Thursday, 30 December 2010

Garbage Dreams

Garbage dreams: a beautiful documentary on an ugly subject: three teenagers work form morning to night collecting garbage in Cairo, Egypt, and recycling it at the Zabaleen city. Documentary's reviews are praising the broadness of the approach from the teenagers' dream to the condition of these workers, to the globalization effect on the industry to a society that turns away from some sour issues.
It has won many awards and should be a good documentary to watch.
web site link

Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Interactive, reactive, responsive: kisskissbankbank is a web stage for those with projects and no funds, and those willing to donate small amounts to support a project.  

Projects that have reached their total goals in fund raising were: 
Music: first album by the group twenty one cigarettes
Travel: and sketch a travel dairy to be published
Video clip: for the never ending song by Faustine Seilman
and many more

New talent can find a way to make their dream come true.
It looks promising.

do we have anything like that in the arab world?

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Kuwait donates to the Institut du Monde Arabe - Paris

The Kuwaiti Ambassador to France and Dominique Baudis, director of IMA
photo by the institut du monde arabe
A generous act: 3 million euros from the state of Kuwait to the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris given in october 2010. There is no doubt that Kuwait can achieve a lot in promoting art and culture from the Arab world. The IMA has a simple function: show the French and the Western world what the Arab world stands for in creativity, history, music, arts, archeology, cinema, and many more. Their other function is interactivity and understanding.
Kuwait participates actively in that sector with their benevolent gesture.
But how can one reconcile that act with the fact that the Architectural school at Kuwait University does not have a budget for their library?
What is considered more important: public image for the outside world or nourishing creativity within?

Sunday, 26 December 2010

a library in kuwait is looking for books

A cry form the heart: They need books.
What better donation in the spirit of giving during the year end holidays:
books for the architecture library at the university of Kuwait!
as Cicero said:
"A room without books is like a body without soul"

But it might actually be easier to make a wish list on amazon and an another account for transport (aramex or dhl), where we could donate according to needs on a web click basis.
Or maybe push some architectural firms in Kuwait to get involved in some CSR work and donate books for the library rather than focusing only on building skyscrapers and pushing the skyline just a bit higher on the horizon.
There should be ways to spread books for those who want them!!!
Give your old books away, you will gain space for new ones...

"Our little library is despaired at the fact that it wasn’t able to provide any new books this semester for our eager students so we need all the help that we can get. 

I know how much you all love reading so if you’re anything like us then I’m assuming there must be some uneaten, unwanted or worn out book here or there collecting dust on a shelf, under your bed or hidden in a cupboard.

Help us by donating the books you don’t wanna read anymore which we will be recycling to get new books. 
If you’re interested please send us an email at Alternatively you can call us at 2-498-5261. Our working hours are from 8:00am to 2:15pm. Please note you might not get an answer during the following days and times (our little librarian runs around doing other missions): Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday from 10 to 11 am
Hope to hear from you soon 
Architectural Learning Resource Center (ALRC) 
Office: 2-498-5261 "

Friday, 24 December 2010

Agha Khan Awards for Architecture - Chandgoan mosque - Bangladesh

This shortlisted project in bangladesh did not make it to the best five; however the concept of such a clean cut mosque gives an edge to what is usually built in the islamic world.
The tendency for mosques today follows often a trend to emphasize devotion through opulent ornementations and blown out of proportion perspectives to show grandeur.
Examples of such architecture are the Sheikh Zayed mosque in AbuDhabi, the unfinished mosque of Saddam in Baghdad or the Blue mosque of Hariri in Beirut
The Chandgaon mosque is an innovation in the third world to consider simplicity as a measure of beauty yet an aspiration for spiritual connection.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Agha Khan Awards for Architecture - the Green School

photos by the Agha Khan awards for Architecture
The Green School in Bali, Indonesia was shortlisted for the Agha Khan Awards for Architecture but did not make it to the top five. It must be difficult to choose among many great projects, but this one is worth the interest.
The school takes a holistic angle of what teachings can be. Based on sustainability, first the building material uses a locally grown bamboo that fits the climate and helps the local farmers. Energy is produced by alternatie sources including a bamboo sawdust hot water and cooking system, a hydro-powered vortex generator and solar panels. In an effort to give students a hands on experience, each student has a small part of the garden to grow vegetables and send it to the kitchen for their lunch. Their curriculum caters for today's need to be at par but brings also a valuable understanding of what needs to be done in the future.
In their website they posted a quote of the week:
"Tell me and I'll forget, Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." Native American saying

Link to their website
Link to the Agha Khan Awards for Architecture

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Agha khan Architecture Award - Revitalisation of the Recent Heritage of Tunis

The last of the five projects awarded by the Agha Khan was for the revitalisation of the Recent Heritage of Tunis, spearheaded by the Association de Sauvegarde de la Medina de Tunis (ASM).
It chose to look at recent buildings form the 19th and 20th century and consider it as valuable although it has a diversity of styles, form art deco, to art nouveau to pastiches of classic.
There is a fundamental questioning on what is old, how old is old and why do we need to value it, to restore it, to preserve it, to revive it.
What does history gives us?

In Kuwait, there is another type of relation with old buildings. The general trend forgoes the past: New is better as old is a reminder of difficult times. A committee is trying to work on preserving old buildings, some individuals choose to live in old houses. But it might be too late!

photos by the Agha Khan Awards for Architecture

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sunny Art Fair in Amman - Jordan

Until the 18th of December, Amman is hosting the first contemporary art fair in Jordan. Great initiative, specially that efforts in the art world of Middle east are usually focused on locations where the buyers are more than where the artists produce.

Selection of artists and local gallery show a depth in works and maturity in the productions.

The lectures and the debates have interesting titles and could be of value.
It must have been a magnet to attract art lovers and connoisseurs away from the other event concurrently in the region "the opening of the Mathaf", the New Art Museum in Qatar. Sure, the Qatar event made the headlines of CNN about nudity and controversy. However the Amman show is a real live interactive production!

link to the Sunny Art fair Web site

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Agha khan Architecture Award - Ikepoyl textile factory in Turkey

The next Agha Khan Award for architecture was given to the Ipekyol textile factory in Turkey, Erdine, west of Istambul at the edge of the European frontier. The corporate group chose to invest in good, well thought of architecture with design by Emre Arolat and build a pleasant environment for workers and staff to produce better.
Space, light, recreation, cafeteria, all the elements needed for the employees are provide. The staff is not even in the creative realm, they are behind their machines, producing women's cloths on a production line. Now that is an interesting thought for the underdeveloped world, filled with sweatshops and dirty dark factories.
The whole atmosphere might be overboard for what a textile factory should or need to be. Did anyone look at profits, margins, returns on investment? They must have: Ipekoyl is brand with a vision and targets to be on the top of their market. If you ever find an Ipekoyl store during your travels: remember: they value details down to the architecture of their factory so their cloths must be worth looking at!

(photos by the Agha Khan Awards for Architecture)

Monday, 13 December 2010

Agha khan Architecture Award - Madinat al Zahra Museum Spain

The next Agha Khan award for architecture was given to the Museum in Madinat al Zahra, Cordoba, Spain. It was completed in 2008 and designed by Sobejano Architects, Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano. As they have said: “ We took the foot print of three ancient city and incorporated a new building around it. It is a relationship between contemporary architecture and the historic city, more of dialogue.”
A clean cut feel, with white cement walls. Simple but vast in its volume and space. Patio and courtyards intergrate all the light possible.
It is always a bet and a challenge to be so contemporary. The real judge will be the surviving effect of time.

photos by the Agha Khan Awards for Architecture

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Aga Khan Architecture awards - Wadi Hanifa in Saudi Arabia

The next Agha Khan award for architecture was given to the wetlands of Wadi Hanifa on the largest river next to Riyadh
Over 120 km, the Wadi was a dump, neglected for decades. The authorities decided to implement a change. With the help of  Moriyama & Teshina planners from Canada and Buro Happold, the Wadi since 2001 is on a rebirth mode. Alive.
The wetlands were designed to become a recreational area, it allowed the enhancement of agricultural land, and it has biological treatment plant to purify the water.
If all dumps were turned into gardens, would that make planet earth happier?

Photos provided by the Agha Khan Architecture awards
Link to the website

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Agha khan Architecture Award - Bridge school in China

An Agha Khan award was given to a chinese Architect, Li Xiaodang for his "Bridge school" in Fujian province in Xiashi, a village crossed by a river.
A bridge school is simple steel structure over a river. As Xiaodang says: "minimum intervention for maximum impact". The aim was to rejuvenate the village, give a new breath to the tiny primary school. On a 200 sq meters, the school can be totally opened up or sealed up. Wood is the material used for the surface, a sustainable and easily replaced medium. The school of two classrooms has become a playground for the kids.
That looks like a creative solution for low cost and effective architecture for the future.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Dance Africa Dance - festival in Bamako Mali

LINK TO a France 24 report (8min 39')

Dance Arabs Dance,
Enough of talking, arguing, attacking, revolting, justifying, victimizing, repressing, censoring, suicide bombing, destructing...
Take a look, Arabs, at our brothers in Africa during the dance festival in Bamako.
And get down to business:
Dance Arabs Dance