In the past three decades, Dubai has grown from a dusty desert town to a strategic hub for international business and tourism. As a result, several cities in the developing world have been competing to outdo one another in the race to replicate this development model—an urbanism largely built around the automobile, luxury villas, gleaming skyscrapers, massive shopping malls, and ambitious “smart” cities, designed and built from scratch. Across Africa, these new developments go by different names: Eko Atlantic City Nigeria, Vision City in Rwanda, Ebene Cyber City in Mauritius; Konza Technology City in Kenya; Safari City in Tanzania; Le Cite du Fleuve in DR Congo, and several others. All are mimicries of Dubai.
Middle East: The Latest Architecture and News
It is, once again, the time of year where we look towards the future to define the goals and approaches that we will take for our careers throughout the upcoming year. To help the millions of architects who visit ArchDaily every day from all over the world, we compiled a list of the most popular ideas of 2018, which will continue to be developed and consolidated throughout 2019.
Over 130 million users discovered new references, materials, and tools in 2018 alone, infusing their practice of architecture with the means to improve the quality of life for our cities and built spaces. As users demonstrated certain affinities and/or demonstrated greater interest in particular topics, these emerged as trends.
CTBUH Announces the Initial List of Speakers for the 2018 Middle East Conference on "Polycentric Cities"
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has named the initial list of speakers for the 2018 Middle East Conference, Polycentric Cities: The Future of Vertical Urbanism. The list features men and women from some of the most influential businesses in the industry, such as HOK, Safdie Architects, Kohn Pederson Fox, Gensler, Perkins+Will, SOM and many more.
The conference will highlight a wide array of subjects and disciplines related to the conference theme, as well as other hot topics in the industry, including smart technologies, modular construction, 3D-printing buildings, net-zero skyscrapers and much more.
Read on for more about Polycentric Cities and the initial list of speakers.
The Sharjah Architecture Triennial will open in November 2019 as "the first major platform for dialogue on architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa and South Asia." Curator Adrian Lahoud has announced the theme of the Triennial as the Rights of Future Generations, aiming to fundamentally challenge traditional ideas about architecture and introduce new ways of thinking that veer from current Western-centric discourse.
Beirut has seen an influx of wealth into the area ever since the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990. Large-scale developments and designer architecture from Herzog & de Meuron, Snøhetta and David Adjaye have been popping up throughout the capital, much like its Middle Eastern neighbors. Retro67 by Andrea Vattovani Architecture, together with local architects Plan Bee Architecture, will celebrate the appearance of the old town of Beirut and reinterpret the traditional stylistic elements with the modern flair that is becoming the city’s favored style.
Foster + Partners have announced plans for the redevelopment of a major landfill site in Sharjah, UAE, belonging to Bee’ah – the foremost environmental energy and waste management company in the Middle East since 2007. Upon Sharjah reaching its “zero waste to landfill” target by 2020, the site is set for redundancy, sparking a proposed sustainable masterplan as an example of a circular economy and a reflection of Bee’ah’s vision of clean energy and sustainable innovation.
“We believe that this vision, as interpreted through our masterplan, represents a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate just what can be achieved at sites like this which feature in every industrialized nation on the planet,” expressed Giles Robinson, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners. “The project will also serve to further showcase Bee’ah’s waste management center as a place where innovation, environmental best practice, and good design take center stage.”
Leaders in Architecture MENA is dedicated to developing, celebrating and connecting architects, interior designers and senior decision makers from leading international architectural practices, contractors, developers, government officials, engineers and solution providers. Gathering the most senior industry professionals from across the world, the summit provides a unique opportunity to learn from and get inspired by leaders, luminaries, and legends from within and outside architecture, set future business plans and appreciate breathtaking and daring architecture.
Walking through narrow chaotic alleys dwarfed by soaring towers, few would estimate the age of Yemen's city of Shibam at nearly 1,700 years. Located in Yemen's central Hadhramaut district, Shibam has roots in the pre-Islamic period, and evidence of construction dating from the 9th century.
Shibam is known as the first city on earth with a vertical masterplan. A protected UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982, the city is home to densely packed buildings ranging from four to eight storeys, beginning in 300 AD but now mostly built after 1532. Thanks to a fortified ring wall, the city has survived nearly two thousand years despite its precarious position adjacent to the wadi floodplain.
Enter the ancient walled world of Shibam after the break
Teams from Turkey and Lebanon have received top honors in the 2014 regional Holcim Awards for Africa Middle East, an award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the top three winners is an “Eco-Park” sustainable research and technology center embedded within the terraced, industrial landscape of Ankara.
The 12 recognized projects will share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim Awards, to be selected in 2015.
In an article for the London Evening Standard, Robert Bevan examines one of the many often overlooked consequences of conflict: the destruction of monuments, culture, and heritage. With heightened conflict in the Middle East over the past decade an enormous amount of "cultural genocide" has occurred - something which Bevan notes is "inextricably linked to human genocide and ethnic cleansing." Arguing that "saving historic treasures and saving lives are not mutually exclusive activities," case studies from across the world are employed to make the point that with the loss of cultural heritage, most commonly architectural, the long term ramifications will resonate throughout this century.
Following the recent announcement of Aedas' demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas' global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects' Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London's Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK's capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas' scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.
To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the 'urban hub' typology for London's metropolitan future, read the interview in full after the break.
Two sister Middle Eastern media companies have commissioned REX to design a conjoined headquarters that references traditional Arab iconography. The result, two ultra-thin, stone-clad towers that are shielded from the Middle East’s “unrelenting sun” by an array of retractable sunshades whose shape was inspired by the Arab Mashrabiya pattern.
Measuring nearly 15 meters in diameter, these sunshades can be quickly deployed, transforming the building’s glass facade into a “blossoming” shaded tower within minutes.
“The headquarters’ instantaneous transformation forges a new kind of powerful iconography, one that rejects the tired—and ephemeral—pursuit of being the tallest,” described REX.
Sou Fujimoto Architects has released details on a conceptual master plan for a commercial complex in a prominent, yet anonymous Middle Eastern city. Situated between an education and financial center, the modular complex reinterprets the “vibrant atmosphere and lively qualities of the traditional market” as well as the “inherent beauty of vernacular Islamic architecture” to create a “timeless” landmark for a currently underused portion of the city.
Today OMA announced the appointment of Iyad Alsaka and David Gianotten as new partners in the company. Architectural and research projects in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia have been increasing for OMA and this recent appointment signifies their investment to grow and develop projects within these regions.