Even if Abu Dhabi has almost unique economic and institutional conditions and rests for now as a borderline case of development profiles, it still highlights several common problems in contemporary large-scale development projects and in the use of star architecture in other parts of the world: little care for the context of branded projects, de-politicization of urban development, weak and inconsistent public planning...[and] spectacular architecture [for] global competition and media exposure — CityLab
An excerpt from the upcoming book “Starchitecture. Scenes, Actors, and Spectacles in Contemporary Cities” by Davide Ponzini and Michele Nastasi examines Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island megaproject, and argues how such projects show the little influence that famous architects can have on...
skyTran’s computer-controlled, 2-person “jet-like” vehicles employ magnetic levitation technology instead of wheels.
The patented high-speed, low-cost, elevated PRT system built at the NASA Ames Research Centre, will have cars zipping above traffic along magnetic lines from one destination to another across the island, a statement said. — designmena.com
More transportation news on Archinect:Hyperloop hopefuls turn to 'passive' maglev technologyWould self-driving cars be useful to people living outside urban cores?Aerial cable cars proposed for ChicagoWorld's first fully autonomous taxi service will arrive in Singapore later this yearWomen-only...
Masdar City, when it was first conceived a decade ago, was intended to revolutionise thinking about cities and the built environment.
Now the world’s first planned sustainable city – the marquee project of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) plan to diversify the economy from fossil fuels - could well be the world’s first green ghost town.
As of this year [...] managers have given up on the original goal of building the world’s first planned zero-carbon city. — theguardian.com
The Gulf in the Middle East, the heartland of the global oil industry, will suffer heatwaves beyond the limit of human survival if climate change is unchecked, according to a new scientific study.
The extreme heatwaves will affect Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and coastal cities in Iran as well as posing a deadly threat to millions of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, when the religious festival falls in the summer. — The Guardian
"The study shows the extreme heatwaves, more intense than anything ever experienced on Earth, would kick in after 2070 and that the hottest days of today would by then be a near-daily occurrence."Related:Luxury Anthropocene: Dubai gets its first private floating islandsIt's only August but humans...
Migrant workers building branches of the Guggenheim Museum, the Louvre and the Zayed National Museum on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi continue to face crushing debt, substandard wages and harsh working conditions despite recent efforts to improve treatment, according to a report published this week by Gulf Labor, a coalition of artists and activists.
[...] the researchers found that “underpayment is far and away the primary concern” for the workers themselves. — theartnewspaper.com
This issue of labor rights in the greater gulf region previously on Archinect:An updated look at the conditions for Abu Dhabi's migrant workersBBC journalists arrested for reporting on Qatar's World Cup laborersLabor violations affirmed in latest report of NYU Abu Dhabi constructionWorld Cup...
We spoke to Richard Armstrong, the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, on the eve of the exhibition Guggenheim Helsinki Now: Six Finalist Designs Unveiled at the Kunsthalle Helsinki [...]
So the Guggenheim Helsinki will really happen?
Come June we will say which architect seems best for the job; then there has to be a vote in city council again [...]. So there are still a few legislative hurdles ahead, but I would predict yes. It’s irresistible. — The Art Newspaper
Related:Get a glimpse of the Guggenheim Helsinki Stage Two finalist proposalsWhat do you think of the Guggenheim Helsinki Stage One entries?The Next Helsinki counter-competition launches in response to Guggenheim Helsinki controversyDid you submit one of the record-shattering 1,715 entries to the...
An independent investigation into the construction of New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus has found that despite the school’s best intentions and efforts, about one third of the workforce at the site — roughly 10,000 workers — was not covered by the school’s labor guidelines, and thus faced unfair and exploitative practices [that were reported in previous allegations]. — Hyperallergic
To add to that, construction of the NYUAD main campus is nearly complete and the workers have already moved on to other jobs.Related:Abu Dhabi: Saadiyat Guggenheim StallsHigh Culture and Hard LaborA Memorial for the Workers Dying While Constructing the Qatar World Cup Stadium
With all the cultural, sports and real-estate projects launched throughout the United Arab Emirates, there have been persistent protests about the working and living conditions [...] ”Serious concerns about workers’ rights have not been resolved”, claims the advocacy group, asking for a commitment for ”more serious protection” from these institutions and Saadiyat Island’s developers. [...] appears to have made a serious effort to address the concern expressed by Western museums and architects. — theartnewspaper.com
UK/Dubai-based media company Electric Lime Productions recently released a film for the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi called "The Arcology", defined as "a vision of architectural design principles for very densely populated habitats (hyperstructures)"The short video below is a highlight from a...
Saadiyat Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi, has seen $27 billion in investments pour in as the island hopes to become a new beacon of culture in the region
developers behind the island have received international attention for the poor conditions in which migrant laborers work and live. Reports have found that in some cases, the control employers hold over the island's workers, such as withholding their passports to prevent them from returning to their home countries, amounts to forced labor. — Al Jazeera America
Saadiyat Island includes a half-billion-dollar branch of the Louvre Museum designed by Jean Nouvel, a national museum designed by Norman Foster and a variety of luxury resorts, golf clubs, marinas and private villas.Where does an architect's responsibility begin and where does it end?
A spoof Guggenheim website, globalguggenheim.org, went live this morning with a satirical “Sustainable Design Competition” for the global museum’s embattled Abu Dhabi branch. The website, a slightly modified replica of the official Guggenheim version, features images of Saadiyat Island, where the museum is to be built, overlayed with the hashtag #futureguggenheim, as well as references to Gulf Labor’s ongoing 52 Weeks campaign. — hyperallergic.com
Drop by Hollywood’s finest art and architecture bookstore, Hennessey + Ingalls, tonight for a special event launching Shaping the City, a newly revised edition of contemporary urbanism case studies. The event will also feature a conversation with University of Toronto’s Director of...
In our previous post, we published the four regional winners of the Best Tall Building prize conferred annually by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Winner of the award for the Middle East & Africa region is the five-building Sowwah Square complex in Abu Dhabi designed by Chicago architecture firm Goettsch Partners and developed by Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure. — bustler.net
Abu Dhabi, the most oil-rich of the United Arab Emirates, is now home to the world's single-largest concentrated solar power plant.
The 100-megawatt Shams 1 plant cost an estimated $750 million and is expected to provide electricity to 20,000 homes, according to the BBC.
Why, you might ask?
Bloomberg says the less oil Abu Dhabi uses for local consumption, the more it can export. — npr.org
Chicago architecture firm Goettsch Partners has designed the flagship commercial development for UAE-based Al Hilal Bank in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island, formerly known as Sowwah Island. — bustler.net
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