Money Crunch Sharpens Architects’ Creativity

ABU DHABI/DUBAI — The current financial situation is sharpening architects’ creativity and pushing them to come up with more ambitious ideas for sustainable buildings, said visiting Scandinavian architects.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Wed 29 Apr 2009, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:25 AM

Louis Becker, design director at Henning Larsen Architects, Denmark who was in Abu Dhabi representing the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) at the recently held Cityscape property exhibition said, “Since, the financial situation is in a state of disaster, architects are coming up with better solutions in terms of creativity and sustainability. Many of the projects that were displayed at Cityscape this year integrate design solution with agreen approach.”

He also said that since the projects were fewer in numbers this year, clients were becoming more serious about the lifespan and costs of construction. Sustainability, according to Becker, played a major role at thisyear’s Cityscape.

“In Denmark, sustainability secures the value of the asset. It’s not rocket science to understand that one has to work with the climate and not against it.”

Even though the initial cost of construction of a ‘green building’ is higher, they are much cheaper in the long run.

Dr Raed Rachdan, Head of Design Division at Architectural and Engineering Consultants, Dubai said that the Government of Dubai is taking a number of steps to ensure all new underconstruction buildings in Dubaiare adopting green measures.

“The Dubai Municipality and JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority) are the two main authorities that regulate building construction in Dubai.

“JAFZA uses the American system called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which is a point system for checking sustainability of buildings. The Dubai Municipality, however, uses the more laborious but intelligent method of checking sustainability.”

Dr Rachdan added that the Municipality was taking further steps to check natural lighting, thermal insulation and other measures that make up a‘green building’.

TECOM Investments recently announced it had become the first office in the Middle East region to earn the LEED Platinum Commercial Interior Certification from the US Green Building Council.

Located at Dubai Internet City, the 10,000sqft TECOM Investments’ Management Office has won the highest point total for any commercial interior in the Middle East for the reduced usage of water, electricity and materials, as well as significantly improved indoor environmental quality.

Ali bin Towaih, Executive Director of TECOM’s Sustainable Energy and Environment Division (SEED), said: “We currently have nearly 50 projects within TECOM seeking LEED certification, and within each of these projects there is a total of more than 100 buildings.

“There is, therefore, a significant amount of energy saving possibilities that will be realised in the near future.”

Becker, keeping the Middle Eastern architectural style in high regard, said that it takes some amount of creativity to convert old architecture into modern structures. “There is a lot Scandinavian architects can learn from Middle East architecture. In the Middle East, they have a very poetic way of doing things.”

Builders should shy away from creating just modern skyscrapers, and take into consideration how these buildings can deal with the change in climate.

Dr Rachdan said that Dubai is like a small global village of architects who have studied from all over the world working here in the UAE.

“Dubai is open to all sorts of ideas. There’s a constant attempt to amalgamate modern and traditional buildings. Except for the design of mosques, which stick to the traditional Andalusian and Islamic designs, all other buildings in the city are open to experiments,” he added.

Becker believes that Danish architects have lost the sense of poetry and aesthetic values. He added that an event like Cityscape is a platform for true exchange of knowledge between architects. —

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