RitikaaWood writes
March 13, 2024
Vaibhavi Ghadigaonkar & Geet Dave

Building the Mirage: a journey from traditional to modern architecture in Dubai


Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) known for luxury shopping, groundbreaking architecture, and towering skyscrapers. The architecture of the United Arab Emirates is a fusion between ancient Islamic design principles and today's architectural styles. The combination of efforts to preserve cultural heritage and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies for creating iconoclastic landmarks is reflected in its uniqueness. At the heart of this evolution lies a captivating narrative of construction history, revealing progression through various materials.  

Barjeel, Dubai
The Early Days (Pre-1970s): The Age of Stone and Mud

Dubai's construction evolution traces back to its coastal trading roots, utilizing indigenous materials like coral, stone, and mud. These locally sourced elements, crafted into humble structures, resonated with the essence of traditional Emirati architecture, reflecting the city's heritage. Notably, theiconic wind towers, known as "Barjeel," ingeniously harnessed cooling breezes to combat the desert heat, symbolizing early innovations in climate-responsive design. These architectural marvels not only offered relief from the relentless sun but also laid the groundwork for Dubai's future construction ventures, blending heritage with modernity.

The Arrival of Exotic Woods (1970s – 1980s):

An era of refinement unfolded with the arrival of exotic woods like teak and mahogany.These materials found their way into the interiors of grand residences and commercial spaces, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to Dubai’s burgeoning skyline. However, challenges arose due to their unsuitability for the harsh climate, insufficient protective measures, and the lack of the material’s acclimatization to local conditions.

Rise of Concrete and Steel (1990s):

The United Arab Emirates' architectural renaissance was marked by skyscrapers in cities like Dubai and Qatar, which signified a bold vision of modernity. These towering structures were symbolic of progress and prosperity and heralded a new era of architecture.

Wood in Modern Dubai (2000s):

In recent years, there has been a notable resurgence of interest in the incorporation of wood within modern construction endeavors across various cities in the UAE, prominently including Dubai. This trend is propelled by an escalating emphasis on sustainability and eco-conscious practices within the architectural landscape. Architects and construction professionals are actively exploring inventive methodologies to integrate sustainable principles and engineered wood products into the planning and execution of building projects.

One compelling illustration of this trend is exemplified by the renowned Dubai Creek Tower. Here, the seamless integration of steel and wood within its structure stands as a compelling testament to the harmonious fusion of traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design sensibilities

Challenges and Opportunities:

Despite the growing appeal of wood in Dubai’s construction industry, challenges such as durability and sustainability remain significant concerns. The development inwood treatment and engineering has opened new opportunities for incorporating wood into modern building designs. Accoya has addressed concerns about durability and environmental impact. Accoya’s remarkable 50-year warranty on dimensional stability, coupled with its sustainability credentials (FSC and cradle-to-cradle gold standard certification) along with UV stability and other key characteristics.  


The architectural landscape of Dubai mirrors its transition from a traditional to a modern city, imbued with an unwavering commitment to innovation and progress.While wood played a modest role in the past, it is now resurfacing as a crucial component in line with contemporary sustainability efforts. In the UAE,RitikaaWood, a reputable organization, has established itself as the leading provider of Accoya products, setting the benchmark for sustainable luxury. From decking to cladding, louvers to doors, Ritikaa Wood LLP ensures that Dubai's pursuit of progress, luxury, and sustainability is sustained by the highest quality, innovation, and eco-friendly practices. As Dubai continues to push the limits of architectural excellence, the incorporation of wood into its construction landscape promises to enrich the city's rich history of construction while adding to the aesthetics of earthy tones through the use of timber.

Note: The Inspiration for the article originates from our VP International Sales, Gian Perrone. The article is written by Ms. Vaibhavi and is curated and edited by Mr. Geet Dave.