11 October 2008

* Mayne warns Dubai set for "Ecological Disaster"!


Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne has predicted that Dubai will become an “ecological disaster” if development there continues in its current direction.

In a dramatic speech delivered on Tuesday to the World Architecture Congress’s Cityscape Dubai conference, the US architect said the private sector’s dominance in the Gulf state had led to a lack of joined-up planning and that this — combined with the immense speed of development — would lead to a major crisis in the future.

The intervention of Morphosis founder Mayne, who won the Pritzker in 2005, coincided with this week’s unveiling of proposals by Dubai’s leading developer Nakheel for a 1km-tall skyscraper by international architecture firm Woods Bagot.



In his speech, Mayne compared Dubai’s public transport plans with the development of Los Angeles in the 1960s, claiming the “political class” had no control over the built environment.

“There is no connected tissue,” he said. “It might work today, but the prognosis is not good for the future.

“It’s not going to work on many levels, from social to infrastructure and ecological. It’s going to be a disaster in ecological terms.

“The political class is no longer in charge of cities… which means there is no planning. Los Angeles is a prototype for that. The private sector rules. It takes hours to get downtown in LA as there is no public transport.”

Former RIBA president George Ferguson hailed Mayne’s intervention.

“Thank God a star architect has spoken out on this issue because too many are willing to pander to Dubai,” he said.

“It’s a disaster area if all [architects] do is add eco-bling to their buildings instead of dealing with the fundamentals.

“It’s a transport nightmare, it’s an energy nightmare. It is absolutely bloody terrifying.

But directors at Woods Bagot insisted that it and other similar firms were at the forefront of a radical improvement in Dubai’s development.

London-based managing director Stephen Reinke admitted that some “reconstructive surgery” might be needed to fix the mistakes made in the past.

But he added: “Our clients are all embracing good urban design, solid planning principles, and the view that sustainability must be absolutely part and parcel as we approach the design challenges we face.

“Sustainability isn’t just about whether you’ve got a good air-conditioning system that doesn’t use a lot of energy, it’s also about building communities that can be sustainable.

“We’re quite encouraged by the clients and the patrons that we have, and their willingness to embrace these principles.”


Woods Bagot plans world’s tallest tower

The 1km-high tower, by developer Nakheel, would dwarf the 818m-high Burj Dubai, designed by SOM’s Adrian Smith, and currently under construction.

Part of a 270ha development known as New Dubai, the 200-storey building is expected to cost £21 billion and take
10 years to construct.

Instead of a single core, the developer has announced that the skyscraper will have four cores “inspired by Islamic patterns”.

Funding is expected to come from a combination of “pre-sales of land in and around the tower, then project funding”, according to Nakheel chief executive Chris O’Donnell.

(bdonline)

1 comment:

Social Media Exchange said...

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Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.