Experts urge against purely iconic architecture

Architects and sustainability experts have asked that Dubai concentrate less on iconic buildings and more on overall projects.

Architects and sustainability experts have asked that Dubai concentrate less on iconic buildings and more on overall projects.

Speaking at Construction Week's Building Sustainability in the Middle East conference on May 29, 2008, leading architect Hazel Wong said, "Dubai is too focused on individual buildings and projects. That's very dangerous. We need to do things in context."

She argued that while iconic architecture does have a place, Dubai should look to creating more sustainable buildings throughout the emirate. She also suggested that sustainable buildings could be attractive. "Aesthetics are about having a place within nature, rather than fighting it," she said.

Her views were echoed by Dr. Sadek Owainati, founder and chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC). "Icons put us on the map, but we really need to develop the rest of the cities," he said.

Michael Nates, senior general manager for sustainability, health & safety and environment at Nakheel, said that buildings needed to be designed more for the people who live in them. "Buildings need to be hardwired to encourage certain behaviours," he said. "Making icons functional can be very challenging."

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