Architecture, DesignMENA Summit, Heritage, Middle East, UAE

Using heritage as part of architectural language will be discussed during designMENA Summit 2017

The first panel discussion taking place at the 2017 designMENA Summit will look at how architects today are- or should be- reverting back to creating an urban landscape with contextual and heritage-driven sensibility.

The past few decades redefined the built environment of the Middle East, particularly the Gulf states, with a sudden construction boom that has given way to what many regard as an ‘urban metropolis’, complete with glass skyscrapers and other such constructions.

And while these have come to be defined as ‘global’ or even ‘modern’ architecture, it can be argued that this rush to build has missed the mark in terms of mindfulness of context and heritage.

Today, we can see a growing number of projects across the Middle East attempting to express a sense of cultural heritage through the integration of native cultural motifs and elements of vernacular architectural forms.

Further still, a number of projects are underway to preserve and restore culturally and historically significant buildings and sites that are part of the cultural identity and DNA of these countries and their people.

However, identifying cultural heritage and incorporating it in designs is much more than just including overtly Islamic or Arab design motifs (the mashrabiya pattern is a commonly overused example).

The panel at designMENA Summit will explore how designers and architects can work towards correctly and truly reinterpreting the Middle East’s cultural heritage and indigenous architectural roots through authentic design.

Taking part in this panel is Rashad Bukhash, chairman at UAE Architectural Heritage Society; Lulie Fisher, design director and founder at Lulie Fisher Design Studio; Maja Kozel, founder of Maja Kozel Design; Janan Habib, managing director and architect at Habib Associates; and Ahmed Bukhash, chief architect and founder of Archidentity.  Read full agenda of designMENA Summit 2017 here. 

The keynote speaker at this year’s Summit is Minsuk Cho, founder and architect at South Korean firm Mass Studies.

Related story: Six projects by architect Minsuk Cho that redefines South Korea’s contemporary architecture