Traditionally, the building materials used for houses were palm leaves and the structures were called “Arish”. This genre of traditional architecture was in vogue in the UAE and the Middle East and made living possible in the dry region. Palm leaves were woven together to form the walls and roof of a building. Houses that were constructed in the coastal regions utilized fossilized corals that were cut in blocks and bound together with “Sooraj”, which is a blend of red clay and manure or white chalk or water paste. These fossilized corals kept the interior of the houses cool. In regions that did not have a coastal border houses were also built of stone “guss”, a block made from a mixture of mud and water, with the roof made of palm fronds. These materials allowed the people of the UAE to find compatibility with the harsh environment as it helped in reducing the temperature in the inside the houses. In the present day, these traditional architectural designs are only found in museums or heritage sites. Traditional architects are still in the practice of building traditional homes to keep alive the architecture that was once a part of the culture of the Emiratis.
Development in the region after the discovery of oilfields has long since prompted the Emiratis to better their lifestyle and the most sophisticated building materials were shipped into the country to make this a reality. . With the introduction of air conditioning, architecture in the region has evolved to combine architecture designs with modern equipment and gadgets. Steel was a commodity that was not required in the construction of traditional houses, but in the modern scenario steel is the foremost of all other commodities that are utilized in the construction of buildings. With each new edifice that is raised in the UAE, building materials are brought into the country from every part of the globe making the country the most sought after destination for the export of building materials. Building materials such as cement, concrete and prefabricated concrete shipped in from Europe, tops the list of imported goods that were brought into the UAE.
UAE has reached a post-modern era in the field of architecture with the construction of buildings that are modern in every sense of the word. The rise of “smart buildings” has put UAE on the map of countries that are most conscious of environmental issues and are working towards eco-friendly environs.