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 has brought about a lapse between architecture based on context and the glass architecture that came out of no where and disregarding the context.

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

Historically architecture was based on two models of construction that serve the context and environment.

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

Second are the mud brick houses that are mainly located by the water for people working in water trades. Houses where built from soil available onsite, with openings to make the best use of wind for cooling and ventilation. Water in the mud bricks created a more moist environments accompanied by the cooling system wind towers where constructed. 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 semiprivate set up (hospitality).

The same way of construction was used in public and community gathering spaces, like mosques or majlis (semiprivate/public space for men to meet for discussion and hospitality)

This vernacular construction was developed based on need built for climate and cultural gestures.

However, with the discovery of oil and the influence of globalization started to explode, the change was to rapid to for memory preservation in traditional architecture.

This opened the door for the over take of the city for new construction creating a disconnect in connection of existing architecture to development of global architecture.  The city started to have a central growth of the city with stand alone architecture that are in competition between each other with no connection other than typology. The metropolitan came out of a need for modernization and change with no context consideration on all scales, environmental, cultural. Mostly politically and commercially driven. Affecting the urban fabric of the city and identity.

Glass tower construction is a direct outcome of commercial need and growing to global commercial standards. This didn’t consider the environmental effect or considerations that need to be taken for the weather and context of the city,resulting in over heating the center of the city.

98% of the design was 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 tool and business.Visual expression, only incorporating pattern into design to justify the context existence but not the method of construction or the programing function of culture existing.

With the growth of commerce and foreign population the need for housing within the metropolitan grow and started to split the skyscrapers to both 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  use spaces.

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