Why do we love “makeovers”? What draws us to images of women dunked in hair dye and better lighting, or old furniture stylin’ after sanding and new hardware? The reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared Refugee Camp in Tripoli, Lebanon is an architectural “before” and “after” with improvements far deeper than a slap-on of fresh paint. […]
Earlier this year I decided to visit a strange looking waste management site in Um Al Quwain – one of seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates. From satellite imagery it looked like raw sewage was being dumped in the desert, just a couple of kilometres from Um Al Quwain’s precious mangrove estuary.
The same Italian design firm that designed a fleet of eco-schools for Gaza has won an international competition to design the headquarters of Algeria’s telecommunications firm ARPT (Autorité de Régulation de la Poste et des Télécommunications).
Albeit better than neighboring Dubai’s skyline of what renowned architect Frank Gehry calls “cheap” and “anonymous” architecture, Abu Dhabi has grown into a dense urban environment with precious few green spaces. The municipality aims to rectify that, however, starting with a 19,000 square foot green-roofed “urban oasis.”
Amid the snipers, the rubble and the misery on many Syrian streets is another ugly phenomenon: garbage. In Adel’s* hometown of Janoub al Malaab, a district of Hama city, piles of waste give off an odour that is nearly unbearable.
Imagine trash and sewage filling six Olympic-size pools. Can you smell it? Now drain them into Kidron Valley which separates East and West Jerusalem, abutting their holiest sites. It’s a revolting image and annual reality: those pools are fantasy, but the waste is not.
Zaha Hadid’s flowing architecture instantly sprung to mind when we came across Zaid Bin Talib’s design proposal for an Iraqi embassy in Oslo. Daring, futuristic, and swooping, the design appears to be influenced by Iraq’s most famous architect’s style, except the Oslo School of Architecture and Design student’s work is so much greener.
Design is an often overlooked aspect of any social protest movement, but the organic nature of its occurrence is of great interest to the Turkish collective Herkes İçin Mimarlık. Translated as Architecture for All, this group collected photos of shelters built from scrap materials during Turkey’s recent uprising and then made drawings of them.
A couple of Harvard students have enlisted the world’s most popular sport as a generator of portable power. SOCCKET ball, the brainchild of Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, is a toy that can produce renewable energy anywhere. The inventors stopped in at the US Embassy in Jordan to conduct educational programs for children and workshops […]
Frank Gehry, considered one of the world’s most important architects, said in a recent Foreign Policy interview that its “cheap” skyscrapers makes Dubai look like any other “cruddy city in the world.” We’ve been dissing these skyscrapers for a while, based on their shoddy eco credentials, but it’s so satisfying to hear from one of […]
Byblos, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city in Lebanon has been named the Arab world’s best tourist city by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and it offers a host of lessons in greening too.
As part of a larger master plan to rejuvenate the downtown Beirut area, Swiss Architects Herzog & De Meuron have designed “The Terraces,” a green waterfront apartment tower in Beirut lush with vegetation and hanging gardens.
Google’s street view has taken us from the streets of Tel Aviv to the Grand Canyon and even under the sea, and now this incredible tool has reached new heights – 2,716 feet to be exact.
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.
The ongoing Syrian conflict has put refugees at their highest number since 1994 – a terrible year for the people of Rwanda and Yugoslavia; this year – in time for World Refugee Day – IKEA and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) have unveiled a solar-powered home.
Today is World Refugee Day. Some good news for a change: Refutrees is a new non-profit that’s turning the traditional aid-centric model of development on its head. These self-described “creativity agents” place particular focus on people displaced over the long-term. They’re currently working on projects for Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Lebanon.
Gundeep Singh used to own a yacht and a porsche before he turned over a green leaf to open what is now known as the “world’s most sustainable building.” Located at Sheikh Zayed Road in Al Barsha, Dubai, The Change Initiative stocks an array of eco-lifestyle products and recently earned LEED Platinum from the USGBC.
In a Middle Eastern city with paltry green space, residents gather to object to new development that will destroy one of their few public parks. Sound familiar? Spin the globe, but this time stop at Beirut in Lebanon.
During the last six years, the words energy security, water security, and food security could be found a lot in the Arab media. Since most of the Arab media is controlled by the Arab regimes, the appearance of these items shows that the environmental awareness of the Arab regimes has been on the rise.
Saudi Arabian investment in 76 new environmentally savvy construction projects is estimated to exceed $26 billion, according to Faisal Al-Fadl, Secretary General of the Saudi Green Building Forum (SGB Forum). Over half of those projects are based in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
The city of Amman in Jordan where I live is experiencing a deteriorating level of municipal services, most notably in garbage collection and public space cleaning. The hills of the city are heaped with trash, and the problem extends to other towns and across the countryside. Even Jordan’s natural jewels are tarnished.
As Ethiopia continues with its plans to build the Grand Renaissance Dam in order to meet the country’s burgeoning energy shortfall, Egypt is starting to worry that the hastily planned hydroelectric plant will put its own water supplies at considerable risk.
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.
Public transportation is not wildly popular in Saudi Arabia since fuel is so cheap and many households have private drivers to escort them from place to place, but the government is trying to shift public perception of this mode of movement by developing a brand new metro system. And Zaha Hadid has recently won a bid […]
Online retailer Amazon grabbed headlines with their plan to build a biosphere inside transparent glass orbs which will house its Seattle – based workforce and a forest of plants. Interiors will feature “botanical zones” modeled on earth’s mountain ecologies.