The insatiable demand of the global building boom has unleashed an illegal market in sand. Gangs are now stealing pristine beaches to order and paradise islands are being dredged and sold to the construction industry was the introduction to an article of The Guardian. A less partial response to that would definitely that of Seyed Ghaffar, Brunel University London proposes here below to how we can recycle more buildings.
More than 35 billion tonnes of non-metallic minerals are extracted from the Earth every year. These materials mainly end up being used to build homes, schools, offices and hospitals. It’s a staggering amount of resources, and it’s only too likely to increase in the coming years as the global population continues to grow.
Thankfully, the challenges of sustainable construction, industrial growth and the importance of resource efficiency are now clearly recognised by governments around the world and are now at the forefront of strategy and policy.
A critical component of the UK government’s sustainability strategy concerns the way in which construction and demolition waste – CDW, as we call it in the trade – is managed. CDW comes from the construction of buildings, civil infrastructure and their demolition and is one of the heaviest waste streams generated in the world – 35% of the world’s landfill is made up of CDW.
The EU’s Waste Framework Directive, which aims to recycle 70% of non-hazardous CDW by 2020, has encouraged the construction industry to process and reuse materials more sustainably. This directive, which favours preventive measures – for example, reducing their use in the first place – as the best approach to tackling waste, has been implemented in the UK since 2011. More specific to the construction industry, the Sustainable Construction Strategy also sets overall targets for diverting CDW from landfill.
Policies worldwide recognise that the construction sector needs to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle the climate crisis and limit resource depletion, with a focus on adopting a circular economy approach in construction to ensure the sustainable use of construction materials.
Instead of simply knocking buildings down and sending the CDW to landfill, circular construction would turn building components that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, minimising waste.
It would change economic logic because it replaces production with sufficiency: reuse what you can, recycle what cannot be reused, repair what is broken, and re-manufacture what cannot be repaired. It will also help protect businesses against a shortage of resources and unstable prices, creating innovative business opportunities and efficient methods of producing and consuming.
Changing the mind-set
The mind-set of the industry needs to change towards the cleaner production of raw materials and better circular construction models. Technical issues – such as price, legal barriers and regulations – that stand in the way of the solutions being rolled out more widely must also be overcome through innovation.
Materials scientists, for example, are currently investigating and developing products that use processed CDW for manufacturing building components – for example, by crushing up CDW and using it to make new building materials.
Technical problems around the reuse of recycled materials should be solved through clever material formulations and detailed property investigations. For instance, the high water absorption rate in recycled aggregates causes durability problems in wall components. This is something that research must address.
Moreover, it is illegal in the EU to use products that haven’t been certified for construction. This is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of the more widespread reuse of materials, particularly in a structural capacity. Testing the performance of materials for certification can be expensive, which adds to the cost of the material and may cancel out any savings made from reusing them.
For the construction, demolition and waste management industries to remain competitive in a global marketplace, they must continue to develop and implement supply chain innovations that improve efficiency and reduce energy, waste and resource use. To achieve this, substantial research into smart, mobile and integrated systems is necessary.
Radically advanced robotic artificial intelligence (AI) systems for sorting and processing CDW must also be developed. Many industries are facing an uncertain future and today’s technological limitations cannot be assumed to apply. The construction industry is likely to be significantly affected by the potential of transformative technologies such as AI, 3D printing, virtual/augmented reality and robotics. The application of such technologies presents both significant opportunities and challenges.
A model for the future
As the image below shows, we have developed a concept for an integrated, eco-friendly circular construction solution.
Advanced sensors and AI that can detect quickly and determine accurately what can be used among CDW and efficient robotic sorting could aid circular construction by vastly improving the recycling of a wide range of materials. The focus should be on the smart dismantling of buildings and ways of optimising cost-effective processes.
The industry must also be inspired to highlight and prove the extraordinary potential of this new construction economy. We can drive this through a combination of creative design, focused academic research and applied technology, external industry engagement and flexible, responsive regulation.
Only through a combination of efforts can we start to recycle more buildings, but I’m confident that with the right will – and the right investment – we can start to massively reduce the amount of materials we pull from the ground each year and move towards a truly sustainable future.
Aurecon’s Daniel Borszik shares insights on modular buildings “clipped together like Lego” and IoT-integrated buildings.
The building industry, which has historically lagged in terms of technology adoption, is beginning to have a dialogue on shifting from projects to products, with a particular focus on modular construction.
Speaking at the 40th edition of the region’s largest and most influential event for the construction industry The Big 5, Aurecon MEP associate, Daniel Borszik, said: “Modular construction could scale easily to an industry worth $100bn in the US and Europe alone. Even though that’s quite a large number, the industry could deliver about $20bn in annual savings.”
During his talk at The Big 5, Borszik shared details on the various methods of modular construction from modular 2D panels in high-quality single-family housing units that permit for design flexibility and optimised logistics; to 3D volumetric modular systems that create standardization, repeatability, and cost reduction in low- and mid-rise apartment buildings or hotels.
Borszik also elaborated on the combination of automated fabrication with what he called ‘buildable tech’, which called for new materials and fabrication methods that might initially attract a premium but will result in cost savings in the long run.
He pointed to a construction industry where future building parts are printed using cutting-edge 3D printing technology; where these building parts are then “clipped together like Lego”; where machine learning technology and Internet-of-Things (IoT) is integrated into these buildings; and where the completed buildings will be able to self-manage, and fix themselves.
“What I find exciting about the buildings of the future is that you will see a lot more of integration of technology in our buildings. Sooner or later, if the air conditioning has an issue in your house, the air conditioner itself will be able to send an email to the maintenance team to come and fix it, without the need for a human to raise a complaint, and all you get is a notification on your phone that maintenance has been scheduled,” Borszik said.
This will disrupt every player in the construction industry from developers, architects, and designers to contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, consultants and others. Borszik stated that all stakeholders in the industry need to prepare for the disrupting shifts in value pools.
“From engineers to designers, city planners to politicians, it will take all hands on deck to turn a truly transformative design into the city’s new normal,” Borszik concludes.
The Planning and Statistics Authority’s recently released data shows 51% general increase in July 2019 in the number of building permits issued when compared to June this year.
The Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA) published the fifty-fifth issue of the monthly statistics of Building Permits and Building Completion certificates issued by all municipalities of the State.
According to PSA data on building permits issued during July 2019, Al Rayyan comes at the top of the municipalities where the number of building permits issued were 188, i.e. 27% of the total issued permits, while Doha municipality comes in second place with 151 permits, i.e. 22%, followed by Al Wakrah with 131 permits (19%), then Al Da’ayen with 85 permits, i.e.12%.
The rest of the municipalities are as follows: Umm Slal 58 permits (8%), Al Khor 39 permits (6%), Al Sheehaniya 31 permits (4%), and Al Shammal 15 permits (2%).
In terms of type of permits issued, data indicates that the new building permits (residential and non-residential) constitute 50% (352 permits) of the total building permits issued during the month of July 2019, while the percentage of additions permits constituted 48% (334 permits), and finally fencing permits with 2% (12 permits).
New residential buildings permits data indicates that villas top the list, accounting for 68% (198 permits) of all new residential buildings permits, followed by dwellings of housing loans permits by 24% (71 permits) and apartments buildings by 7% (20 permits).
On the other hand, governmental buildings were found to be in the forefront of non-residential buildings permits with 29% (17 permits), followed by industrial buildings e.g. workshops and factories with 27% (16 permits), then commercial buildings with 25% (15 permits).
Comparing the number of permits issued in July 2019 with those issued in the previous month a general increase of 51% was noted. The increase was noted in all municipalities as follows: Al Shammal (150%), Al Wakrah (68%), Al Sheehaniya and Al Khor (63%) each, Umm Slal (61%), Al Rayyan (50%), Al Doha (41%), Al Da’ayen (25%).
The press release added that a quick review of the data on building completion certificates issued during the month of July 2019, according to their geographical distribution, showed that Rayyan municipality comes at the top of the municipalities where the number of building completion certificates issued were 125 certificates, i.e. (33%) of the total issued certificates while municipality of Al Wakrah came in second place with 81 certificates, i.e. (21%), followed by municipality of Al Doha with 74 certificates (19%), then Al Da’ayen municipality with 53 certificates, i.e.(14%). The rest of the municipalities were as follows: Umm Slal 23 certificates (6%), Al Khor 11 certificates (3%), Al Sheehaniya 9 certificates (2%), and finally Al Shammal 7 certificates (2%).
In terms of the type of certificates issued, data indicates that the new building completion certificates (residential and non-residential) constitutes 76% (291 certificates) of the total building certificates issued during the month of July 2019, while the percentage of additions certificates constituted 24% (92 certificates).
Comparing the number of certificates issued in July 2019 with those issued in the previous month we noted an increase of 38%. This increase was clearly noted in most municipalities: Al Shammal (250%),Al Wakrah (103%), Al Doha (76%), Al Rayyan (25%), Al Da’ayen (18%), Umm Slal (5%), On the other hand, there was a clear decrease in the municipality of Al Khor (35%), while Al Sheehaniya municipality maintained the same number of issued certificates.
Ivy Heffernan is a student of Economics at Buckingham University. Junior Analyst at HeffX and experienced marketing director.
The real estate market in Egypt’s capital Cairo continues its rapid growth with the construction of large-scale projects stimulating economic expansion and driving demand for Grade A office projects, according to Savills, a leading real estate services provider in the Middle East.
There is a systematic shift of tenants towards newer developments away from the erstwhile central business hubs in Central Cairo, towards modern speculative and purpose-built developments across New Cairo in the East and Sheikh Zayed City in the West, stated Savills in its latest report that analyses the Cairo Metropolitan Area (CMA) office market for the first half.
Demand is also driven by new market entrants – both domestic and global – along with expansion and consolidation exercise, it stated.
The city’s strong demographic vantage in terms of young, educated and comparatively low-cost workforce and a further improvement in global investor confidence towards the economy in the medium-to-long term will continue to drive demand for office real estate in the city, it added.
Head of Egypt Catesby Langer-Paget said: “As Egypt’s macro-economic situation continues to improve on account of prudent policy measures, our recent research shows that the demand for office space in Cairo has increased, driven by a mix of relocation, expansion and expansion led consolidation exercise.”
The sustained demand for office space has led to a spurt in project launches and completions over the past few quarters. This increase in the availability of Grade A options has created a short-to-medium term pressure on rental values across most markets.
However, headline rental values continue to remain stable but we have noticed enhanced flexibility among landlords with regards to incentives and lease terms. During H1 2019, rents for Grade A stock across Heliopolis ranged between E£300 – E£350 / sqm / month while in New Cairo and Sheikh Zayed City it ranged between E£350 – 400 / sqm / month.
“We noticed strong interest from the pharmaceutical sector, technology, banking and financial services and media firms to occupy Grade A space within the city,” stated Langer-Paget.
“In terms of new supply, no new projects were completed during the current review period. However, to meet this growing demand, we anticipate approximatively 155,500 sqm of Grade A space to be handed over across key areas such as New Cairo and Nasr City over the next six months,” he added.
While most of us are not aware of it,
sand is – after air and water – the third most used resource on the planet.
Every house, dam, road, wine glass and cell phone contains it. Even a seemingly
endless resource like sand cannot keep up with current demand.
“Sand is not infinite,” says Kiran
Pereira, founder and chief storyteller at SandStories.org and one of the experts participating in the very first round-table
focusing on sand, organized by UN Environment, GRID (Global Resources
Information Database )-Geneva and the University of Geneva in mid-October.
Various stakeholders from the
industrial, environmental and academic sector came together in Geneva on 11
October 2018 to discuss the emerging issue of sand extraction and solutions to
address potential environmental impact. “It is extraordinary that so little
attention has been given to this problem,” says Bart Geenen, head of the
freshwater programme at the World Wildlife Fund – Netherlands.
Fifty billion tons of sand and gravel
are used around the world every year. This is the equivalent to a 35-metre-high
by 35-metre-wide wall around the equator. Most sand goes into the production of
cement for concrete (which is made of cement, water, sand and gravel). Cement,
a key input into concrete, the most widely used construction material in the
world, is a major source of greenhouse gases, and accounts for about eight per
cent of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a recent Chatham House report.
Sand is, essentially tiny grains of
rock, is also used to replenish retreating beaches and extending territories
through, for example, constructing artificial islands (think Palm Islands and
The World, in Dubai) or infilling on the coast (Singapore). It is taken from
rivers, beaches and the ocean floor. Desert sand, due to its smoothness, cannot
be used for concrete.
If not managed correctly, sand
extraction from places with fragile ecosystems can have a huge environmental
impact. Extraction on a beach may, for example, not only lead to the
destruction of local biodiversity but can also reduce the scope for tourism.
Furthermore, huge demand for sand may
lead to illegal sand extraction, which is becoming an issue in many places.
“Sand mafias” in India, for example, threaten local communities and their
livelihoods as well as the environment.
“Sand is used by everybody. We are not here to halt the sector, but work
together with all stakeholders on sustainable solutions,” notes Pascal Peduzzi,
director of GRID-Geneva at UN Environment, who first raised the sand issue in a
2014 report titled Sand, rarer than
Innovative solutions being tested
However, innovative solutions are
being tested to replace sand in the construction of roads and buildings.
Recycled plastic, earth, bamboo, wood, straw and other materials can be used as
alternative building materials. The key seems to be to blend other materials
with the all-encompassing concrete to give the mixture the necessary stability
for a building.
Several countries have already been
experimenting with plastic composite roads. The first ever cycle path made
completely out of recycled plastic was opened in Zwolle, Netherlands, in
Recycled plastic has the potential to
become a serious alternative to sand in road-building. Plastic roads are
estimated to be three times more durable than traditional asphalt roads.
However, they are still in their testing phase as their longevity as well as
their environmental impact need to be studied further: small particles of the
plastic could eventually find their way into the soil and water through heat,
wear and tear, and run-off.
While there is no magic bullet, the
Geneva meeting agreed that it is important to raise awareness of the fact that
sand is not a limitless resource and that there are possible negative effects
of sand extraction. Good practices must be shared and the communication gap between
policymakers and consumers overcome.
UNEP-GRID (United Nations Environment
Programme-Global Resources Information Database) is working with the University
of Geneva to raise awareness. “We are working on finding innovative solutions
for sustainable resource consumption and connecting them to impactful
awareness-raising at multiple levels,” says Anna Cinelli from the University of
Geneva. Her fellow student Rebecca Jimenez adds: “At the end of the day it’s
about finding sustainable solutions that are workable and are accepted by
society at large.”
The Geneva meeting concluded that the
way forward is to collect more data, and to work on implementing policies and
standards to protect delicate ecosystems from illegal and environmentally
harmful sand extraction. The search for sustainable solutions should start now,
the meeting concluded.
TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the specialized service provider of cutting-edge information on the hospitality industry, produced this article of great significance on the Top Projects in the Middle East Hotels under construction, specifically in the GCC countries. These are for all who know what is planned for this region of the Gulf, amongst many other things, no less than a Dubai Expo in 2020 and the next Football World Cup in 2022 in Qatar.
A free report is available on the same website and is full of interesting details of the region’s dynamics in the hotel development business.
A Look at the Top Projects in the Middle East Hotel Pipeline
The Middle East region is a true modern success story within the hospitality industry.
Led by the glittering tourist paradise of Dubai, the region has arguably done more than any other to improve its appeal to international tourists over the past two decades. Whereas some years ago it was basically an afterthought for most global hospitality companies, these days it is becoming an increasingly vital region in the plans of many famous hotel brands.
The Middle East’s Hotel Project Pipeline
With that in mind, we recently took a look at the project pipeline for the Middle East by drawing information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database. What we found was no surprise: the hospitality market in the region continues to grow. In fact, within its pipeline right now there are currently some 618 projects that once completed will yield a total of 178,288 new rooms for guests. This puts the Middle East as the fourth biggest hospitality market on the planet, behind the likes of the Asia/Pacific region, North America, and Europe, all of which cover a substantially larger geographic space than the Middle East.
For the savvy hotel owner or operator, it is increasingly imperative to know about some of the marquee projects that are headlining development trends in that region. To learn more, we again turn to the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database.
This hotel will offer a wellness and fitness center once it is completed in the third quarter of 2019, as well as an all-day dining restaurant, specialty restaurant, ultra-lounge / lobby lounge, pool bar / wellness and fitness cafe, retails outlets including the Paramount Hotels & Resorts boutique, swimming pool, work and play suites, screening room, kids club, meetings and events facilities, and much more. Located in Dubai, it will have 442 new rooms for guests.
Slated to open in 2018 with 360 new rooms for guests, this property is located in Qatar. It marks Thai hotel operator Centara Hotels & Resort’s first hotel in the Middle East, and it will be located in the capital city of Doha, with easy access to the Corniche and to the airport. The property will also feature family-friendly accommodations options such as multiple bedroom units, as well as club level business rooms and a club lounge. In terms of food and drink offerings, the hotel will boast four dining outlets, including a rooftop dining and entertainment venue for guests.
As a key input into concrete, the most widely used construction material in the world, cement is a major contributor to climate change . The chemical and thermal combustion processes involved in the production of cement are a large source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Each year, more than 4 billion tonnes of cement are produced, accounting for around 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions.
Per Middle East Magazine and according to Citi’s MENA Projects Tracker, $2.5 trillion of projects are under development or actually under construction across the MENA region. Of these, 90% are in the Gulf and 60% are in just two countries: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. By sector, just over $1 trillion of this total is being invested in MENA real estate projects and $812bn in infrastructural schemes. The scale of this investment can be seen in comparison with the $376bn that is being spent on the lynchpin of the regional economy: oil and gas. The report’s author, Farek Soussa, commented: “There is a heavy bias in the UAE towards real estate projects, while infrastructure projects dominate in Qatar. The oil and gas sector is of greatest significance in Algeria, while Jordan is spending most on power and water.” Cement is of course the main ingredient that is an absolute must in any building and / or infrastructure development.
Shifting to a Paris-compliant pathway, with net-zero CO2 emissions by around 2050,7 will require going further and moving faster on all available solutions, as well as making sure that the next generation of innovative technology options is ready as soon as possible.
To illustrate the scale of this challenge, Figure 1 shows the decarbonization pathway set out by the IEA and CSI’s 2018 Technology Roadmap.8 This scenario shows action on four mitigation levers – energy efficiency, fuel switching, clinker substitution and innovative technologies (including CCS) – to achieve CO2 reductions consistent with at least a 50 per cent chance of limiting the average global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Figure 1: Towards a Paris-compatible pathway
Source: Authors’ analysis of scenario set out in International Energy Agency and Cement Sustainability Initiative (2018), Technology Roadmap: Low-Carbon Transition in the Cement Industry, Paris: International Energy Agency, https://www.wbcsdcement.org/index.php/key-issues/climate-protection/technology-roadmap (accessed 24 Apr. 2018). The B2DS is based on data in International Energy Agency (2017), Energy Technology Perspectives 2017.
Note: RTS stands for ‘reference technology scenario’, 2DS stands for ‘2°C Scenario’ and B2DS stands for ‘Beyond 2°C Scenario’. For descriptions of each model, refer to the original source. The ETP B2DS and roadmap models are not directly comparable as they are based on slightly different assumptions as to future demand for cement but they are shown together here as an indicative comparison.
As recognized in the 2018 roadmap, there is a considerable gap between this scenario and a scenario consistent with countries’ more ambitious aspirations in the Paris Agreement of limiting the temperature increase even further, towards 1.5°C. The IEA’s Beyond 2°C Scenario (B2DS) indicated earlier is only an illustration of the challenge such an emissions reduction would represent in relation to current industry ambitions.
Shifting towards B2DS will require more ambition across each of these levers, particularly in the short term:
·Although many of the relatively straightforward gains have already been made, there is still scope for improvement in energy efficiency. Europe and the US now lag behind India and China on energy efficiency, due to the continuing use of older equipment, and will need to at least close this gap in the next decade if they are to meet industry targets. The key challenges will be the capital investment required and the fact that action on other levers such as alternative fuels and CCS may slow progress on energy efficiency.
·Shifting away from the use of fossil fuelsin cement production will also be key. China and India, in particular, have significant potential to switch to sustainable lower-carbon fuels. In Europe, cement plants have been shown to run on 90 per cent non-fossil fuels. A key challenge will be to ensure the availability of biomass from truly sustainable sources. Currently, the sector relies largely on waste-derived biomass; however, shifting towards a majority share of alternative fuels may eventually prompt the sector to turn to wood pellets.
·Clinker substitution involves replacing a share of the clinker content in cement with other materials. This could play a greater role than currently anticipated. Achieving an average global clinker ratio of 0.60 by 2050, as set out by the 2018 Technology Roadmap, has the potential to mitigate almost 0.2 gigatonnes (GT) of CO2 in 2050.9 The share of clinker needed can be reduced even further in individual applications, with the potential to lower the CO2 emissions of those applications by as much as 70–90 per cent. At the very ambitious end of the scale, if 70 per cent replacement was achieved on a global scale, this could represent almost 1.5 GT of CO2emissions saved in 2050.10 Clinker substitution is not only a very effective solution, but also one that can be deployed cheaply today, as it does not generally require investments in new equipment or changes in fuel sources. It is, therefore, especially important to scale up clinker substitution in the near term while more radical options, such as the introduction of novel and carbon-negative cements, are still under development. The greatest constraints are the uncertain availability of clinker substitute materials and the lack of customer demand for low-clinker cements.
·Many experts are understandably sceptical about the potential to rapidly scale up CCS. Although other technologies are included in this lever, as presented in Figure 1, in practice hopes are currently pinned on CCS. This is reflected in both the 2018 roadmap and other major modelling exercises today. Even if hopes for CCS prove optimistic, carbon-capture technology could still prove critical in moving to B2DS. Moreover, CCS could complement the development of some novel concretes, which rely on a source of pure captured CO2 for carbonation curing. One of the key challenges facing CCS is the cost of the technology versus that of other levers.
However, it will be impossible to even get close to B2DS without also achieving radical changes in cement consumption and breakthroughs in the development of novel cements:
·Most cement emissions scenarios depend on projections of consumptionthat deserve far greater scrutiny. Concrete demand can be reduced, sometimes by more than 50 per cent, by taking a new approach to design, using higher-quality concretes, substituting concrete for other materials, improving the efficiency with which it is used on construction sites, and increasing the share of concrete that is reused and recycled. Deploying an array of such demand-side approaches in key growth markets such as China, India and African countries will be essential if the sector is to reach net-zero emissions. Action on material efficiency will, however, depend on the cooperation and motivation of a host of actors beyond the cement sector.
·Moving towards net-zero emissions for all new construction will require a rapid scale-up in the deployment of novel cements. Some can achieve emissions reductions of more than 90 per cent. Others can sequester carbon, theoretically capturing more carbon than is emitted in their production, rendering them carbon-negative. So far, however, the majority of these products have failed to achieve commercial viability. Achieving breakthroughs in this area will require concerted investment in research and large-scale demonstration projects, as well as education and training of consumers to build the market for novel products.
Even with ambitious projections across all mitigation levers to meet the B2DS, more than o.8 GT of CO2 would still be emitted in 2050. These ‘residual emissions’ would need to be offset by other means. Achieving zero CO2 emissions, therefore, needs to remain an objective beyond 2050. Failure to do so will imply a greater reliance on negative-emissions technologies that have so far failed to scale.
Jeddah Tower: In an attempt to promote development and tourism in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jeddah, a mega-tall skyscraper is now in the processing to become the tallest building on the planet. The creator and sponsor of the project is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest man in the Middle East and a member of the Saudi royal family.
The designing architect of the world’s first 1-kilometer high skyscraper is none other than Adrian Smith, from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Smith was also the designer of the world’s current tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and he is, generally, known for his soaring towers in the US, South Korea, and China.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
The idea of this architectural marvel in Jeddah was not enthusiastically received all the way long, as some Saudis contemplate the possibility that it would have a negative financial effect on the kingdom. With a budget nearing $2 billion, its opening date was pushed till 2020 due to difficult economic circumstances in the country.
Here are some interesting facts you should know about Jeddah Tower:
1. The aerodynamic triangular shape and the sloping exterior of the tower help in reducing the wind load. Its tri-petal-shaped plan is inspired by the leaves of desert plants.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
2. The multi-use tower will house the Four Seasons Hotel in addition to serviced residential apartments and office spaces, with transportation routes all around it.
3. Jeddah Tower will have the highest observatory deck and hanging balcony, about 652 meters above the sea level.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
4. The sleek skyscraper will be the core of Jeddah Economic City project and will be surrounded by houses, schools, universities, malls, and hospitals.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
5. One rendering will not be realistically able to enclose the whole colossal edifice. Only elevations and birds-eye views can do the job.
6. If you are sitting in a small room right now with a width of 10 feet, have a look around you, this is the diameter of one foundation pile; each pile is 360 feet in length. Concrete in some parts of the core is a few meters thick.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
7. It will have 59 elevators. However, due to the extreme height of the tower, which is over one kilometer, elevators are made to move at a speed lower than ordinary lifts to avoid nausea due to the change in air pressure.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
8. With the sizzling temperature in Jeddah which could reach 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, the exterior wall system of Jeddah tower comprises glass of low conductivity to reduce power use for air-conditioning.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
9. Wonderful views of the city and the sea can be seen from the outdoor terraces. The three-sided building has magnificent patios as well as shaded pockets in each of the three sides.
Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture
10. A structure of such height requires a huge amount of steel for construction which can reach up to 80,000 tons.
Below is Daniel Brown, of Nottingham Trent Universityarticle; it has an introduction that says it all about yet an other attempt in today’s learning from the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge that is put to test as technological advances allows us to go deeper into the ever so thinning layers of history...
Ever since humans could look up to see the sky, we have been amazed by its beauty and untold mysteries. Naturally then, astronomy is often described as the oldest of the sciences, inspiring people for thousands of years. Celestial phenomena are featured in prehistoric cave paintings. And monuments such as the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge seem to be aligned with precision to cardinal points or the positions where the moon, sun or stars rise and set on the horizon.
From the pyramids to Stonehenge – were prehistoric people astronomers?
Today, we seem to struggle to imagine how ancient people could build and orient such structures. This has led to many assumptions. Some suggest prehistoric people must have had some knowledge of mathematics and sciences to do this, whereas others go so far as to speculate that alien visitors showed them how to do it.
But what do we actually know about how people of the past understood the sky and developed a cosmology? A scientific discipline called “archaeoastronomy” or “cultural astronomy”, developed in the 1970s, is starting to provide insights. This subject combines various specialist areas, such as astronomy, archaeology, anthropology and ethno-astronomy.
The pyramids of Egypt are some of the most impressive ancient monuments, and several are oriented with high precision. Egyptologist Flinder Petrie carried out the first high-precision survey of the Giza pyramids in the 19th century. He found that each of the four edges of the pyramids’ bases point towards a cardinal direction to within a quarter of a degree.
But how did the Egyptians know that? Just recently, Glen Dash, an engineer who studies the Giza pyramids, proposed a theory. He draws upon the ancient method of the “Indian circle”, which only requires a shadow casting stick and string to construct an east-west direction. He outlined how this method could have been used for the pyramids based on its simplicity alone.
So could this have been the case? It’s not impossible, but at this point we are in danger of falling into a popular trap of reflecting our current world views, methods and ideas into the past. Insight into mythology and relevant methods known and used at the time are likely to provide a more reliable answer.
This is not the first time scientists have jumped to conclusions about a scientific approach applied to the past. A similar thing happened with Stonehenge. In 1964, the late astronomer Gerald Hawkins developed an intricate method to use pit holes and markers to predict eclipses at the mysterious monument. However, this does not mean that this is how Stonehenge was intended to be used.
To start understanding the past we need to include various approaches from other disciplines to support an idea. We also have to understand that there will never be only one explanation or answer to how a monument might have been aligned or used.
So how can cultural astronomy explain the pyramids’ alignment? A study from 2001 proposed that two stars, Megrez and Phad, in the stellar constellation known as Ursa Major may have been the key. These stars are visible through the entire night. Their lowest position in the sky during a night can mark north using the merkhet – an ancient timekeeping instrument composing a bar with a plumb line attached to a wooden handle to track stars’ alignment.
The benefit of this interpretation is that it links to star mythology drawn from inscriptions in the temple of Horus in Edfu. These elaborate on using the merkhet as a surveying tool – a technique that can also explain the orientation of other Egyptian sites. The inscription includes the hieroglyph “the Bull’s Foreleg” which represents the Big Dipper star constellation and its possible position in the sky.
Similarly, better ideas for Stonehenge have been offered. One study identified strange circles of wood near the monument, and suggested these may have represented the living while the rocks at Stonehenge represented the dead. Similar practices are seen in monuments found in Madagascar, suggesting it may have been a common way for prehistoric people to think about the living and the dead. It also offers an exciting new way of understanding Stonehenge in its wider landscape. Others have interpreted Stonehenge and especially its avenue as marking the ritual passage through the underworld with views of the moon on the horizon.
Cultural astronomy has also helped shed light on 6,000-year-old passage graves – a type of tomb consisting of a chamber of connected stones and a long narrow entrance – in Portugal. Archaeologist Fabio Silva has shown how views from inside the tombs frame the horizon where the star Aldebaran rises above a mountain range. This might mean it was built to give a view of the star from the inside either for the dead or the living, possibly as an initiation ritual.
But Silva also drew upon wider supporting evidence. The framed mountain range is where the builders of the graves would have migrated with their livestock over summer. The star Aldebaran rises for the first time here in the year – known as a helical rising – during the beginning of this migration. Interestingly, ancient folklore also talks about a shepherd in this area who spotted a star so bright that it lit up the mountain range. Arriving there he decided to name both the mountain range and his dog after the star – both names still exist today.
Current work carried out by myself in collaboration with Silva has also shown how a view from within the long, narrow entrance passages to the tombs could enhance the star’s visibility by restricting the view through an aperture.
But while it is easy to assume that prehistoric people were analytic astronomers with great knowledge of science, it’s important to remember that this only reflects our modern views of astronomy. Findings from cultural astronomy show that people of the past were indeed sky watchers and incorporated what they saw in many aspects of their lives. While there are still many mysteries surrounding the meaning and origins of ancient structures, an approach drawing on as many areas as possible, including experiences and engaging in meaning is likely our best bet to work out just what they were once used for.
Per Wikipedia, Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.
Environmentally Responsible and Resource-efficient
In fact, in the Middle East, concerns for anything green were second to that fundamentally frantic development of buildings and all related infrastructure to nevertheless greater and greater awareness of their various environmental impact. As a matter of fact, the brunt of all development was and still is located in the Arabian Gulf where carbon footprints of any urban agglomeration were recently assessed to be at critical levels. Elsewhere in the Middle East apart from the large conurbation of Cairo, Damascus, Bagdad, Beirut, etc. things were less acutely perceived but still not exactly as clear of any criticism as one would have hoped. Hence this ecoMENA write-up that elaborates fairly well on the subject.
We republish Ruba’s article with our compliments and thanks to ecoMENA for such an enriching contribution.
We would also like to republish this InHabitat produced back in 2011 survey of 7 Gorgeous Green Buildings in the Middle East undertaken by Tafline Laylin. To our knowledge, nothing
The key drivers for greener built environment in the Middle East are economic in nature. Green and energy-efficient buildings are getting traction in the region due to increasing energy prices and the need for energy efficient and affordable energy solutions and practices within the construction sector. Large real estate developers find in this a new marketing and PR tool that contributes to their bottom line and to demonstrating their commitment to sustainable development goals and environmental responsibility. From the supply side, suppliers and service providers find new business opportunities in this market transformation and this has become a driver for new services and materials.
Transformation in the built environment requires change on the demand side that triggers change on the supply side. Consumer behavior and preferences are the key driver in the market. Understanding what shapes the various consumers’ preferences in various communities and countries would help make the green change more sustainable. The data on buildings performance and the social, economic and environmental impact of such performance is hardly available.
Deploying ICT solutions to enable monitoring and verification is another market enabler and opportunity for local businesses and professionals. Finally, establishing a local green buildings industry is what would sustain the green movement. Leveraging local resources and guiding local innovation towards green building solutions should be the focus of the future.
Awareness raising is usually the long-term investment in behavioral change. When it comes to greening the real estate sector, there are several target groups across the supply chain that require different forms of awareness raising. Starting from architects, designers and developers and passing by electro-mechanical and construction engineers, towards contractors, material suppliers and consultants.
Each of those has a different need and mindset and would require creative messages and tools to join the green movement. The financial implications on short and long terms are usually important to include in addition to other factors like health, comfort, and environmental stewardship. Communicators need to work with green professionals in order to design awareness campaigns that can lead to behavior change.
Situation in Jordan
Jordan is one of the non-oil-producing countries and is striving to achieve ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy targets to overcome its energy challenges. In addition, it is one of the world’s most water-scarce countries. Green buildings are one of the key enablers for green jobs, energy savings and clean tech innovation. Today, Jordan is the home for 19 LEED registered buildings of which 7 are already LEED Certified Buildings (4 Gold, 1 Platinum and 2 Sliver). The sector is attracting many professionals to get certified and penetrate local and regional markets as LEED professionals. To date, 164 LEED Green Associates and 53 LEED APs exist along with a Jordanian USGBC Faculty member; many of which are working on projects in the region.
Communicators need to work with green professionals to facilitate behavioral change.
The government as well as private sector and NGOs have strong appetite to enable this sector through advocating for greener building codes and effective enforcement of codes and regulations as well as building capacity and raising awareness among various target groups. Donors and international agencies are supporting these efforts especially within the energy sector support programmes through technical assistance and pilot projects. While cities like Amman embarked into green buildings as part of their sustainability strategies and adopted some incentive schemes to promote green building practices; the country still needs to move towards greening other cities and anchoring such direction within various municipalities.