Stair-Scraper Wins Abu Dhabi Housing Competition

Barcelona-based ‘Nabito Architects proposal ‘a desert green’, has won the total housing competition in Abu Dhabi. The stairscraper is a superposition of individual singular garden houses with the same characteristic of  horizontal sprawl, but liberating the land and concentrating the uses and the energy. It is a social collective of individualities.

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Zayed National Museum Abu Dhabi | Architecture

Foster + Partners has released new images of its designs for the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, after they were officially unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

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Beirut Exhibition Center for Contemporary Art

Beirut Exhibition Center (BEC), is the first structure dedicated to contemporary art in the new waterfront development area. Designed by L.E.FT, the BEC responds to its location, a constantly shifting context, and contributes to a new skyline for the city. Simultaneously the interior is in constant motion with the shifting of exhibitions and as L.E.FT described, “the architecture is trapped in a dynamic state of limbo.”

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The Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi | Hotel Design

Now synonymous with the Ferrari race track, there’s nothing quiet about Yas. This 6,000-acre island right off the coast of Abu Dhabi buzzes with a 143-berth marina and yacht club, a 3.4-mile Formula One racetrack, and now the new nine-story, nearly one-million-square-foot Yas Hotel, which opened in November, just in time for the first-annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. To keep pace with the island’s vibe, the hotel’s designers positioned its two buildings half on land, half on water, with the racetrack cutting through. Here, a look at the details, inside and out with plenty of photos.

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Zaha Hadid Designs Grand Rabat Theater| Architecture

Following a recent ceremony in Rabat, Morroco, Agence pour l’Aménagement de la Vallée du Bouregreg (The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency) verified that architectural designs will be provided by Zaha Hadid Architects.  The program will include three theater spaces, indoor spaces consisting of 2,050-seat and a 520-seat, and a fully-equipped outdoor amphitheater holding up to 7,000 people.   The theaters will share back of house facilities, efficiently reducing the size of the building services needed.  Creative studios will also be incorporated into this cultural venue. Estimated cost is at 120 Million Euros for the Rabat Grand Theater.

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Amazing Concept for the Olympic Tower of 2016

“This vertical structure will be placed in Cotonduba Island. It will be both an observation Tower, and a welcome sign for the visitors arriving by air and by Sea at Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games 2016 will take place.”

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Skylines and Icons: The Controversy

Almost every city has its icon building or skyscraper making it the symbol of the city if not the entire country. Kuwait has its “Kuwait Towers” but now this might change, a new iconic tower is emerging. Like everything so big, controversy arises, many people are against it due to the high cost and its “alien” character in a city where no proper city planning has been done, others however are thrilled to have such a monument that would draw international attention. The AlHamra tower is 412m high, one of the 10 highest towers in the world, however this is not the main special characteristic of this tower, its pride resides in it being the tallest “sculpted” tower. It is about time we appreciate design and form over just height. This tower captures it all.

Its southern wall acts as the backbone of the skyscraper, yet it is designed to decrease solar radiation. In a country as hot as Kuwait, creating such an aspect that protects the building against harsh environmental conditions is essential.

It’s a pity how the area around it is very primitive with old 1 and 2 story structures that are an eyesore for everyone passing through the city. In addition to the unfortunate surrounding, the angle at which the tower is situated does not allow much ability for passers by to view the entire monument, it can only be seen fully from a distant angle.

Instead of criticizing the AlHamra tower for being among these buildings, instead, I think its a step to find a solution for everything that should NOT be there.

Below are images taken from AlHamra website, the video from Discovery’s “Build it Bigger” , and the last one from my phone’s camera couple of days ago to show the tower’s recent status.

For details, floor plans, and images please refer to the tower’s web site.

sculptural maquette of tower

Kuwait's New Skyline

Stage of completion of Al Hamra Tower now

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Ground Zero Mosque to be the First LEED certified Mosque in the U.S.

 

The “Ground Zero Mosque” and community center has been one of the hottest topics lately to the extent of taking over the devastating news of the floods in Pakistan. This is a clear indication of the rise of hate and fear that has conquered over many Americans in particular after the propaganda against Islamists in the past few years. Putting this topic out of political context , the latest news is that the project developers are planning to go green and achieve LEED certification. This is remarkable news in many ways. For those not familiar with the term LEED, it is "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design", according to Wikipedia it is " an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts."

A report on the dailybeast.com by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, indicates that the developers of Park51 , the Islamic cultural and community center, are serious about going green and achieving the LEED certification. An architectural bureau has not been assigned for the mission yet, but if they abide by what they promise, this will be the first LEED certified mosque in the U.S.