Archive for the ‘the aspects of art & architecture in UAE’ Category

An American architecture professor, Ginger Krieg Dosier, 32, Assistant Professor of Architecture at American University of Sharjah (AUS), has won this year’s prestigious Metropolis Next Generation Design Prize for “Biomanufactured Brick.” The 2010 Next Generation Prize Challenge was “ONE DESIGN FIX FOR THE FUTURE” – a small fix to change the world. The Next Generation judges decided that Professor Dosier’s well-documented and -tested plan to replace clay-fired brick with a brick made with bacteria and sand, met the challenge perfectly.

read the article here

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there are 12 existing mosques in the village, each placed according to the social surroundings.  the history tells us that when Muslim conquerors established themselves somewhere, a mosque was put up first, and then the military camp was built around it.

So, to re-generate social life in this abandoned village, one could start with the mosques again.  the mosques are already there, serving almost as hot-spots for the village. So, by focusing new social programs around the mosques, it establishes an authentic approach to the situation.

the inner space of the mosque will still be sacred to the prayers, and still function as the mosque we know today.

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RAK Hospital is hosting a unique contemporary art exhibition with 16 local and UAE based artists on the theme Tracking the Emirates from April 7 to August 7, 2010 in Ras Al Khaimah. The exhibition will take place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qassimi and H.E. Gerhard Bruegger, Consul General of Switzerland.

Tracking the Emirates is about people, who through art depict their roots or experiences in relation to the past, the present or of future life in the UAE. The artworks on display will be painting, mixed media, sculpture, installation, photography, 360% digital print, calligraphy and mosaic. Participating artists are:

Naasim Ahmed Al Majed, Mohamed Abdalla, Mohamed Al Astad, Salama Al Mansouri, Katy Chang, Martina Dresler, Khalifa El Shimy, Ayyub Russell Hamilton, Tim Kennedy, Andre C. Meyerhans, Mark Pilkington, Khalfan Abdul Rauf, Ms Rebecca Rendell, Naz Shahrokh, Linda Stephanian, Sandra Woest, Zahidah Daniel Zeytoun Millie.

SWISS ART GATE UAE aims to foster and promote a sustainable dialogue and mutual understanding between Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

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al jazeerah al hamra has for the last decades been known as a ghost town, abandoned from 68-71, it has been without inhabitants for 40 years.  “now, only Jinn live here”, people of the village tell us.

Creeping desert sands bury ghost town

Video Documentary: A group visit the village of al jazeerah al hamra, part one.

Video Documentary: A group visit the village of al jazeerah al hamra, part two

the irony now, is that the new development, just adjacent to the old village is lacking electricity and other necessities, so it remains empty. but not only for this reason. even though almost every apartment and housing unit is sold out, the majority of the owners are speculators, not even in need of such a unit, so there is no one to move in.

The Specials, real ghost town remix , featuring the new development of Al hamra Village Complex.

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i have chosen five main issues that has an important impact on my project:

The economic situation:
The economic collapse in Dubai; Companies going bankrupt; The government out of money

Immigration related to workforce:
80% immigration workers, 50% from Asia; No rights; Bad living conditions

Arts & crafts,The young local artists, Bedouins, Architecture & social belonging, Islam, Agriculture

Explosion in tourism in the late 90`s and early 2000; RAK trying to live up to the paste of Dubai; Project status: collapse VS finished

From sustainable Bedouins to consuming businessmen; Not exploiting local and natural resources, like before; Artificial need for energy; natural water VS the artificial need for water; Lack of planning; The Masdar project, Abu Dhabi

in relation to these five issues, i am looking at the village from a micro scale to a macro scale point of view:

The village itself – micro

History – development

Physical surroundings – architecture and social structure

Location – jazirat al hamra

The surrounding community – mezzo

The residential area – locals

The industry – workers

The port – connection

Tourism – mezzo

The surrounding projects – tourists

The workers – immigration

Man-made structures – change

Ras Al Khaimah – macro

The emirate – agriculture

The city – history

The government – relationship

United Arab Emirates – macro

The history – Bedouin tribes

Present – united

The future – sustainable

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Summary of the text:

“Aspects of the Modern Arab/Islamic City: Architecture and Urban Fabric in Abu Dhabi”

By Abbad Al Radi

What we are concerned with is contemporary “Urban Architecture” for the UAE and Arab/Islamic world in general. The emphasis is on the resulting urban fabric, which is what gives cities their particular image or identity. I must emphasize that it is not the individual one-off high prestige building, but rather the impact of individual buildings when grouped together ‘on the whole’. What we are concerned with is to achieve a harmonious inter-action or marriage between Architecture and its urban framework, which is the city (and the planning of the city).

In the contemporary city, there is an overwhelming change in the urban context for Architecture. In essence society and by inference its architecture now insist on being “outward looking” as opposed to being traditionally “inward looking”.

This basic revolution in approach, as opposed to evolution in the process of development, results in numerous dichotomies, particularly when considering social and cultural norms and relating them to the built environment.

The former often remains fairly traditional and does not reflect the changing requirements or principles of the built environment. Architecture after all must, to be successful, have a clear relationship between the socio/cultural norms and requirements and the physical interpretation.

Our thesis is that there is little harmony between these issues at present and they are often at odds with one another. The actual development process is in truth one of revolutionary not evolutionary change and as is the case in politics, revolutions tend to take quite a few generations to find their mark and integrate them into their particular environment. Thus building on or attempting to evolve from traditional Arab/Islamic architecture is not in itself a practical or realistic approach in the present day.

In general, throughout the Middle East, local architects in their effort to break away have either gone for: A revival of Arab/Islamic architecture in neo-classical terms by borrowing from major mosques, palaces, madrasas, caravan sarays etc. and applying them to modern buildings of differing function with the subsequent irrelevance of form to function. Or have applied elements of historical decorations or motifs to totally modern buildings thus rendering them out of context and funfair like. On the other hand, at the other extreme have totally discarded the requirements of the local culture and environment and have borrowed wholesale from Western architecture often in the form of curtain wall glass blocks.

In contrast, the western city and its built environment have continuously evolved to date, even when built in the confines of city walls. Under any present day circumstances, what needs to be understood is that the basic criteria or elements of the western city be it at the level of the outward looking built environment, transportation network and system or facilities and infrastructure, apply to cities throughout the world.

A totally separate approach for the Arab/Islamic City is not by itself a viable proposition. However what is missing is a genuine Understanding of the differences at the planning level that can be meaningfully incorporated into the Arab/Islamic city to address the socio-cultural and climatic particulars of the region and lead to a new contemporary architecture of relevance and belonging to the region.

Thus the contemporary Arab City is still searching for its framework.

Another issue relating to the historical context is that most cities have old parts within the new. Modern interventions in old traditional parts of important cities are not sensitive, invariably trying to convert basically inward looking buildings especially mosques, souks, madrasas into buildings to be viewed from outside. In our terminology this is referred to as the “cathedral complex”, namely the viewing and image of buildings to be seen from afar and in basic isolation from their immediate environment.

In the UAE a typical example of this can be seen in Dubai in the Shindaga area where Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum’s house now stands conserved but isolated on its own.

In all such cases, this has resulted in the destruction of the old adjacent urban fabric and converted buildings that are meant to be viewed from near and from inside with the implicit emphasis on detail and substantial time.

Instead they are considered to be viewed from afar, set free from their close and closed urban setting and viewed effectively at speed, often from vehicles. This element of time, in terms of observing and living with buildings is rarely considered or thought off.

The same error has been repeated in most Arab cities where major mosques, palaces, madrasas and even housing have been conserved in isolation, with the destruction of their traditional urban surrounds so as to expose them as monuments. The importance of conserving the entire urban fabric cannot be over-emphasized.

The individual unit is generally meaningless and the present day approach represents a major loss to our heritage.

Old parts within Arab/Islamic cities should be conserved as a whole, often modified in use, but not dealt with in the above piecemeal manner.

New development can be adjacent to the old parts, and good examples of this approach can be found in innumerable Italian cities.

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