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Why Glass In The Desert

Researching the rapid growth architecture in Qatar from nomadic tents and vernacular mud brick structures to modern-day housing and glass utopias. What will the future hold? Will our past fad away?

The rapid growth of the country starting the late 60’s to today brought about a lapse between vernacular architecture  and the glass architecture over taking the city disregarding the context.

On an architectural scale the city  has a become a divers collection of different styles and movements of architecture. From historical buildings, a glass metropolitan to a utopian city for an increasing number of population that doesn’t exist yet.

Historical models of architecture:

The two models of construction that serve the context and environment.

Nomadic tents: Bait el shaar

The tent construction,used for mobility, using cooling fabric and construction, reaction to wind and sand storms, providing shelter.

Mud brick:

The mud brick houses that are mainly located by the water for people working in water trades. Building houses with soil available on site, with openings to make the best use of wind for cooling and ventilation. Water in the mud bricks created a more moist environment accompanied with a wind towers cooling system. Plans of the house were laid out around the needs of the family and a court-yard for privacy and safety. Houses served for multi-family units and different public, private and semi-private set up (hospitality).

Public spaces

This vernacular construction is developed based on the need built for climate and cultural gestures.  Public and community gathering spaces used both construction methods, like mosques or majlis (semi-private/public space for men to meet for discussion and hospitality)

Modern era:

With the discovery of oil and the influence of globalization the change was to rapid for memory preservation in traditional architecture.

Adaptation of modern life created a disconnect between existing architecture and new architecture. Development of a central growth in city with stand alone architecture that competing with each other with no connection but typology.

The metropolitan came out of a need for modernization and change with no context consideration on both an environmental or cultural scale. Mostly politically and commercially driven. Affecting the urban fabric of the city and identity.

Glass buildings:

Glass tower construction is a direct outcome of commercial need and global commercial standards. The environmental effects were not considered.  While climate considerations that need to be taken for the weather resulting in over heating the center of the city.

98% of the design is outsourced by foreign architects and contractors, with no knowledge of the site context, in the urban or cultural fabric. Master architects and architecture became a must and the new symbolic financial abundance. Cultural symbols through only incorporating pattern into design to justify the context existence but not the method of construction or the programing function.

With the growth of commerce and foreign population the need for housing within the metropolitan grew and started to split the skyscrapers to for residential, commercial, and hospitality. However this still made it more complicated by adding the layers of uses in a fabric initially designed for one use. Resulting in the sense of alienation of architecture to the different ways of using spaces.




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