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Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 1 April 2010 | Deen Sharp

The built environment of Beirut is rapidly changing, and this transformation is destroying much of the city’s rich architectural fabric. Surrounded by the new towering Beirut is the unique and heavily scarred structure of the Egg.

Built by the Lebanese architect Joseph-Philippe Karam in 1965, and dubbed “the Egg” due to its curved form, it is the only surviving building in the downtown area from Lebanon’s vibrant avant-garde movement. Much of the rest of this heritage was destroyed during the civil war (1975-1990), a legacy marked on the outer skin of the Egg. (more…)

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March 25, 2010 | Maryam Eskandari

Somewhere in the heat of the desert, the kings and princes of Saudi are singing to themselves “ if you can do anything I can do better, I can do anything better than you…” obviously in Arabic to be exact and pointing the finger at Dubai. Earlier this year, it became official that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has signed a new contract with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Four years ago, both Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill were former employees of Skidmore Owing and Merrill Architects (SOM), and while working for SOM they designed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It seems that Saudi Arabia knows who to call and does not really have to go far when searching for the best of the best in architects.

Even though Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture have yet to complete and sign the contract with Saudi Arabia all the excitement and hype has been already begun circulating around them. While they have yet to confirm any reports regarding this project, all this hype got me thinking that as architects, we definitely owe it to the Middle East to allow us to become “Stararchitects”. Yes, it is true that way back in the 8th century when the Middle East was being developed and re-developed, the tallest  “towers” were the minarets, and the architects were not even given any credit. However, the extreme financial support that comes out of these wealthy countries now allows the architects to push boundaries in both technology and design. And thanks to the Middle East, every architect has a voluptuous budget to play with and the potential to design anything that they aspire without a budget constraint. With such designs, young firms are immediately put on the map and other potential project follow.

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March 11, 2010 | Dina El Shammaa, Abu Dhabi Deputy editor, Posted by Gulfnews

Documentary channel will air one-hour television special showcasing major landmarks of the UAE capital (more…)

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March 6, 2010 | Maryam Eskandari
<i>image courtesy estidama.org</i>Le Corbusier’s dream has become a real proposal for Perkins+Will. Le Corbusier must have cracked a smile in his grave when Perkins + Will architect announced their recent receipt of the “Architectural Review / MIPIM Future Projects award” in the tallest building category for their proposal for the Al- Birr foundation headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Perkins + Will “Garden Tower” explicitly states that it was designed to reinterpret the typology of an urban tower through an exploration of Le Corbusier’s brise-soleil. While the brise-soleil is nothing new on towers across the world, Perkins + Will’s proposal is a prominent and large-scale addition to the new high-tech ‘green’ adaptations of old concepts. (more…)

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Feb 28 2010 | Pulkit Sharma

<i>image courtesy estidama.org</i>Going beyond the applicability of a rating system for the built environment, I am writing this  piece to analyze briefly the story behind the growth of Estidama (Pearl) rating system and its coming role in shaping the built environment in the Middle East in a post-LEED era. Before  coming to MIT whilst I was preparing for the LEED AP certification last year, I became intrigued and wanted to understand more about the applicability of the USGBC (US Green Building Council)-developed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system to the dry and arid ecology of UAE, and of the Middle East in general. I think I have developed a little bit of understanding about it this past year. LEED falls flat, in my opinion, on most of these counts. Does Estidama (Pearl) do any better? (more…)

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