The holy month of Ramadan is, of course, a crucial part of the year in the Middle East.
The holy month of Ramadan is, of course, a crucial part of the year in the Middle East. The most obvious manifestation of this special time is the importance placed on fasting. However, as a Westerner living in Dubai, seeing the honouring of Ramadan in action has taught me to consider thinking about a different meaning of 'fast'.
What Ramadan means to each person will vary, but I think one we'd all agree on is that Ramadan teaches the virtue of patience. And that's a virtue that we often forget, especially in an industry and a region where all the emphasis is on the newest and the quickest.
During an interview, Emirati architect Omran Al Owais pointed out,"Dubai is moving in a way that we're always forgetting about the past and looking for something new. We always want to go to a new shopping centre. And if there isn't one, we don't know where to go."
While there's a focus on getting things done as quickly as possible, it's patience that pays off in the long run. The Burj Dubai has been under development since 2003 and is still a reasonable way off completion-but when it's done, it'll be the envy of the world. That goes for many other projects in the Middle East. Madinat al Hareer in Kuwait won't be ready until 2030, an almost unimaginable amount of time for the industry. But if it works, it'll help redefine the region.
It's human nature to want new and shiny things as soon as possible, but in architecture, patience is very much a virtue. Whether you are fasting this month or not, let's hope we all remember that rushing something important is a sure-fire way to spoil it.
Ramadan Kareem to all our readers.
James Boley is the assistant editor of Commercial Outdoor Design & Middle East Architect.