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.
New York’s REX architecture studio has designed a pair of skinny media towers that feature ‘blooming’ Mashrabiya sunscreens that protect against excess solar gain. Mashrabiya is an old Arabian architectural practice to passively cool hot desert buildings.
Ever wonder what an Arabian lighthouse looks like? Mariners approaching the Red Sea harbor at Thuwal, about one hour north of sprawling Mecca, Saudi Arabia are now guided to shore by a soaring new honeycomb lighthouse designed by the Australian firm Urban Art Projects. Commissioned by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), […]
One of the best kept secrets in the world of architecture seems to have leaked… in China. Long celebrated in the Middle East for its climatic awareness and passive efficiency, traditional Islamic design reflects an astute awareness of nature. Mashrabiya screens create privacy and shading while permitting daylighting and natural ventilation. Traditional building materials such […]
A new trend is emerging throughout the Mediterranean and we kinda like it: a growing number of food artists and restauranteurs are bringing street food indoors. There’s a new joint in Cairo that serves Egyptian classics in a fresh, contemporary setting and now there is Souk – a vibrant space in Athens, Greece that serves […]
Chicago’s Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat recently named the Burj Qatar the world’s best new tall building, which is curious to us for several reasons. First of all, famed French architect Jean Nouvel designed the building but we can’t find it on his website. Is he not proud of his towering child? Second, there’s a […]
In the unrelenting Middle East sun, one thing is very clear when you build a new home: it must work with the elements. Standing the test of time are traditional Arabic buildings that kept families and worshippers cool for centuries, long before air conditioning was invented. A new “green” teaching and research center in the […]
Egyptian studio House designed a beautiful prefabricated Mashrabiya home called Oxygen Villa. Comprised of modular boxes with both vertical and horizontal screens, this solar-powered gem provides all of the natural lighting, ventilation and privacy the average Arab family needs. Combining cutting-edge technology such as photovoltaic (PV) glazing modules and decentralized wastewater treatment system with ancient passive […]
Mashrabiya screens are a common element in Middle Eastern architecture and yet few people outside the design world realize how much work goes into making them. In order to unveil the extraordinary care and patience that goes into each handcrafted screen, Beirut-based Carwan, the Middle East’s first popup art gallery, commissioned mischer’traxler to design the Mashrabiya […]
Few elements are more distinctive to Middle Eastern design than the ancient Mashrabiya screens used to keep homes cool, and now recent strides in technology have completely revolutionized how the concept is used. Commissioned to design the 25-story Al Bahar Towers on Abu Dhabi’s eastern flank, Aedas Architecture worked with Arup Engineering to create a […]
SOM is behind the new Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, which will feature all kinds of “retail therapy!” The 2.5 million square foot Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi will combine three state of the art hospitals in one giant, green space. Aiming for two Estidama pearls, the new center designed by […]
Netanya’s efficient new twisting tower will be powered by geothermal energy and transform this once-obscure Israeli city. We have a real soft spot for earth architecture, such as Nader Khalili’s gorgeous domes and arches fit for space, and these amazing Syrian beehive-shaped buildings that have lasted hundreds of years, but we also acknowledge the great […]