The Dubai Museum had an example of a traditional summer house, a wood frame construction covered with palm leaves. It looked very cozy--a nice place to spend a hot summer (and I think the hot days are the reason people come out in such numbers in the evening).
But what intrigued me most was the windtower. Built above the main room, or sometimes a bedroom, it was a four-sided tower that was open on each side, but had burlap stretched diagonally across. This created a little triangle on each side that directed any wind there was down into the room below, and allowed them to catch any wind that came, from whichever direction.
A simple but brilliant idea, the kind that always makes me marvel at human ingenuity.