Throughout the current real estate boom, governments and developers in the Gulf have been derided for their lack of concern for the environment.
In the race to set new records for building height and speed of construction, incorporating the natural environment into design has been neglected. But the Gulf’s growing awareness of environmental issues, demonstrated by the green building code, to start in Dubai in January 2008, is changing this.
International firms have made the most of the opportunities to create signature structures that act as marketing tools for Gulf cities. They now have another opportunity: to lead the world in sustainable building design.
Architects in the region speak of their clients’ unwillingness to pay for features that are deemed sustainable, such as photovoltaic cells and water recycling units.
But how hard have the designers been pushing these measures? Is it a failure of the client, or the designer who cannot create a business case and a clear argument for such design?
The architects and designers of these developments are as guilty of creating ugly, inefficient structures and urban developments as the clients paying for them.
They must work harder to convince clients that buildings should work with the region’s natural advantages, not in spite of them. Clients are finally listening and it is time to act.
Gulf architecture special report - all the stories
Gulf design goes back to its roots
Traditional design principals are being incorporated into new buildings
Gulf architects: Local firms thrive in the shadows
Signature structures dominate headlines but local firms have the most to gain in the booming market
Saudi Arabia: Waiting for the construction boom to begin
Architects are expecting a boom in 2008
GCC’s modern technology and ancient building techniques
A new environmental building code will force firms to create structures that are more energy efficient
Glass: Gulfguard rival set to reshape market
Competition is increasing in the market for structural glass
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