waterpark and dining outlets.