Sustainable Architecture in the United Arab Emirates: Past and Present
Planning for Sustainable Development
Paper presented to
CAA-IIA International Conference on Urbanisation and Housing
2-5 October 1997
GOA - India
This paper compares aspects of sustainability in vernacular and modern architecture in the United Arab Emirates. In vernacular architecture, sustainability is manifested in the design of buildings, use of materials, environmental and social consciousness. There are indeed many lessons to be learned from vernacular architecture in the area. On the other hand, aspects of sustainability are absent from almost all modern buildings in the region for many reasons: rapid development, use of foreign materials, design methods, and construction systems all contribute to the absence of sustainability in modern buildings. Yet, an important aspect contributing to this situation is absence of building codes and regulations enforcing sustainability in the design and construction of buildings.
The aim of this paper is to illustrate aspects of sustainability in vernacular architecture compared to absence of sustainability in modern buildings in the region and discuss prospects of boosting awareness on several levels. To achieve sustainability in future buildings and environments sustainability should be introduced on the following levels:
1. Building codes and regulations
2. Building construction systems and materials
3. Undergraduate and graduate education
4. Design methods and community participation
The paper concludes with recommendations and proposals to amplify awareness and implementation of sustainability measures in the design, construction, and education of architecture in the region.