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700 year-old Iranian underground cave homes

Carved out of volcanic rock, these homes have survived seven centuries. Now that’s what we call sustainable Since we wrote about Hassan Fathy’s mud buildings, we’ve been dying to find other examples of such earthy architecture in the Middle East. Certainly modern inventions are worth mentioning, such as Ginger Dosier’s home-grown bricks, as are efforts […]

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And The Green Globe Goes To…. Park Inn Muscat, Oman

Park Inn Muscat receives the Middle East’s first internationally recognized Green Globe standard certification Creating quality tourism options in the environmental context has only been popular since the early 1990s. Now there are all kinds of opportunities to enjoy a relaxing holiday without causing harm to the surrounding environment: from bio tours in Israel, to […]

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Omar Yousef’s Crowded Architecture

Palestinian Architect Omar Yousef draws attention to the occupation’s “forced ecology” at the Ecoweek conference in Israel [image taken by Tomer Appelbaum] Designed to teach young architects the most progressive building practices available, beyond borders or cultural differences, the Ecoweek conference taking place in Israel draws inevitable attention to disparities. Green Prophet’s interest in natural […]

Geotectura's Residential Building Set to Sail

Is Geotectura’s Sun Sail just another clever design, or is it redefining Israel’s building policy? Bold and innovative, the Israel-based firm Geotectura produces otherworldly designs with a social conscience that even Bill McKibben might endorse. Their CT-cubes and hovering high-rises rival any science fiction graphic, while the X2S shelter, designed to provide physical and medical refuge […]

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Cambridge to Build Europe’s First Eco-Mosque

Architect Marks Barfield is to design a £13 million “eco” mosque on a 0.4 hectare brownfield site in Cambridge. England’s historic city of Cambridge, with its world-famous university and idyllic countryside, will soon count a mosque amidst its stunning skyline of spires. But this isn’t just any old mosque. In fact it is the first-purpose […]

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BBC Series Celebrates UNESCO "Heritage Heroes"

Finally environmental and cultural preservers, not destroyers, receive recognition [image by Brood_wich via flickr] UNESCO has ordained 890 world heritage sites around the world, one-third of which belong in the Middle East.  While admiring Seville, Spain during a trip roughly two years ago, HRH Sultan Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, from the country that is […]

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Mr. Robert Upton's Philosophy of Planning and How It Applies to the Middle East

“How Do We Want to Live?” asks England’s Former Secretary-General of the Royal Town Planning Institute Robert Upton at an urban planning conference in Israel. Whereas Colombian planner Oscar Diaz (who we interviewed) was practical and sited specific planning examples at the recent anniversary conference at the Technion-Israel’s Institute of Technology,  England’s planner Mr. Robert Upton’s […]

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Take Your Team To Lebanon's Ecovillage

Get Your Green On in The Dmit Valley Ecovillages are slowly sprouting in the Middle East.  There’s Kramim in Israel’s Negev Desert, as well as the well-known Kibbutz Lotan, and now the first of its kind in Lebanon.  Called simply EcoVillage, this project was grown from the ground by Karim al Khatib and a group […]

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Ginger Dosier: When Architecture and Chemistry Mix

Dosier’s fearlessness of the science of construction sets her apart from her peers [image courtesy of flickr] We were so intrigued by Professor Ginger Dosier, the Architect at Sharjah University who grows bricks by combining sand, common bacteria, calcium chloride and urea, that we decided to dig deeper.  Some architects, like those at Geotectura, develop mindbending […]

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UAE Prof. Ginger Dosier Grows Sand Bricks, Naturally

The Better Brick? Although kinks need to be worked out, applying microbiological principles to design could revolutionize building materials. This researcher says she’s found a way to “grow” bricks from sand and urine. Finally! Suzanne LaBarre of Metropolitanmag.com brings us a design worth writing home about. In the same tradition as Hassan Fathy and architects […]

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Qatar Seeks to Solar Power the 2022 World Cup

Qatar Wants World Cup Action, but the Environmental Price May be Too High. This relatively obscure Middle Eastern country, slightly smaller than Connecticut, is putting itself on the map. Oil and gas revenue, according to the CIA factbook, comprises 50% of the nation’s GDP, but Qatar is diversifying its portfolio.  As part of its National […]

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More Green Building Talk on TED: Catherine Mohr

By taking into account embodied energy, Catherine and her husband half the energy required to build their home. In her recent Ted talk, Catherine Mohr encourages us to look at the bigger picture when discussing and analyzing green stories.  Whether we weigh the benefits of a LEED certified project against the energy required to ship […]

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AIA Names Saudi's KAUST In 2010 Top Green Projects

The king willed it – so it was built…Michael Arndt questions the ‘greenliness’ of KAUST, granted the US Green Building Council’s highest LEED certification possible. The American Institute of Architecture recently hailed The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as one of its top ten most environmentally responsible building designs.   This follows other […]

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San Francisco's Sherith Israel To Become Seismic-Safe

Near The Dead Sea fault, can Israel’s home synagogues withstand the next big earthquake? The San Francisco Chronicle announced that the Sherith Israel synagogue, completed seven months before the 1906 earthquake that ravaged San Francisco, survived that earthquake with minor bruising. However, this “remnant of Israel” built for Jews who flocked to California during the […]

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Tareq Emtairah's Practical Eco-House in Aqaba, Jordan

Tareq Emtairah built this eco-house to prove that energy efficient buildings aren’t always prohibitively expensive. Jordan’s Prince Hassan does not shoulder his environmental concerns alone, nor is the Red-Dead canal project the singular answer to Jordan’s worries.  In 2005, Tareq Emtairah, a consultant with the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University in […]

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Qatar's Green Building Council Rallies Community Leaders

Qatar’s Green Building Council (QGBC) founder and chairman Eng. Issa M. Al Mohannadi will speak at the “Planet and Profit in Partnership” on April 11, 2010, another in a series of conferences that teach Qatari leaders about sustainable building practices. It remains to be seen whether Qataris will pursue development projects like Urjuan that pay […]

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What's Sustainable about Masdar's Foster+Partners?

Foster+Partners, architect firm, claim projects like Masdar City are sustainable. Are they? Meet Foster + Partners: one thousand employees work in their twenty-two offices scattered around the world.  Their employees hail from 50 nations, which diversity they say leads to “creativity, innovation, and motivation.”  They are the people behind projects such as Masdar City that […]