Al Kaabi, Saif (University of Wolverhampton, 2011)
Abu Dhabi, the Capital City of United Arab Emirates, evolved through various stages since its formation. However, unlike other Golf cities, policy makers, planners, and designers sought to guide its growth and development towards a sustainable responsive city. Sustainability has become a central theme of policy and practice, and the design of the built environment is playing a major role towards this. Abu Dhabi developed the World renowned City of Masdar, as a model of sustainable development and design, and established the Estidama Rating System to enforce specific sustainable applications. This aim of this study is to examine the cost-effectiveness of shifting the development of Abu Dhabi from a conventional approach to a sustainable one. In particular, it sought to determine whether vernacular design and architecture could help to address the quest for a sustainable city. The methodology adopted for this research was based on quantitative and qualitative approaches. Three buildings were selected to determine the cost-effectiveness of the proposed sustainable solutions. 1. Masdar building was studied to represent what is classified as a sustainable prototype. 2. Educational Building of Abu Dhabi Police Academy, which has an open courtyard at the centre of the building, represents a vernacular design. 3. Administrative Building of Abu Dhabi Police Academy, which has a closed atrium in the centre without any skylight, represents a conventional building design. The research involved an environmental investigation of power consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, indoor and outdoor temperature, indoor and outdoor relative humidity, and levels of indoor carbon dioxide. Monitors were installed in the three prototype buildings for a period of time, and the results of the readings were compared and analysed. In addition, a questionnaire survey was used to determine the impact of the three buildings on sustainable lifestyles and attitudes. Ninety users of the three buildings responded to the questionnaire. Their responses were also compared and analysed. The results of the monitoring of the thermal performance, power consumption and carbon dioxide levels indoors confirmed that most indoor temperature readings were similar due to the use of air-conditioning in the three buildings. However, cooler temperatures were recorded in similar rates in the alleyways of Masdar and in the courtyard of the Police Academy Educational building. In some cases, courtyard spaces in the Educational Building in the Police Academy recorded even lower temperatures than those of Masdar. These readings were much higher than those of the outdoor exposed temperature, whether in Masdar or in the Police Academy outdoor spaces. Considering that the cost per square meter of the Masdar prototype was almost the double of the other prototypes, these findings challenged the cost-effectiveness of the prevailing Masdar City approach. The results also highlighted the importance of the architectural heritage of Abu Dhabi to address the sustainability agenda, including its implications on planning and building regulations. The findings of the questionnaire survey revealed that there were no significant differences between user responses of Masdar and the Police Academy buildings. These also questioned the cost effectiveness of the Masdar prototype. However, the results also confirmed that the lack of awareness of the sustainability agenda for the users of the three buildings, thus highlighting the wider implications on the sustainability agenda.
Ahmed, Mohammed M. (University of Wolverhampton, 2011)
This study seeks to investigate the impact of globalisation on the architectural behaviour in the United Arab Emirates, to clarify the benefits and risks of globalised architecture in architectural behaviour. Although there are several supporters of globalisation who see the phenomenon as a means of progress and development, many experts have indicated that this phenomenon has been demolishing local culture and regional considerations, and ignoring residents’ requirements. As a result, this study presents all the views about this phenomenon from many aspects, such as political, social, economic and environmental, whereby it investigates the changes in architecture and urban planning due to global standards, methods of construction, and building materials. The literature review was the first part of the study and the theoretical studies were divided into three pivots in this thesis: The globalisation impacts and features, the relationship between globalisation and architecture and the last pivot concentrates on the human needs in architecture. The study also concentrates on the impact of globalisation on architecture through the terminology of “globalised architecture”, and focuses on some global phenomena in the architectural domain, such as skyscrapers, multi-storey buildings and iconic landmarks. The empirical study examines this argument about globalisation through questionnaires and interviews. A comparison is drawn between two groups: globalised houses is the first group, which reflects globalisation’s impacts on architecture, where this provides easier ways to specify features, elements and specifications for the era. In contrast, the non-globalised sample is the opposite of the first group, because it reflects the features of houses without the impacts of globalisation. Ultimately, the findings indicated that there are differences between the two groups. Both samples occurred in the same place and time, but the form of architecture and urban design has affected human behaviour. Thus, this study suggests a paradigm that could provide more humanitarian elements in architecture and urban design. It also suggests some general recommendations supporting human needs, and local considerations such as standards and codes.
Boudiaf, Bouzid (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
Architecture has been pushed towards the realms of theorization, conceptualization and design methodologies. It is apparent that design is becoming interrupted and more associated with the manufacturing of ideas. It has lost its essence as a phenomenon whose roots are embedded in history and man’s relationship with his specific habitat. Hence, the aim of the thesis is to redirect architectural attention to Ecology and its various implications on design. The study puts forward the notion that human achievements are an outcome of the interaction between ecology, Culture and Cognitive Structure. These relationships are thought to set the principles behind environmental qualities of stability, compatibility and fitness. Once designers arrive at an understanding of these principles, they will be able to manipulate their design ideas to accommodate ever changing circumstances of their physical and cultural environments. The title “Physical, cultural and cognitive interactions in the conception and the production of the built environment” implies a significant theme which could indicate major traits that characterize modern practices and theorisation within the area of Architectural and Environmental Design Studies. In this work, it will be seen why and how: First, a lack of consideration for the physical environment, its requirements and its role in producing diversified architectural forms. The most significant outcome of a such position lies in divorcing nature, its laws and the ecosystems on which man has spent the preceding history elaborating building patterns on the basis of utilising them for his interest free of charge and without consequences to his survival. The fact is that different cultures, ways of life and differentiated built environments, which can only be attributed to man’s adaptation to different ecological conditions, have been widely swept away under the mythical notion of “International style”. Second, because the architects and theorists of the contemporary architecture admire mental constructions and abstract philosophies of their own, they have advocated an alien and distorted meaning of the concept of culture. The most likely interpretation of this vital concept is that it is viewed as related to a kind of abstract intellectual capacity in the human brain that does not lend itself to variation in the physical setting. Tragically, the adoption of such view has resulted in sweeping away subcultures which have been developed in remote areas in accordance with their geographical setting. The most acceptable meaning of culture has been to imply the role of physical environment in shaping social relations, the modes of thought, norms, beliefs, ways of life, the ideologies and the total range of customary behaviour, all of which have been influenced by people’s adaptation to their environment. Therefore, building forms, patterns of growth, town morphology, in short, architectural phenomenon, has, like culture, evolved characteristics from its natural habitat. We now often observe that such an argument is totally diminishing in the present architecture and in the environmental activities of those in charge. Third, the interruption of continuity and flow of human cognitive knowledge by introducing techniques and thoughts whose practical values, aesthetical capacities and meanings do not correspond with people’s knowledge of the environment, building behaviour or activities associated with the history of people’s relation to their own habitat. This work is structured in two main parts; the first one will deal with the contribution of the different disciplines such as Ecology, Culture, Economy, Psychology, Architecture and Urban Design from the theoretical point of view in the development of the different concepts. In the second part, we will discuss the impact of these disciplines on the production of our built environment and we will end up by suggesting a model highlighting the interactions of these disciplines in the evaluation and the production of our built environment through a chosen case study which is Algiers. The main methods used in this study are: Descriptive for the first part which is dealing with the review of the current literature on Ecology, Culture and Cognition; Analytic for the proposed model and the case study; the third method is predictive and concerns the last part of this work.
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