Preserving the bastakia

DUBAI - `An Early Survey of a Bastakia Windtower House' was presented at the monthly meeting of the Dubai Natural History Group by guest speaker Peter Jackson, senior architect of a well-known firm.

By (By a staff reporter)

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Published: Tue 4 May 2004, 9:54 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:23 PM

Mr Jackson described in detail the Bastakia quarters where the Bastakia Wind tower House was located in the 1970s. Many of the houses were in a poor structural condition. The Bastakia was the last wind tower quarter left on the Arab side of the Gulf. Elsewhere, a few isolated wind tower houses survive amid more modern buildings (some in Deira and in Shindagah). But these occasional buildings create none of the visual impact of the massed wind tower skyline of the Bastakia.

Ostad Mohammed built the Garden. It was built as two storeys around a central courtyard while use was also made of parts of the roof. Three wind towers served as living rooms at the first floor level. The house was built in four phases, electricity was provided in 1961 and piped water supply and plumbing in 1963. The house was demolished in 1983.

Wind towers are referred to as bajeel in Arabic. They were the most spectacular means of increasing ventilation and thus comfort in the hot season. The wind towers were open on four sides. Thus they were multi-directional and able to catch the breeze from whichever direction it may come.

Wind towers on two storey buildings often rose to about 15 metres above the ground. At this height, wind velocity is about one and half times greater than one metre above ground level. The wind tower descended vertically into a room beneath, terminating about two metres above the floor. The vents of the tower were blocked in the winter when additional ventilation was not needed.

The most decorative element in Bastakia houses was the many different types of screens.

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