04 February 2020

LEGO® Architecture review: 21052 Dubai

Posted by Admin
Examining another 2020 LEGO® Architecture set today, we have Ben Davies. 21052 Dubai is part of the Skylines series, has 740 pieces and is priced £54.99 / US$59.99 / 59.99€.

21052 Dubai is one of the latest sets in the long-running LEGO® Architecture range and depicts several buildings from the United Arab Emirates’ most populous city, arranged in Architecture’s signature Skylines format.


One of the most exciting aspects of 21052 Dubai is the wide assortment of recoloured elements that it introduced.

The plastic botanists among us will be pleased to see that the plant with leaves and 3.18mm bar is now available in Olive Green (Element ID 6285465|Design ID 37695). While a single copy of this element also appears in January’s 10270 Creator Bookshop, this set comes with no fewer than four.

Excitingly, this set also introduces two new elements in Gold Ink/ Metallic Gold. The first of these is the 1x4x6 door frame (6286377|60596). Only a single copy of this garish element appears here, and with no immediate appearances in other sets, I imagine this will remain a rare part. More common (and practical) is the 1x1x2/3 double bow in Gold Ink (6286351|49307), which appears six times in 21052.

To help detail buildings in the set, three elements appear for the first time in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue. These include the Inverted 2x2 Tile (6285466|11203), 2x2 Double Slope (6285473|3043), and 3x4 Plate with Angled Sides and 1x2 Cutout (6285477|28842). All of these parts are quite plentiful in the set, with the inverted tile appearing ten times, the slope seven times, and the angled plate nine times.

Last but not least, both the 2x4 Plate with Angled Sides (6285557|51739) and the 3x4 Plate with Angled Sides and 1x2 Cutout (6285482|28842 ) appear in Sand Blue here for the first time. Seven of each part are included in the set, and are used for constructing the core of the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Printed elements and other parts of interest

Like all other Architecture sets, 21052 comes with a unique printed tile which is used as a label for the baseplate. Appropriately, a black 1x8 tile with white “Dubai” printing (6285745|4162) has been introduced.

While introduced in summer 2018 and currently found in nine different sets, the sheer number of  candles in White (6234807|37762) included in 21052 Dubai makes the element worth mentioning. A total of 28 are included in this set, marking a sevenfold increase from 75954 Hogwarts Great Hall which previously held the record for most candle pieces.

Building Process and Techniques

The set comes in three sets of numbered bags. The first of these bags is used for the construction of the model base, while the second is used for building The Dubai Fountain, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai Frame, and Burj Al Arab. The third bag is reserved for the Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world, and a structure which has appeared twice in previous Architecture sets (21008 and 21031).

The building process commences with the construction of the base that the buildings are mounted to. A layer of Brick Yellow/ Tan tiles covers the majority of the baseplate, reflecting Dubai’s arid desert climate.

To attach the platform of Burj Al Arab to the base, a female turntable is connected to the center of a 4x4 round plate, which is held at a 45 degree angle by a 1x1 round plate connected along the perimeter of the 4x4 round plate.

With the base of the model completed, attention shifts to the second bag and the supporting buildings of the set.

The first structure assembled is the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, which consists of two separate towers.

One interesting technique is that which is used to build the glass that runs along the front of each tower. As a result of of the 1x1x2/3 double bows used at the base of the model, there are no connections available for the last 1x2 double slope. Instead, the slope is mounted to a combination of plates and tiles which is inserted into the model, and held in place by bricks above and below it.

Two 2x2 plates with Technic pegs are used to attach the sections of the hotel to the base. During the mounting process, the towers are angled so that they are locked in the correct orientation by bricks stacked horizontally at the bottom of each tower.

Here, construction turns to The Dubai Frame. Appropriately, the building is represented by the aforementioned 1x4x5 door frame in Gold Ink.

In an example of ingenious parts usage, several Olive Green stems with leaves are attached to the base, serving as incredibly effective microscale palm trees!

The final portion of bag 2 is used for constructing the Dubai Fountain and the Burj Al Arab hotel. Although the structure may at first look complicated, the actual building process is surprisingly simple. The buildings consists almost entirely of layered angled plates of varying sizes, with 1x1 round plates with bars filling in the gaps. These bars serve as attachment points for a lattice structure created using candles, flex rods, and anti-bars with clips.

The third bag of parts is used for building the massive Burj Khalifa. In an improvement over the previous two renditions, a massive number (149) of Transparent Light Blue 1x1 Round Plates are used to represent the windows of the skyscraper.

The building process for the Burj Khalifa is split into three different sections. Despite this, the building consists almost solely of stacked round plates, augmented with 1x1 rounded corner tiles for the observation decks. At the bottom, the tower is mounted to the base with a Technic axle, which also holds the bottom section of the tower together using a three-way axle connector.


On display, the Dubai skyline model stands out among other Architecture skyline sets thanks to its considerable height and modern architecture. The set measures over 12.8 inches/325 mm in height, which seems appropriate given that it features the tallest building in the world. Despite the majority of parts being used for the Burj, all the buildings are given a suitable level of detail, achieved through clever techniques and NPU (nice parts usage).

In addition to being a wonderful set for display, the set is also a very nice (albeit rather expensive) parts pack. While it lacks the parts variety of some other Architecture sets, the quantity of the elements included help to make up for this, offering a number of desirable existing parts and new recolours to builders.

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  1. I don't know the exact amount but the new modular book store has about that many candle elements.

    1. Correct, set 10270 Bookshop has 28 of the candle element (37762).

  2. Lego is making a lot of metallic ink elements this year. Maybe they are planning something big in that color.

    1. There's also a 1/4 circle tile in DOTS.

  3. The first sand blue part (6285557|51739) is actually pretty common, having appeared in 9 sets according to Bricklink. I have a bunch myself.

    1. Yes you are right, it has appeared in 9 previous sets. It has a new Element ID as it was last seen in 2017 as 6111474. I think that is probably thrown Ben off - oops! Thanks for pointing out.