Tag Archives: Arab Emirates

Architecture: New Modesty

### architectmagazine.com April 27, 2010
Design: Crit (from ARCHITECT May 2010)
New Modesty? Not Really
By Clay Risen
If the architecture of the next few years is subdued, it’s not because designers have decreed a new ethic. In announcing that Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, the duo behind SANAA, had won the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the jury noted the firm’s “deceptively simple” design, imbued with “a much-appreciated straightforwardness, economy of means, and restraint” that “stands in direct contrast with the bombastic and rhetorical”.
Sejima and Nishizawa may well deserve the award for their talent. But it seems they also won because, at least for the jury, SANAA embodies the supposed new ethos of architecture: the New Modesty.
Alternately called the New Puritanism or Radical Traditionalism, the movement is a recession-fueled reaction to the post-Bilbao era of high-tech, high-price, hypertrophied design.
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### thenational.ae Last Updated: 7 May 2010 11:09PM UAE (7:09PM GMT)
A place to call our own: An architecture that reflects Emirati traditions
By Tom Gara
At the base of the tallest structure ever made, across from the largest fountain in the world and the biggest mall ever built, Omran al Owais shares his philosophy on buildings. “It’s pretty simple,” the Emirati architect says, glancing up the 808-metre Burj Khalifa. “I don’t want to build anything taller than a tree.”
At an outdoor table overlooking Dubai’s most monumental development, such an idea seems archaic, out of touch with the forest of skyscrapers that punctuate the city. But al Owais is putting his mind to work on how to build a cityscape in proportion to the humble, personal, hospitable roots of his culture. Downsizing is central.
“I love this, this is amazing,” he says, gesturing at the 160-storey building across from us. “But I cannot say that it is mine, that this is Emirati.”
While others were thinking big, al Owais has spent much of the last decade designing living spaces for families, working to integrate what he sees as the timeless values of Arab and Emirati culture into small buildings. As duplex apartments, infinity pools and suburban lawn-and-garage life spread across Dubai, al Owais worked to build homes that surround open courtyards or balance privacy with openness, trying to make modern spaces that capitalise on old, proven ways of living.
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Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Stadiums, Urban design

What the hell, one more for the tall tower

### sstlive.co.nz Last updated 05:00 10/01/2010
Finlay Macdonald: Dubai edifice a monument to all that’s wrong in the world
By Finlay Macdonald – Sunday Star Times
As symbolism goes, it’s hard to beat Dubai’s just opened Burj Khalifa. A mostly empty monumental extravagance, built with borrowed money on shifting sands, the world’s tallest building more or less sums up the demented excess of modern speculative capitalism. It was even hastily renamed (having begun life as the Burj Dubai) in honour of the ruler from down the road in oil-rich Abu Dhabi who bailed out the bankrupt emirate. Talk about being on the Zeitgeist.
But then, the whole of Dubai is very much an offering to the gods of vulgar materialism. As such, all right-minded aesthetes and ascetics hate the place. It represents everything that’s wrong in this sub-prime world – tacky, boastful, exploitative, corrupt and unsustainable.
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Finlay’s reply is not exactly the reply I started writing after the base jumping news. It’s still in draft form and shaking with vertigo, or new science or something. I’ll polish it off in a day or two of reflection about why I’m pumping What if? with mega projects, shall I?!

Oh, a purpose for everything.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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