Interviewed by Ahmad Zohadi
Architect, Founder and Partner of DAO_dar al omran architects
Buildings are a basic part of the urban community. In order for these buildings to be sustainable they have to interact with the social, economic, and physical aspects of this community. The architectural design of these buildings has to respond to the local needs and reflect an understanding for the particularities of the location and its culture. Sustainability is attained creative and innovative solutions utilizing local and/ or new materials. The building that we are trying to achieve is a result of the rational interaction with the nature of the site, its topography, climate and its social particularities. This without imposing unnecessarily complicated or arbitrary forms that add a visual chaos to the city and becomes a burden on its residence. Sustainability in architectural design is not slogan you paste on a building or a material you add on the elevations at the last stages of construction or a form that one can choose as some may think. Sustainability is a way of thinking and working that requires going back to the true roots of architecture that should be applied from the first stage of design as well as the functional use of the building. The topography of the site as well as the sun movement and prevailing wind direction is the starting point at the concept stage of the design in parallel with the space requirement. It is from this starting point that an understanding of where to locate openings and allow for circulation within a building can be developed in a way that will reduce energy consumption and benefit as much as possible from passive heating and cooling techniques; all while still maintaining considerations of function. For a design to be truly successful it needs to carefully balance the requirement of sustainability as well as functionality, ensuring that neither is given more weight over the other. A building that dose not fulfill it required function can be considered a failure, just as one that is not sustainably designed. Sustainable design needs to strike a balance between physical and functional considerations (tangible) and the psychological and emotional aspects of design (intangible) that contribute positively to enriching imagination stimulating positive interaction with the space. This can be governed through the designer’s manipulation of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ spaces in order to heighten the user’s experience of a particular place in terms of its aesthetics, built environment and micro-climate.
© Interviewed by 2A Magazine, Summer 2015