Green is sort of a buzzword nowadays. People will say they are going green (like Zaha Hadid), but are they as good as their word? Usually not. In the world of Middle Eastern architecture and engineering, rest assured that there are several who are fighting for green choices. Clients often see lots of green –[.....]
There’s a movie called 27 Dresses about a woman who finds love and finally gets to wear a wedding dress after serving as a bridesmaid, 27 times. You might think that “24 shirts” refers to a similar movie about a 24-time groomsman – but not so. It actually describes a recent fashion innovation by Israeli[.....]
An unnamed client hired London-based Baharash Architecture to design a luxury home that could fully function off the energy grid. That’s a tall order for any residence in Abu Dhabi, now consider the challenges for one sited in the punishing clime of the hyper-arid Liwa Desert where summer temperatures top 100°F.
While many Muslims don’t drink alcohol, the people of Batroun, Lebanon love their beer. At least according to Jamil al-Haddad, the visionary behind Colonel beer and a new microbrewery built out of recycled materials.
When we first presented the solar-powered woven refugee shelters that have now been seen all across the world, many people suggested they’d also make great festival tents. Well, now we’re wondering the opposite. Could these B-and-Bee shelters designed for Belgium festivals provide temporary housing for refugees in the Middle East?
Have you ever read an online story where the comments best the content, turning your idle news-scanning into a mini-meta experience? A recent piece on some new bike-safety gear caught our eye – (what’s not to love about designs to encourage pedal power!) – but it was the readers’ response that snapped the story into perspective.
Thousands of folding glass panels cover the southern facade of the Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi (above). Reacting to sunlight, they form a protective skin to decrease interior solar gain. It’s a modern riff on the best known element of Arabic architecture, in play since the Middle Ages. Meet the modern mashrabiya.
Studio Cheha’s Nir Chehanowski has designed an extraordinary flat LED lamp that looks three dimensional. Called Bulbing, the lamp is made of high quality materials and manufactured locally in Tel Aviv. It looks like a bulging three dimensional bulb, but actually it’s only 5mm thick and 100 percent flat. Studio Cheha uses a laser cutting process to cut out[.....]
We don’t mean to pick on any one firm here, but a string of repetitive competition proposals has culminated most recently in the Central Bank of Libya design for Tripoli by Henning Larsen Architects. Although they and other foreign foreign firms are making an effort to be culturally relevant, how many desert-like “flowing facades” do we need?
Remember the old days in Beirut when you could actually see the Mediterranean Sea? The crew over at Najjar & Najjar Architects remember, and they want it back! Their Kinematic IRIS sea pods are designed to not only provide refuge for residents living in the shadow of urban regurgitation, but to generate energy as well.
Majlis are the boardrooms of the Arab world. A traditional ‘place of sitting’ often adorned with cushions on the floor, they are used to receive guests and exchange ideas. In the past, nomadic desert dwellers used special tents. Intercon takes a modern approach to this special meeting room with floating Majlis that are moved daily.
Plastic. No word assaults our sensibilities more. Plastic in the bellies of baby birds; plastic strangling marine animals; plastic leaching chemicals into our water supply. Plastic everywhere. But with Ooho, an edible water ‘bottle’ that just about anyone can make, we could get a handle on the plastic mess – at least a little one.
An invention that 3D prints buildings using sand as a raw material? We knew that someone would put Markus Keyser’s amazing solar sinter tool to good use! This conceptual tower featured above and conceived by a team of Chinese designers imagines a cluster of towers made of sand that are constructed with a solar-powered 3D-printer.
Saudi Arabia is building the world’s largest botanical gardens on nearly 2.5 million square meters of desert land near Riyadh. A stellar environmental initiative to educate the public on climate change, or a tourism-boosting novelty? However you dice it, it’s amazing.
The Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, with its mesmerizing series of courtyards, gardens and vistas that turn light and shadow into toys, may be the Moors’ crowning achievement. But the world heritage site has become so popular, visitors must wait hours just to get inside. Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza hopes to change that.
Living large isn’t sustainable, at least that is what most green hearts tend to believe, but Sanzpont Arquitectura disagrees. Invited to participate in an international competition to design a private residence in Qatar, the studio came up with ‘A Palace for Nature’ – a magnificent solar-powered palace modeled after the sidra tree.
Enlisting the masses to save the bees, Open Tech Forever has developed a high tech CNC-cut hive that allows global citizens to keep an eye on our precious pollinators.
What’s it like to live on a boat? In such cramped spaces and always subject to nature’s whim, otherwise reasonable people can go mad if they don’t get cooperate. Acrojou explores the idea through a fascinating theatrical circus genre that is trending – even in Lebanon.
Middle East architects Raya Ani and Zayad Motlib first told us about their plans for Mesopotamian Marshlands ecosystem and community earlier this year, and now they’re presenting their ideas to the first AIA Middle East conference in Dubai.
A consortium of Japanese architects got together to protest Zaha Hadid’s winning design for the main stadium of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and despite all her fame and glory, the Japanese government listened.
A group of friends from Tel Aviv got so tired of lugging enormous locks to foil would-be bicycle thieves that they got together to design what may be the world’s only fashionable solution: the Foldylock.
Who isn’t in love with Moroccan decor – the amazing colors and designs that enliven any room? Well, Justina Blakeney certainly is. So much so, she decked out an entire AirBnB popup home in Los Angeles with decor from our favorite North African destination.
We love everything about Sukkot, especially the philosophy and process behind the inspiring sukkah (booth) that Jews build during this week-long Autumnal holiday. But we’ve never seen one on the back of a tricycle.
David Chipperfield Architects have designed a resplendent new building in fascinating, frustrating Morocco, which will house the The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts – the largest of its kind in the world.
Japan has won the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and Zaha Hadid has been picked to retrofit its National Stadium. First designed for the 1964 Summer Games, this new stadium boasts a few green credentials.
One of the world’s largest oil producers has just received LEED Platinum for its Al-Madra Tower in Saudi Arabia, highlighting the pitfalls of a system designed to recognize environmental stewardship.
It has been more than three years since France’s Pritzker prize winning architect Jean Nouvel won the bid to design a sparkling new art museum for Abu Dhabi, and now construction on the new Louvre has finally broken ground.
It was the first time that a team from Israel participated in a Solar Decathlon intercollegiate architecture competition but the group, which represented several higher education institutes, recently took fourth place overall in China.
Caravan Collective is a fresh new cycling apparel studio from Israel that fuses quirky graphic design with a passion for cycling, people, and the earth.
Onat Öktem, Ziya Imren and Zeynep Öktem are among the most exciting eco-minded architects working in Turkey, and Bird’s Nest is also among their most unique projects. Eschewing the bigger is better thought pattern, this solar-powered accessory dwelling “perches” on existing buildings to create extra space.
Dublin’s Heneghan Peng has designed a new museum for Palestine that is topped with a series of unfolding green terraces planted with vegetation that also grows in the surrounding hills.
The Dead Sea garnered international attention when photographer Spencer Tunick assembled a gang of naked nature enthusiasts for a controversial photo shoot, but the momentum has since died down. Paris-based Sitbon Architectes attempts to re-galvanize our attention with their award-winning design Cristal – The Dead Sea Gem.
Orlando De Urrutia has designed what he says is the world’s first building to get its water from the air. Called the Water Building Resort and powered by a facade of building integrated photovoltaics, the mixed-use structure designed for Dubai is shaped to resemble a water drop.
If you are a designer eager to find more sustainable material choices for your creative inventions, you might want to hit the BioCouture workshop during Beirut Design Week.
The founder of THIS – a small design company that is distributing a contemporary version of the Miswack, an organic, biodegradable, all-natural toothbrush that could potentially render both toothpaste and toothbrushes obsolete – is launching a Middle Eastern chapter of the AIGA design hub at the upcoming Beirut Design Week.
Diamond Developers selected Baharash Architecture to plan the second of four phases of Dubai Sustainable City – a 46 hectare, 500 villa eco-development slated for construction at the junction of Al Qudra and Emirates Roads in Dubai.
Tall glass buildings have come to dominate the Dubai and Abu Dhabi skylines, which makes absolutely zero sense given that summer temperatures consistently burst their seams in the region. But now the UAE has imported NASA-developed transparent panels that deflect heat back into the atmosphere.
Thinking and living in tune with nature is a way of life that is best started as early as possible, which is why we think there ought to be more schools like The Green School in Kfar Saba, Israel.
Life has changed for Egyptian women since the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak, with sexual harassment, unemployment and illiteracy rates soaring. Artistry Egypt, which is run by the development NGO Ganat El-Kholod, trains unskilled women to learn how to make eco-friendly artisanal textile crafts.
Students are typically advised to crawl under their desks when an earthquake strikes, but then they often become trapped when the table collapses. Israeli designers Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno designed a solution to this problem called “the Earthquake Proof Table”. It’s able to withstand one tonne of weight, and meets the needs in developing[.....]
Tel Aviv’s Nir Meiri recently unveiled Marine Light – a curious lamp shade made entirely of seaweed wrapped around a spindly metal frame. Eaten by coastal people all over the world and prized for its gelatinous and nutritional properties (see bottled algae superfood), and its use is being investigated for seaweed as biofuel, marine algae is harvested[.....]
Salima Naji has been recognized by the Aga Khan Development Network for her efforts to revive a series of earth buildings in the lesser Atlas Mountains, Morocco.
Oman is a small nation bordering Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula; it has a long coastline and one of the largest populations of endangered Loggerhead turtles on earth. It also subsidizes energy and water, essentially arresting any kind of sustainable development. There’s no incentive to conserve something that comes for free – until now.
The only thing more abundant than sun in the Middle East and North Africa is sand. Used in the production of Markus Kayser’s 3D printer and to make Algerian building bricks, sand is useful for a host of applications – including lighting.
A tiny collective of rural women at the southern tip of the Dead Sea in Safi is creating art that’s omni-sustainable. Since 1999, with catalytic infusions from a remarkable Canadian painter, this Jordanian sisterhood has been crafting unusual “eco” fabric items bespoke to their salty seaside village.
Refrigeration is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of modern man, but it has come at a price. Not only do they require a great deal of energy to stay cool, but they also rely on ozone-depleting chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs), or freon (though some countries have phased these out.) As an increasing number of people walk[.....]
Every three years, the Aga Khan Architecture Award acknowledges projects relevant to Islam that are culturally, environmentally and socially superior. Accompanied by a generous $1 million prize, it is among the world’s most prestigious architecture awards. Apartment #1 by Tehran’s Architecture by Collective Terrain is one of 20 projects nominated, and though it faces stiff[.....]
Here’s a design that rivals the light bulb in its ingenuity: the Window Socket. The disc-like socket designed by the Korean duo Kyuho Song and Boah Oh has a base of mini solar panels and a suction cup that ensures effective adhesion to virtually any transparent glass surface that is exposed to the sun. The[.....]
If we only listened to mainstream media, we would know Beirut as a city full of bullet holes, terrorists and Syrian refugees – all of which are unfortunate realities in the densely populated capital of Lebanon, which borders both Israel and Syria. But it is also home to some of the world’s most interesting artists, designers,[.....]
A former sailor, Alain Thibault knows what it means to pine after fresh water, so he designed a portable desalination device that uses the sun’s power to make fresh drinking water. What’s more, he and the rest of his team have introduced the technology to Sahara nomads, who frequently struggle to find water that isn’t[.....]
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standard devised by the United States Green Building Council often comes under fire for being insufficiently rigorous – particularly for large commercial buildings. Now a new version – LEED v4 – has been established. Taking effect in November, 2013, LEED v4 incorporates four new standards designed to improve[.....]
A host of private and government organizations in Qatar have teamed up to build the emirate’s first Passivhaus – one of the world’s most sustainable design certification systems with origins in Germany. Better yet, the solar array that will generate an annual 58,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to power the home will be provided by[.....]