On the Genesis of Arab Muslim Urbanism, I will utilize the model he developed by combining two different analytical systems and theories of urban design to read and classify the urban form of Masdar City. Genealogy When compared to other architects and firms who designed plans for cities in the Middle East and North Africa during the postcolonial period, Norman Foster seems to be doing something that few others have achieved. Contrary to the myth of the autonomous architect, starchitects [sic] seemed to be greatly and unwittingly influenced by local political and symbolic structures that had evolved to justify family-sate 41 Ahmed Kanna, Dubai, the City as Corporation, By thinking of the Middle East and North Africa region as a monolithic, homogeneous society, Foster and Partners are repeating many of the same dreadful gaffes and perpetuating the same harmful stereotypes that their European forefathers committed. Old Cairo and Muscat as sources of inspiration for their designs of the new city and its architecture.

On the Genesis of Arab Muslim Urbanism. Notice the platform that the buildings rest upon and the multiple levels of undercroft spaces, subdivided by function. How does Masdar compare to old pre-colonial Cairo, then, another one of the cities that Foster and Partners studied as part of their research and one that is more well known fig. Now it’s low carbon. Reception and Concluding Remarks…………………………… Palgrave Macmillan, ,

Building and Planning Principles. Concept Media,7.

masdar city dissertation

The Case of the Muslim City Singapore: Finally, it is the physical form and the functional form that, together, account for urban form fig. Urban Structure Framework Plan fig. While there is good reason for adapting some of the designs of these old cities as they were able to stay cool in the inhospitable heat of the desert sun before the advent of modern climate control, it is important to remain aware of the fact that the contemporary city of Abu Dhabi has nothing in common with the old cities of the Arab-Islamic world, something that Foster and Partners and their patrons seem to be conflating.


An Experiment in Rural Egypt. They even both are drawn to experimenting with wind-catchers to passively regulate temperature. This type of zoning is a condition that is shared by many other cities around the world Los Angeles is the first that comes to mindand it engenders unnecessary sprawl and an inefficient use of land and resources, both of which are contrary to the founding principles of Masdar.

(PDF) Masdar City: Oriental City of the Twenty-First Century | Riad Kherdeen –

The Case of the Muslim City. On the Architecture and Urbanism of the Colonial Experience, ed.

masdar city dissertation

The financial crisis of and certainly played an important role in this predicament, but this is actually part of a greater problem posing an existential threat to Masdar.

In addition, Foster and Partners deliberately minimized the amount of glazing on each building by about thirty percent, with more glazing positioned on the bottom of the buildings than on the top as there is more shade toward the bottom. Kevin 91 Patrick Kingsley, “Masdar: Essays on Postmodern Culture, edited by Hal Foster, Implementation and a Critical Analysis of Masdar Construction of Masdar City officially began inbut as of the writing of this paper, less than five percent of the total six square kilometer site has been built.

Masdar City: A Dream of the sustainable city | Daniels

In agreeing to work for the government of Abu Dhabi, Foster had to be willing to comply with, if not support, their insistence upon this constructed narrative of a local architectural mode, thereby putting Foster at odds with Le Corbusier and Niemeyer. While all cities have their own idiosyncrasies, Shibam is particularly anomalous in its topology and morphology.

In the plan currently in use today fig. Greenwood Press, Importantly, sustainability also implies a way of building that is sensitive to its location and the culture that has shaped it. Whether or not they realize this, the consequences of this lingering Orientalist mentality and perception continue to negatively effect the people living in this part of the world. Plan Abu Dhabi They decided to elevate the entire city 7.


Even on the surface, it is possible to see the effects that this has had — hastily completed projects exhibit unresolved details and show signs of wear after a very short time. While Shibam and Muscat another city they studied are indeed on the Gulf peninsula just like Abu Dhabi, those much older cities have very different social, cultural, economic, and political histories, all of which have been woven into their respective urban fabrics over considerable expanses of time.

Lynne Rienner Publishers, Other materials such as enameled glass mawdar used as well. Aarhus University Press, Thus, we must continue looking for possible genealogical links so as to situate Masdar City within the broader discourse of recent urbanism in the MENA region.

Foster and Partners, during the time of their work on Masdar City, also masdarr the new Central Market as a replacement of Abu oldest cigy in Abu Dhabi fig.

Masdar City: A Dream of the sustainable city

Though it may be just a single example, there are many more that attest to the fact that Foster and Partners are attuned, in certain ways, to the local massar environment and are more interested in developing solutions to meet these conditions instead of forcing the urban form of a Cigy onto the desert landscape of Masdar.

This is visible in the infrared image of Abu Dhabi with all of the blue around the buildings.

Photographs by Riad Kherdeen. All of these systems have been meticulously designed and engineered to passively i.

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