005 JUNE 2014
INSIGHT AND ANALYSIS FOR CONSTRUCTION SPECIALISTS FEATURE
Exploring the enigmatic world of cost consultants P.26
Dubai’s newest, biggest and greenest mosque in Deira
Tom Bower, WSP’s Middle East MD, on his evolving career and faith in the digital revolution PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
SHAPING CITYSCAPES ACROSS THE WORLD
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005 JUNE 2014 IN PRACTICE COMPANY NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND INTERVIEWS
IN THEORY DEBATE, RESEARCH, AND FUTURE POSSIBILITIES
How education design needs to consider the needs of children
Exploring the exact role and importance of cost consultants
Caroline Lewis-O’Halloran on clear communication
SEED Engineering strives to think outside the MEP box
GET TO KNOW
ON SITE EXPLORING GREAT PROJECTS IN THE REGION AND BEYOND
Sanctuary Falls, the exuberant villa project attracting the stars
Discovering Dubai’s largest and greenest mosque in Deira
Siddharth Mathur, design director for Studio Lumen, on unbiased lighting design
Tom Bower, MD of WSP Middle East, on his technical journey
Maintaining a hygienic environment with smart design
RTKL wins mall contract, Atkins moves forward in KSA and Meraas signs with Bulgari
MAF Properties achieves UAE’s greenest retrofit
Olive-themed restaurant takes root in Bahrain
New appointments, awards and dates for the diary
ON THE RADAR
Fixing London’s ‘Walkie Scorchie’ and tilting in Chicago
DAY IN THE LIFE
Jagmeet Bola, senior architect and masterplanner, JRHP
You’ll find this issue littered with the ‘s’ word. It’s something we hear on a daily basis in the construction industry and its utterance makes many people grimace. Sustainability.
Having been a construction journalist for six years in Dubai, I often feel like I’m listening to a broken record. “Sustainability makes operational sense”, “we need to conserve resources”, “green will save money in the long run” are all statements I’ve heard repeatedly in countless seminars, roundtables and interviews. We all know they are correct, and there is little room for debate. Yet, as this month’s issue shows, there are question marks over the regional market’s adoption of sustainability.
Our cover story interviewee, Tom Bower of WSP, told me that sustainability is increasingly on the agenda for clients; on the other end of the spectrum, Sanu Mathew of SEED Engineering believes that it is not truly being adopted. You could argue that both views have validity, yet one takes the ‘glass half full’ view and the other is ‘glass half empty’. Let’s look at the positives. As this month’s site visit shows, there is now a mosque in Dubai which is on course for LEED Silver status. Given that it is backed by a government foundation, AMAF, the green mosque is a huge step forward and a strong statement of intent. We have also written a story on the LEED EBOM retrofit on Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ headquarters. This is another signal that major developers in the Middle East are fully aware of the social responsibility and operational benefits attached to green buildings. While I believe it won’t be long before energy and water-efficient buildings are commonplace, I feel it will take time for cities like Dubai to offer a truly green lifestyle. Until we have a fully-integrated countrywide public transport network and widespread recycling facilities, we’ll be unable to use the ‘s’ word with pride.
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RMJM JOINS FORCES WITH TURKEY’S TÜMAŞ GLOBAL FIRM’S PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL PRACTICE STRENGHTENS TURKISH TIES Architecture and planning group RMJM has signed an MoU with Tümaş, an engineering and consulting company based in Turkey. The MoU will act as a foundation from which the companies will jointly pursue major projects throughout Turkey, the Middle East and Europe. Best known in this region for designing Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, RMJM has experienced much-publicised financial issues
and has undergone a restructuring programme. Although it remains open, the company’s Dubai office faced legal action over unpaid salaries. In February 2014, RMJM announced the opening of five new offices in China, Pakistan, Bolivia and South Africa, which are locally led regional partner studios. RMJM has been active in Turkey for over 15 years with an office in Istanbul since 2009. One of its signature projects is the
Metropol Istanbul, a mixed use scheme with a 300m-tall tower, retail and office space. Established in 1969, Tümaş offers engineering, infrastructure design and consultancy services and has delivered a broad range of projects for the Turkish government, the European Union, the World Bank, Saudi Fund for Development and the Islamic Development Fund. The MoU was signed at an event at the British Embassy in Turkey.
Commenting on the event, Harry Downie, CEO of RMJM International, stated: “We are particularly proud to sign this new agreement with Tümaş. “RMJM’s designs are already transforming the Atashehir district in Istanbul.” Downie added: “The Turkish economy is particularly strong and Turkish influence and expertise is spreading throughout the region. We look ahead with great optimism and confidence.”
MY 5 CENTS
“The key for any good logistics hub is connectivity provided through multimodal networks. To a certain extent, the ports and industrial zones in the GCC have suffered from the lack of planning for a comprehensive rail network. The landscape of the region will change when you have increased connectivity.” ARI ALI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORT PLANNING, ATKINS
DATES FOR THE DIARY JUNE 2, DWTC Hospital Build & Infrastructure Middle East www.hospitalbuild-me.com
NEW LOCAL HEALTHCARE BOSS FOR AECOM
FOSTER PICKS UP TWO AWARDS IN A MONTH
Claes Johansson has joined AECOM as healthcare leader, Middle East, assuming responsibility for the firm’s healthcare and science offering throughout the region. Johansson joins AECOM from Skanska Infrastructure Development, where he led the construction team for the largest hospital project in Europe, the New Karolinska University Hospital. Based in Abu Dhabi, Johansson joins an AECOM healthcare team which has delivered Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, providing commercial management, cost consultancy, full building engineering and LEED advisory services. Johansson commented: “I am joining AECOM at a very exciting time. “With the GCC’s total healthcare expenditure forecast to triple and reach $133 billion by 2018, we will be focusing on further developing our profile and building our pipeline of projects.”
Lord Norman Foster, chairman of Foster + Partners, picked up a brace of awards in May – the Gold Medal of La Fondation du Mérite Européen (the European Merit Foundation) and the inaugural Isamu Noguchi Award. The first accolade recognises the services of an individual to Europe. It was presented by Jacques Santer, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, during a ceremony at the Salle da Vinci of the Ordre des Architectes et des Ingenieus-Conseils (OAI) in Luxembourg City. Later in the month, Foster and artist Hiroshi Sugimoto were presented with the Isamu Noguchi Award at the Noguchi Museum’s annual Spring Benefit in New York. The award has been established by the Noguchi Museum to recognise individuals that share the JapaneseAmerican artist’s commitment to innovation. Continuing the successful month, Lord Foster’s firm was also recently crowned the UK’s biggest architecture practice for a third year in a row in a survey by The Architects’ Journal.
2 – 4, Qatar National Exhibition Centre Cityscape Qatar www.cityscapeqatar.com 12 – 14, DWTC Indian Property Show www.indianproperty show.com/dubai SEPTEMBER 21 – 23, DWTC Cityscape Global www.cityscapeglobal.com 2 – 30, DWTC The Hotel Show www.thehotelshow.com OCTOBER 20 – 22, Dubai MENA Rail and Metro Summit www.meed.com/events 26 – 28, Al Bustan Palace, Muscat Oman Projects Forum 2014 www.meed.com/events
SWELLING DWELLINGS RIYADH RESIDENTIAL SUPPLY (2012-2016)
COMPLETED STOCK (NUMBER OF UNITS IN 1,000S)
19 936 909 944 956
37 993 2016
SOURCE: JLL, Q1 2014
MAF PROPERTIES ACHIEVES UAE’S GREENEST RETROFIT DEVELOPER’S HQ TOWER WINS GOLD RATING IN LEED EBOM The headquarters of Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Majid Al Futtaim Tower 2, has become the first UAE building to achieve LEED Gold for the operation and maintenance of existing buildings (LEED EBOM). Environmental impact was assessed at the end of 2013 and improvements were measured in comparison to a baseline rating established in 2009. Initiatives included installing motion detectors for lighting control in non-operational common areas; regulating water flow rate to reduce wastage through motion detecting taps; and fault detection systems to identify and repair leakages. The building achieved 100% water efficiency on fixtures and water performance measurement. It also scored the maximum
‘innovation in operations’ credits through reduction of mercury in lamps, solid waste durable goods, reduction of heat island, and green building education of suppliers and staff. Waste recycling divergence averaged 68% for the year during the performance period. Speaking to Middle East Consultant, Ibrahim Zu’bi, head of sustainability at MAF Properties, revealed that the LEED EBOM requirements were exceeded in a number of areas, such as the reduction in the consumption of water and energy, and the increase in waste recycling, as validated by Jones Lang LaSalle. Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ investment was said to be low as the focus was on managing resources and operations rather than just
conducting replacements. The investment was recovered in one year and incremental savings were achieved within the second year. Zu’bi believes government regulations are needed to make other developers follow suit. “Sustainability has been embedded in our business for a long time and we have our own regulations that are in line with international best practice. We are calling for firmer government sustainability regulations in the region.” He continued: “In fact, we have been promoting the development of region-specific sustainability standards and certifications, and are ready to share our expertise or take part in supporting such a project financially.” Majid Al Futtaim Properties has invested more than $6.8m over the
past three years in improving the water and energy efficiency of its various buildings. In September 2013, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates was the first hotel in the Middle East and North Africa to achieve LEED EBOM certification and only the second building in the UAE to win LEED Gold accreditation. At the same time, City Centre, Fujairah became the first building in Fujairah to achieve LEED Gold accreditation and City Centre, Beirut received LEED Silver accreditation. “Currently Majid Al Futtaim Tower 1 is under review for LEED Commercial Interiors following recent refurbishments on the sixth floor, occupied by Majid Al Futtaim, including restroom facilities,” added Zu’bi.
THOMAS KLEIN INTERNATIONAL REVEALS FRESH RESTAURANT DESIGN LEBANESE CHAIN DECKED OUT WITH OLIVE WOOD VENEER, CONCRETE AND GRANITE Restaurant consultant Thomas Klein International (TKI) has been commissioned to create a new look and feel for the interiors of Zayt Zaytoon, a Lebanese food chain based in Manama, Bahrain. The UAE-based consultant’s designs will be used for Zayt Zaytoon’s new outlets, which are due to open later this year, while three existing restaurants will later be converted to comply with the new design guidelines. “We spent enormous amounts of time analysing the Zayt Zaytoon brand to create a fresh new image that reflects the brand values: freshness of products, quality,
transparency in the production methods and most importantly, tradition,” explained Daniel During, principal and managing director of TKI. Although certain elements of the previous design have been retained – to keep a “subliminal link” in the current clients’ minds – the new visuals move away from a “cartoonish” approach, according to During. “The new design focuses more on the roots of the brands than in its existing format,” he added. “The existing design has cartoons of the cultivation of the olive trees and the production
of the olive oil, but with the new look we decided to go back into the roots directly and avoid the cartoonish approach that has been already widely utilised by other brands.” The main wall in the new design contains a huge photographic image of an olive tree as a full wall covering, combining modern imagery with tradition. Granite stone disks, actually used for the pressing of olives, have been imported and are featured on the wall between the olive trees print. Olive wood veneer is used as table tops to complete the circle. The olive theme is continued in
the colour and the material palette is composed of raw materials such as concrete floors, olive trees slabs and granite stone. An installation of hand blown-glass in tones of green hovers above the central tables and serves as a light feature. Established in 2001, TKI has offices in Madrid, Chicago and Buenos Aires, in addition to its Dubai headquarters. Its team serves the hospitality sector, including hotels, restaurants, spas and retail. It has completed restaurant projects in JLT, Dubai, as well as more unexpected destinations such as Khartoum in Sudan.
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RTKL WINS DESIGN CONTRACT FOR THE REEM MALL IN ABU DHABI
ITALIAN ARCHITECTS TO WORK ON MERAAS’ BULGARI HOTEL
Having been stalled during the financial crisis, The Reem Mall in Abu Dhabi has received a new lease of life following the appointment of RTKL as design consultants. Developed by National Real Estate Company (NREC), the project is expected to launch in 2018, with construction beginning by early 2015. The US$1bn project will include 450 stores, 85 restaurants
Meraas Holding has signed a deal with Bulgari Hotels and Resorts to open Dubai’s first Bulgari-branded hotel, designed by Italian firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners. The project sits on a 15.8ha site on Meraas’ seahorse-shaped Jumeirah Bay Island offshore from Jumeirah Beach Road. The hotel will have 100 rooms and suites as well as 20 villas.
and a variety of family-focused entertainment offerings. “The Reem Mall will feature a fresh take on retail in Abu Dhabi. The concept combines local and global influences to create a design that will serve as a centerpiece for the entire community,” said Nick Guy, associate director at RTKL. RTKL’s regional retail portfolio includes Kuwait’s 360 Mall and Mirdif City Centre in Dubai.
Jumeirah Bay Island will also feature low-rise residential villas and a marina. This will be the fifth Bulgaribranded hotel, following earlier launches in Milan (2004), Bali (2006), London (2012), and a Shanghai property (due 2015). Based in Milan, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners provides architecture and interior and product design.
ATKINS’ PRINCE SULTAN CULTURAL CENTRE KICKS OFF IN JEDDAH Prince Sultan Cultural Centre, a mixed-use masterplanning project which will provide housing for 15,000 people in Jeddah, has been officially inaugurated. Located in Obhur, north of Jeddah City, the project masterplan has been designed by Atkins to stimulate ‘social wellness’ in addition to promoting physical and mental wellbeing. From any location within the development, users will be less than a five minute walk from green open space. A cultural centre celebrating Arabia’s past, present and future will be located in the heart of the development, with construction set to begin later this year.
Cranleigh School - Abu Dhabi, UAE
WHAT WE DO.
ARCHITECTURE INTERIOR DESIGN MEP
Hotel & Resort . Interior Design . Mixed-Use & Masterplanning . Commercial Residential . Education . Sports & Leisure . Public Sector & Institutional
UAE . OMAN . QATAR . KSA . UK +971 4 323 7555
Communication is key for doing business in the Middle East A punch on the nose. That is communication stripped down to the basics, but the elements of communication are all there. The message is clear; the sender formatted it for clarity; he knows it arrived. The intended recipient was fully aware he received it; the message was clear to him; and critically, the communication involved people.
At the corporate level, the delivery of a message and its content with such perfect clarity is often difficult. In extreme cases, the lack of understanding can lead to serious legal consequences. When communication works well, however, it gets results. Communications at work were instrumental in bringing one of the world’s most famous buildings into being. Between 1991 and 1996, a competition was held to design what is now known as Emirates Towers. Architect Hazel Wong won, and Hyder saw this as an opportunity to diversify its transport and water engineering business. Having been delivered on time and on budget, there were five key elements to its success. Firstly, clarity – the project vision was clear; we all knew what we were doing and why. Secondly, collaboration – the site-based team had full autonomy, responsibility and decision-making powers. There was also leadership; the project managers, Turner, had control of the budget and the programme. Integration was the fourth element; the contractors were involved early on in the design process. Finally there was excellence – the client allowed the team time and funding to investigate, assimilate and deliver excellent solutions to the challenges presented. It is probably no surprise to learn that our client was His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose vision of excellence is world-renowned. The homily “if you can meet, don’t call; if you can call, don’t email” is usually more honoured in the breaking than the observance, especially with the advent of social media. It offers many benefits in connecting people, but it also removes that all-important people interface. That face-to-face element is always
important and many times more so in a Middle Eastern environment. One simply cannot get by without coffee and conversation. I represented the Middle East Association at Opportunity Arabia 10, held at Manchester United’s Old Trafford football grounds. The aim was to encourage British SMEs to export their services and products to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and I wanted to share our experience with potential newcomers to the region. A successful business in the Middle East – and we have been here for over 100 years – is down to cultural awareness, an operation on the ground, reputation, trust and relationships. Cultural awareness, both in business and social situations, should never be underestimated, not just in Saudi Arabia, or the Middle East – it rings true across the world. In the East, people value relationships very highly, while in the West we tend to focus on deliverables and getting the job done. Deliver results, but never underestimate the importance of the personal relationship. Bureaucracy is the norm and decisions and payments can take time. The truth is that bureaucracy is run by bureaucrats who are real people. Building strong relationships with people will enable you to navigate the bureaucracy maze as we did with several issues. Understand your local market. That can only be achieved by being on the ground. Do not attempt to run your business from afar because this will set you up to fail and you will not gain any respect. Again, it is about maintaining your relationships. Communication, building relationships and establishing a bond of trust is the central pillar for doing business in the Middle East. Always keep in mind ‘let’s talk’ because doing business in the Middle East is all about relationship, relationship, relationship. The business will come once you get this right.
Caroline Lewis-O’Halloran is Hyder’s country account manager and regional director of business development
PROFILE Roof U Value: 0.442 W/m2 路K
Typical jet nozzle, type 2 Location: Both sides of walkway Orientation: 30掳 from horizontal
Typical jet nozzle, type 1 Location: one side of walkway Orientation: 45掳 from horizontal External wall - not exposed to sun
External wall - exposed to sun U Value: 0.567 W/m2 路K
01 Simulation of HVAC system, IMG World of Adventure, Dubai 02 Rendering of IMG World of Adventure, Dubai 03 Example of mechanical plant room
OUTSIDE THE BOX
With a slate of projects wins and office openings, SEED is striving to push the boundaries of MEP engineering What makes a great MEP engineer? According to Sanu Mathew, design manager and director for SEED Engineering Consultants, it is largely the ability to pick up on the details. “It’s easy to take a bird’s eye view of every project and to give generalised solutions,” he says. “But the ability to see minor co-ordination details in the ceiling voids and plant rooms of every project is what leaves a lasting impression on all construction team members. This is what separates the great engineers from the good ones.”
Another deciding factor, according to Mathew, is understanding the client’s and design team member’s requirements. “The ability to adapt to each project is vital to working in various markets – our approach with India clients differs from our approach in the GCC. The cardinal mistake made by MEP companies is not listening and understanding clearly the client’s requirements,” he continues. Established in 2005, SEED Engineers has 62 employees, with 24 people in Dubai, 28 in Cochin and 10 in Bangalore. It is planning to open three further offices – in Mumbai, Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Muscat – by the end of the year.
“In the near future, we hope there will be more emphasis on sustainability as the world needs it." SANU MATHEW
In addition, SEED has formed a partnership with UK-based MEP firm Spectrum and also Australia’s Norman Disney Young (NDY), for complex projects and when clients look for international associations. Key current projects include two theme parks in Dubai – IMG World of Adventure and Hub Zero – as well as a recycling plant in the same emirate. It is also working on several refurbishment projects such as K Grill & 1897 Bar in the Kempinski Hotel – Mall of the Emirates, Palm Court restaurant in Jumeirah Beach Hotel and a steak house in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, all in Dubai. Upcoming launches include a British Academy school in conjunction with education design consultants FNI from the USA, as well as a student accommodation building in Dubai. In addition, the firm has completed its work on Etihad Rail, Estidama certification and GASCO accommodation in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. SEED has also made its first foray into supertall, having signed for work on an 80-storey residential building in Dubai. Other recent contract wins include residential buildings in Meydan and Dubai Sports City, a school in Masdar City and a 325,000m2 commercial, residential and hotel development in Dubai. Mathew states that it is important for MEP engineers to think creatively. He continues: “A misconception about MEP engineers is that they think within a box, that they are noncreative and inflexible, and that the overdesign with equipment that takes up a lot of the client’s valuable useable space.” He points to a SEED school project in Delhi which is “stretching the boundaries of HVAC
design”. Mathew continues: “Delhi is an area similar to Dubai. For this school, our HVAC design is around 111m2 per tonne, whereas HVAC design in a normal building in Dubai is around 23m2-28m2 per tonne. We are also using an earth tunnel for cooling the air in hot months and heating in winter.” Mathew claims this building, when complete, could be the most efficient building in the whole of India, in terms of HVAC design. “We are designing it in a way to have a near net zero building,” he says. Sustainability is an often used word in the Gulf region, yet Mathew states that it is not widely practiced. He continues: “The focus is still not there. Everyone wants to follow the bare minimum requirement as stipulated by the authorities. The reason for this is the low energy price and the high capital cost of alternative energy sources.” Yet, he is hopeful for the future and urges companies to embrace sustainability. “We believe in the coming years, a hotel, hospital or school project would strive to achieve maximum efficiency and to invest in these technologies. In the near future, we hope there will be more emphasis on sustainability as the world needs it. We as responsible citizens and companies should embrace it.”
SEED ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS – VITAL STATISTICS 62 employees 9 years of operation 3 current office locations 3 new office openings in 2014
01 02 03 04
One&Only, The Palm, manor house One&Only, The Palm, 101 restaurant Fairmont hotel, Muscat Madinat Jumeirah
GET TO KNOW…
Siddharth Mathur, design director for Studio Lumen, on how lighting designers must offer unbiased expertise Born in 1979, Siddharth Mathur received a degree in architecture from SGU Surat, India. After a brief stint as a freelance architect in India, Mathur decided to specialise in lighting and took a Masters at the University of Sydney, Australia. He subsequently worked as a lighting designer in Dubai for three years before joining Studio Lumen. In addition to his professional duties, Mathur is a visiting faculty member at various interior design schools in Dubai and acts as an external reviewer of student work.
How did you get into lighting design? While I was studying architecture, as an intern, I had the privilege of working at an architecture firm which specialised in daylighting. The practice’s built spaces had a major emphasis on bringing daylight into the buildings, and this made me realise the importance of light within the built environment. As a student, I could not help but ask the question, ‘what happens at night?’ I was told that the artificial lighting was left up to the electrical engineers to design, without much creative input. This made me realise there was immense opportunity to enhance night-time perception by thoughtful lighting design, and it was the spark that led me to study further into the subject and become a professional lighting designer. What are your main responsibilities for Studio Lumen? I joined Studio Lumen in 2007 and have been involved with most of the projects that we have undertaken, ever since I have been
here. My primary responsibility is to drive the overall design direction of the studio. I have a strong team that supports me and we strive to achieve excellence in lighting design. How many people work for your company? In Dubai we have a team of nine, with two people based in our satellite office in India who help to co-ordinate our projects over there. In addition to this we have a strategic alliance with CKR Consulting Engineers, which means we have the benefit of its 55-strong engineering team for support. Do you have plans to expand? Studio Lumen’s growth in terms of staff and projects in the pipeline has been approximately 45% in the last year, and we expect this to continue over the course of the following year.
“We work in the best interest of the client, and give them neutral advice on their lighting needs. It is much like a doctor that prescribes medicine, but does not tell you which pharmacy to buy it from.” SIDDHARTH MATHUR
What are the key projects that Studio Lumen is working on? Most of our work is hospitality-related, so we are currently working on a number of hotels in the UAE, Qatar, India and Mozambique. In addition, we are also working on mixed-use developments in Muscat and India. What are the common mistakes related to lighting design in this region? In my opinion, the most common mistake in lighting design in this region is over-design. It is not uncommon to see spaces that have just too much lighting, with absolutely no thought given to factors like contrast, balance, etc. This obviously results in an increased use of energy and overall light pollution. In lighting, ‘less is more’, but that does not
seem to be followed in this region. While the general perception of lighting is changing very quickly in the Middle East, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of educating the end users. What are the common misconceptions about lighting designers within the construction industry? Most people within the construction industry find it very difficult to believe that lighting designers can be unbiased when it comes to suppliers and manufacturers. So you donâ€™t have key alliances with certain lighting suppliers? Correct. We work in the best interest of the
client, and give them neutral advice on their lighting needs. It is much like a doctor that prescribes medicine, but does not tell you which pharmacy to buy it from. Is sustainable lighting becoming more prevalent in the region? The overall awareness of sustainable design practices within lighting has been amazing over the last few years. This has been coupled with the changes in the local regulations, which have had a very positive impact. By challenging lighting designers with a lower load allowance for lighting, it creates a perfect opportunity to think outside the box and be mindful of the human factors that are related to lighting.
Are there any interesting trends in lighting design at the moment? The development of LED as a light source has been the single biggest influence on lighting design in the last five years or so. With the recent innovations, the size of the lighting equipment has become smaller with a much higher light output than previously witnessed. Also, the integration of pixel screens and video meshes within the built environment is a very interesting development. Both these trends have influenced the work of most lighting designers around the world, thus creating a very bright future for the profession.
GETTING TECHNICAL Tom Bower, managing director for WSP Middle East, on his engineering journey and the exciting benefits of the digital age
On 11 May this year, Tom Bower celebrated 15 years at global consultancy WSP. Having led the Middle East operation for four years, Bower’s first role in 1999 – as assistant to then-chief executive Chris Cole – was very different. “I met Chris by chance,” he reminisces. “When I first joined in 1999 it was more of a support role. But it provided an opportunity to get a view of WSP as a business, as well as the CEO’s vision.”
Although Bower received no formal engineering training – having followed his family’s farming heritage by studying agricultural management at Reading University – he discovered that an underlying “technical mindset” soon came to the fore. Bower continues: “When I first worked for WSP, I didn’t realise there was this thing called an engineer – I thought there were architects and contractors and that was how buildings were delivered. I came into this world and realised how exciting technical consultancy is.” After four years as CEO assistance, Bower was appointed commercial management of the ‘buildings business’, one of WSP’s divisions in the UK. He then became UK commercial director and held that position for another four years. In 2009 he was presented with the opportunity to lead the Middle East operation and refocus a business that had been hit badly by the downturn. Bower remarks: “With all of the changes it had gone through during the downturn, it wasn’t particularly focused. We were about 1,000 people in 2007/2008 and we came down to about 320 at the end of 2011. We have grown back to around 550 today in the Middle East.”
He describes himself as a “hands on” manager that likes to have regular client contact, as well as advocating an “open style” – company directors sit within the open-plan rather than separate offices. Bower says that his lack of an engineering background allows for a more balanced viewpoint. “We are a multidisciplinary firm, and the fact that I don’t come from a particular discipline means that I have a good oversight without favouring one in particular. I see them for the value they add to our clients and to our business as well.” With the company containing five business areas (building structures, building services, specialist services, environment and sustainability, transportation and infrastructure) amassing a total of 23 different services, does the market fully understand the capabilities of WSP?
“Our services are all focused around the technical aspects of the construction industry – that covers both consultancy and design work and supervision of construction. In our minds it makes a lot of sense.”
Bower concedes that this is a common challenge for multidisciplinary firms. “You can be known for one thing when in actual fact you do much more. There are some things we don’t do such as architecture – although we have a small architectural team which supports some of our clients – we don’t do contracting and we don’t do project management. “We see ourselves as a multi-disciplinary technical consultancy. Our services are all focused around the technical aspects of the construction industry – that covers both consultancy and design work and supervision of construction. In our minds it makes a lot of sense.” Recently Bower has taken on personal responsibility for WSP’s India operation, which acts predominantly as an offshoring business undertaking design for the other regions of the group. “We have around 60-70 people based in India who focus on the Middle East work. I fly out maybe once every six weeks and spend a few days there,” he says. WSP as a whole has experienced a recent expansion, in part due to the takeover by Canadian engineering firm Genivar in 2012. This year, Genivar changed its name and the whole organisation of 16,500 people is collectively known as WSP. Bower explains how both parties have benefitted from the takeover. “Interestingly, and very positively, Genivar and WSP had almost no overlap – Genivar was 90% in Canada and WSP weren’t in Canada at all. The other 10% of Genivar was in Colombia and a small amount in France, where WSP did have a small business. From a regional point of view, the change has had very little impact. So it has been a very natural progression.”
01 Seventh Heaven, Dubai 02 Sowwah Central, Abu Dhabi 03 Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi
According to Bower, the Middle East is one of the company’s key markets. “The group’s ambition is to grow to 20,000 people in the next two years and the Middle East is seen as one of the growth areas,” he says. “In terms of staff numbers, it is a fairly small percentage (550 out of 16,500), but because of the project opportunities the Middle East is seen as a market of great interest. We have offices in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Doha, and we also work on projects in Oman and Saudi.” He explains that key regional clients include Emaar, MAF Properties and Meraas. Many of the company’s high profile active projects are in Abu Dhabi, such as Zayed National Museum, the Presidential Palace, Masdar City, Sowwah Central Mall and New York University on Saadiyat Island. WSP is also working on the ‘Contract 2’ infrastructure project for Ashghal in Qatar as well as Al Barari’s Seventh Heaven in Dubai. Recently, WSP was involved in a more unusual project in Dubai – providing a threeby-one-metre platform on top of the Burj Khalifa for the dramatic base jump which took place on 19 April. Bower says that the project was useful for publicity and showcasing WSP’s focus on safety. “Overall it was a very positive experience. It was actually the tallest manmade structure when it was built, as it sat on top of the Burj Khalifa. “It was a fun project and good for getting publicity and building our reputation. A key aspect was making sure it was safe – our director of health and safety David Larter spent a lot of time with the fabricators and erectors.” Bower reveals that safety is now one of the four key ‘themes’ that runs through the Middle East business. “Most of the challenges of safety in the construction and operation come from the design phase,” he remarks. “Another of our themes is quality. It sounds a bit strange but we need to make sure that people know how we position ourselves. I believe in fundamentally doing things right, first time. We try and do something in the best way we can.”
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04 Engineering the Burj Khalifa base jump
“Overall the Burj Khalifa base jump was a very positive experience. It was a fun project and good for getting publicity and building our reputation. A key aspect was making sure it was safe.” A third theme is sustainability, which is reinforced by the LEED-certified Dubai office. Bower continues: “We take sustainability seriously and we are looking at how it can be built into everything we do – in either consultancy or design. “We’ve recently been involved in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park – it has a huge impact of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” he says. “We took that project on because we could do it, and also because of our focus on sustainability. We believe it’s so important for the future, everywhere across the globe. It’s something we want to be known for.” Although sustainability is by no means a new concept, Bower believes the Dubai construction industry has changed its approach in recent years, partly due to a greater awareness of operating expenses. He comments: “Sustainability is a growing agenda as it makes operational sense. Dubai is more integrated in its way of thinking. Previously developers might have had a team that procured the capital expenditure and a team that ran the operational expenditure. They didn’t really look at each other. “Now developers are looking at the cost of running projects. For example, a project
that cost x has cost y to run in five years. The owner is starting to think ‘actually if we’d done something when it cost x, we’d now be running at y minus 10%’. Sustainability is starting to become a commercial reality for client bodies. Previously it wasn’t because they weren’t running these assets. You learn these things as you go and people see the benefits for themselves.” The fourth and final theme is technology – an area which Bower is personally championing. He explains: “I use technology in all aspects of my life to make it easier, and I try to push our people to use it in every way possible. Technology is something that will enable us to be more competitive, produce a higher quality product in a shorter timescale, and engage with our clients and staff more effectively.” Elaborating on specific measures, Bower points to the use of computer-to-computer conferencing software, Lync. “You can call up to 30 people at once and share documentation – it enables a multiple office delivery. We can engage our India and UK offices, speak to everyone simultaneously, while looking at what we are talking about. “We’ve invested in three screens for everybody, across the business, which enables you to be looking at multiple things
simultaneously. It’s a very efficient and effective way of operating. If you take the capital cost of a screen, it’s the equivalent of three or four hours’ work per person. “It’s something that’s been done in other industries for several years, but there aren’t many other consultancies in our industry that do it,” he claims. Perhaps the greatest benefit of embracing technology, according to Bower, is the creation of global office environment in which employees can work from any location, including home. “Utilising technology enables us to do the work, wherever we want to do it,” he explains. “We have a very disciplined management of documentation – it is all available wherever you are so the whole global network can work together very effectively. “The previous model was that if you operated in a city you had to have a presence and people in an office. I think you need to have a presence but you don’t need people sitting there – the work can be done elsewhere. The technology will only improve our ability to work together, while not sitting next to each other. We’re moving to a different way of thinking.”
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BACK TO SCHOOL
Salim Hussain, head of design at Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf, on how education projects need to focus on their fundamental purpose Education is recognised the world over as a force for change. This is even truer for regional economies that are looking to move away from their current dependence on a single source economy. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE are all investing heavily in education at all levels and they are doing this in a very public fashion.
While a new school announcement may attract media and public attention, it should also raise important questions. A school is a huge investment – an asset that serves owners, users and the community – but what is its primary purpose and whom is it for? How do these spaces function beyond an asset and how do they draw people in against competitors? Most importantly, though, how will the school engage with and enthuse the children
as they come through the door? How do you make sure children consider learning as a lifelong experience and not something that is seen as a mandatory penance from which they are released at the age of 18? While many factors come into play, from curriculum to education philosophy, there is no doubting the importance of the physical environment on a child’s learning experience. The environment needs to be engaging and flexible. It needs to let in natural light without the solar gain. It also has to provide shaded external play areas and allow learning in groups or as individuals. However, this environment needs to be built around the child and their perception of learning. As designers we need to remember that people (yes, children are people too) learn in different ways and so need various physical,
emotional and visual stimuli. Therefore the design needs to allow for different types of experiences. Learning can happen as a formal group, a smaller informal group, as individuals, internally, externally, on stairs, in hallways and so on. In the case of ADEC Future Schools in Abu Dhabi, learning can even happen on window sills. Giving the pupils more options on where and how they learn engages them and leads to more successful students. Another example of the importance of the physical environment is how external spaces are critical for a child’s development. Even in hot climates, such as the UAE, buildings historically have strong connections with the outdoors through courtyards and walled gardens. This desire to connect children with the environment is just as strong in western culture, with grass roots activists in the US and other
01-04 ADEC Future Schools, Abu Dhabi
countries. For example, Nordic countries have long used the outdoors as the classroom rather than the 70m2 ‘box’. According to the Danish Forest and Nature Agency, over 10% of Danish preschools are nestled in forests or other natural settings, and place the natural world at the centre of early childhood development. The ability to run and play is a contrast to the discipline of formal learning. It is also the chance to learn social skills and develop as an individual. A connection with the outside world can teach children, without actually telling them that learning doesn’t have to only happen in front of a whiteboard or iPad – it can happen anywhere. This visual connection with the environment also gives spaces a light quality that artificial lighting cannot match. Traditionally, the region has used controlled openings to allow daylight and repel solar gain; but this philosophy has been somewhat lost along the way with ‘modern’ designs seemingly relying on reflective glazing alone to control it. However, a skilful design can ensure rooms are brightly lit without the negative impact of solar gain. Just as it is critical that students become responsible members of society, schools need
to become members of the built environment. Most new schools, both public and private, are now moving the school building from behind the obligatory boundary wall to its rightful place as an integral member of the social and built environment. A fantastic example of this approach is the new Paddington Green campus of the City of Westmister College in London, designed by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen. While placing emphasis on security, an urban street setting connects the school and its users with their surroundings. Instantly, then, the school is a place where children interact with their community rather than hiding from it – a valuable lesson that once again is learned without having to be taught. In a series of stakeholder workshops I conducted in the region, all grades of pupils were asked to talk about their school and their likes and dislikes. While it was unsurprising that teachers and older children had strong views, interestingly, even pupils in grade one primary had a clear understanding of their physical environment. For instance, they commented on their ‘big bright rooms’ or requested ‘somewhere to play ball’, and even asserted
there were not enough external play areas for the activities they wanted to do. The connection between environment and learning was not lost on so-called ‘lay people’ – one teacher astutely observed that the physical enclosure of the school had now begun to restrict their ability to provide education. This is not to suggest the expansion was a whimsical desire – the project was substantial and would cost millions; however, it was recognised that the cornerstone of the school was learning. Maintaining the ideological belief that schools are, first and foremost, centres of learning will ensure we focus on our most precious of assets: children.
About the author Salim Hussain is the head of design at Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf, and a visiting critic at the American University of Sharjah. He has worked on numerous education projects, including campus buildings for vocational colleges in Middlesbrough, Bristol and Birmingham, as well as schools in the UK and UAE.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT What is the true role of cost consultants and are they really needed to make sure a project stays on budget? Neha Bhatia investigates
Spurred on by the anticipation surrounding the upcoming World Expo 2020, developers in Dubai and the UAE have rapidly increased their planned developments in the country. To guard against a repeat of the mistakes of 2008—2009, cost consultancies are hoping to encourage market awareness about investment and risk management in the client community. However, what can they actually offer clients in return for a say in the decision-making processes?
“A lot of the work we’re undertaking with clients across the UAE involves putting together capital expenditure models for them, based on benchmarks from our previously delivered projects,” reveals Paul Maddison, partner and head of cost and commercial at EC Harris UAE. “There is a greater appetite now to involve construction stakeholders early on in the project, mostly due to the lessons learned from the market crisis of 2008-2009,” Maddison explains. His current strategy is to show clients the viability of their intended projects in comparison with the existing market stock. Maddison believes this will go a long way in projecting sharper estimations of future demand for clients. “Dubai has the expo coming, but the market is relatively quiet at the moment. Some of the big developers are seeking opportunities, but we suspect there might not be enough contractors to build to that scale.” Maddison’s words are perhaps at odds with the UAE’s currently buoyant market sentiment among developers. Erland Rendall, director for Currie & Brown’s operations in Dubai, tells Middle East Consultant that this type of cautious viewpoint is what cost consultancies will typically offer clients.
“In basic terms, cost management can provide context to the client. A major component of a project, even in its inception stage is its financial aspect,” Rendall asserts. “It is at that stage in the lifecycle when a cost consultant would engage to provide high-level strategic inputs that can enable the progression of that idea into reality.” He continues: “These inputs continue to enhance the project through the design, procurement, construction and even operation and maintenance stages of a development.” However, he admits that designers may offer resistance to their involvement. Advocating for their creative independence, designers could view cost consulting as hindering their final output. Rendall argues for a fair judgment of cost consulting based on its merits as a reality check, instead of viewing the discipline as a restraint on artistic fluency. “That view that cost consultancies are the ‘buzzkill’ in the project is a traditional misconception,” Rendall quips. “It’s almost like a psychological barrier. A creative individual wouldn’t want to be constrained by practical elements like budgets, and that is understandable,
"The view that cost consultancies are the ‘buzzkill’ in the project is a traditional misconception. It’s almost like a psychological barrier.”
but someone handling finance for the client will obviously worry about too much extravagance from the designer. “In reality, you want to strike a balance between the client’s ambitions – be it a circular structure or the world’s tallest building – and what is truly achievable within his budget. The cost manager should look to facilitate and enable that ambition in the most economical way, not kill off the idea or the dream,” the Currie & Brown director says. The depth of services that cost consultants can offer, according to Tim Sephton, CEO of Reaction Project Management, ensures their involvement through the entire lifecycle of a construction project. This impacts other parties, such as project managers like himself. Sephton admits there is no end of agitated contractors – and other parties directly affected by cost consultant decisions – in the market. However, he is a believer in the benefits that cost consultancies can offer through construction progress and project performance reviews. He says: “On one hand, it is critical that designers hand over quality information to cost consultants in order to ensure the latter can draw from their experience and historical data to appropriately review the design. “Cost management provides an exact outlook about the financial aspects of a project. During construction, factors such as payments for designers and contractors can have a huge impact on the clients' budgets.” Sephton continues: “Cost consultants ensure these payments are made only after all terms of the contract have been met, and this significantly impacts clients' capital. “It is unfortunate when cost consultancies are used as mere budgetary tools as against frontline devices to monitor project progress.”
Benoy Kurien, general manager of Al Hamra Real Estate Development in Ras Al Khaimah is full of praise for cost consultancies. On a scale of one to 10, he rates their significance in a project at a “very high” 7.5, declaring cost consultancies as a critical part of the client’s support system. “At the end of the day, a client is not a technical person,” Kurien concedes. “He or she may be surrounded by an army of technical experts for support, but generally, most specialised aspects of a project are outsourced to the right experts from relevant fields. “The client has to arrange his priorities to ensure project clarity; the role of value engineers ends here, however. Cost consultancies are involved in the intricacies of construction processes; for instance, a cost consultant could recommend alternative product options which could reduce costs by, say, 25%. In my opinion, that is the role of the cost consultant,” Kurien opines. Industry experts have, in the past, told Middle East Consultant (issue #3; March 2014, p.26) that the UAE’s architect pool is progressing towards a broad segregation into in-house architects, who work with contractor and developer firms, versus those who choose to work with pure architectural practices. However, EC Harris’ Maddison believes that cost consultancies, due to the extensive information that contributes to their core competency, are better suited to an independent business model. “There is scope for cost consultancies to contractually merge with clients, but doing so would lead to problems in data accumulation. Autonomous consultancies tend to have better reference points from across the market, as against an in-house consultancy, which may have niche information about only its own client.” Kurien offers his five cents on in-house cost consulting: “A lot of clients today develop these competencies in-house since their benefits to seasoned developers are greater. “Clients who have dealt with multiple project managers, cost consultants, value engineers and so on over the years will seek to form an ideal in-house technical team for themselves. However, this doesn’t mean no work is sent out
QUANTITY SURVEYORS VERSUS COST CONSULTANTS According to industry experts and contrary to popular misconception, quantity surveyors and cost consultants do not undertake the same job functions. “One is possibly a more passive role than the other,” says Paul Maddison, partner and head of cost and commercial at EC Harris in Dubai. “Quantity surveying is a very technical discipline and involves measurement, which requires an understanding of the construction processes. Cost consulting is a practice more pertinent to the clients’ point of view, and is mainly to do with managing capital costs. Both work closely, but there is a difference between the two roles.”
for independent agencies to handle. In-house technical teams, for large clients, often end up monitoring various aspects of their project, which have been outsourced to the market,” Kurien explains. “In-house or independent, I think cost consulting rates pretty highly in the scheme of things on a project. It has direct impacts on profitability, for one. If you can’t increase your revenues, then you will have to reduce your expenses, and cost consultancies help with exactly that,” he adds. Rendall agrees the construction industry tends to pigeonhole the role of cost consultants. “Culturally, the construction industry is fragmented and players tend to focus on themselves. It is fairly normal for us to get the typical ‘it’s none of your business’ comment from other parties involved in the project, but the industry has to work progressively project success. “There are a number of stereotypes associated with cost consultants; tags like ‘accountants’ or ‘brick counters’ are frequent. We’re even compared with quantity surveyors, but what they do is an aspect of the overall value-added services cost consultancies offer, such as value assessment, risk management and so on,” Rendall protests. “The general assumption is that someone else creates the product and we only measure it, which is wrong; cost consultants also focus on the legal, procurement and other such aspects of a project.” Maddison argues that a fresh mindset is also required to accept that cost consulting services show the worth of capital investment in more than just currency terms. “The main stereotype is just the definition of ‘cost’, which is viewed as an outflow,” he says. “Nobody likes the guy who wants to control the money flows. “We’d like to think that as cost consultants, we optimise the client’s spend, and it is this optimisation that generates revenue or returns for the public. Our main objective is to achieve what the client wants, and cost management is crucial to ensuring best returns on a project.”
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01 Noraplan flooring 02 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CGI) 03 Delta Faucet
Discovering how correct specification and proper maintenance can help to maintain hygienic environments in healthcare projects With the GCC’s total healthcare expenditure forecast to triple and reach $133 billion by 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan, the sector is becoming increasingly important to regional consultants and suppliers. Indeed this month’s Hospital Build & Infrastructure Middle East exhibition will no doubt discuss the myriad opportunities up for grabs.
Yet surely another talking point will be whether the construction industry can do anything to help limit the spread of diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a contagious virus which raised alarm bells across the region. Tony Hampson, general manager of facilities management firm OCS, explains that the choice of materials in design can influence the containment of infection. Hampson states that wood is a material which can allow the growth of certain infectious diseases. “If people [like facilities managers] are involved from the start, you can avoid those mistakes – you can tell them how you want the flooring finished so it’s easy to clean,” he says. Consultants tasked with specification on hospital projects should look for materials that are fungus and bacteria-static. Noraplan rubber flooring has been used in many healthcare projects including Mubadala's Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi. According to Steven McFadden, regional manager for Nora Systems, the natural properties of Noraplan makes it ideal for
healthcare. He continues: “If you want a hospital to stay infection-free you should use a product that it bacteria and fungus-static for the duration of its life. “Some products on the market have what’s called a top coating – a small film or layer on the surface of the material that contains this bacteria and fungus-static property. We have very convincing research to show that these top layers are gone in as little as four months. Noraplan doesn’t put a special layer on top of our products; because our flooring is made from natural rubber it is inherently fungus and bacteria-static.” While natural rubber is applicable for hospital wards, synthetic carpet can be used in waiting and public areas to create a more welcoming feel. Steven Pratt, regional director of sales for Interface, adds: “Because our carpets are synthetic (nylon 6-6) we can add antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. “Carpets with natural fibres are harder to treat and can carry bacteria and viruses. It addition, the natural fibres can break off and float in the atmosphere.” The choice of sanitaryware in healthcare projects is also crucial in limiting the spread of infection. Delta Faucet’s latest hands-free technology ‘proximity sensing’ will be used in the Danat Al Emarat Women & Children’s Hospital in Abu Dhabi, in addition to a number of other commercial projects. It offers a hands-free operation with the spout serving as a sensor, limiting the amount the faucet’s surfaces are touched.
“If you want a hospital to stay infection free you should use a product that it bacteria and fungusstatic for the duration of its life.” STEVEN MCFADDEN, NORA SYSTEMS
The technology forms a four-inch field around the body of the faucet that allows for it to be activated once the user's hand enters the field. When the user removes their hands from the water stream, the faucet turns off within two seconds. Installation is said to be user-friendly, with the product designed to self-calibrate once it has been installed. The surface mount control box makes it easy to access the controls for installation and routine facility maintenance. A sanitaryware fitting used in the Radiology and Hematology clinic at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman is Markwik21 by Armitage Shanks, available from Ideal Standard. Wallmounted with a sequential lever, the product is easy to use and features a strong and durable cartridge that can withstand high torque. Integral stop valves and strainers within the tap body help to ease maintenance, with no need to remove panels. Ease of maintenance is a key issue when it comes to healthcare projects, as OCS’ Hampson explains: “Designers are all well and good, and architects are fantastic. However, you have to create something that is easy to maintain and clean. “Ask people if they would like to be in a dirty hospital and what response would you get? Cleanliness is extremely important but it is only one part of the picture –cleaning is very visual. People see the visual or physical elements and that’s all they focus on.” He notes that the hygiene levels can be quantified by the use of technology. “We’ve
“Designers are all well and good, and architects are fantastic. However, you have to create something that is easy to maintain and clean.” TONY HAMPSON, OCS started to introduce ‘bioluminescence’ – it is a technology that has come out of the food manufacturing industry. We swab key control points in the hospital and put them into a solution. The level of brightness gives an indication of what germs are on the surface. We can take a reading before and after we clean – this takes out the subjectivity.” Nora’s McFadden adds that ease of maintenance is a feature of Noraplan. “The maintenance of the floor is extremely important. A PVC or vinyl floor must have a top layer as the flooring is just not durable enough without it. To clean these floors you require a barrage of multi-purpose cleaners, finishers, polish, strippers, etc. It’s very expensive and detrimental to the environment. “Because there isn’t this top coating on Noraplan, it can be cleaned only with water. It saves the client a lot of money and it’s very sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
Cleaning is not to be mistaken with disinfecting the floor – this comes later.” He also adds that slip resistance is a must for healthcare flooring. “Shiny floors in hospitals contribute to a lot of slips, trips and falls,” he continues. “Our materials – because we don’t have to polish or shine them with external chemicals – are more slip resistant.” Interface’s Pratt adds that maintenance is not an issue with carpets. “There is a misconception that to manage dust you really need to have a hard floor. Dust can be mopped up from a hard floor, but the dust will be in the atmosphere. A carpet will trap the dust out of the air. It is easy to maintain as you only need to clean it once or twice a week.” A challenge for consultants and suppliers for the hospital sector is connecting with the specific requirements of the medical world. McFadden notes that doctors are involved in the design process of Noraplan, along with architects. Facilities management teams can go even further and employ in-house medical expertise. Hampson remarks: “In order to interpret the medical information, we’ve employed an infection control specialist – her role is to the communication point between us and the clinic. She understands all the Greek and Latin names of the diseases and she helps us do a better job. We see ourselves as part of the hospital team and I think that’s really important.”
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ABOVE AND BEYOND
Middle East Consultant visits Khalifa Al Tajer Mosque, Dubai’s largest and greenest place of worship With its traditional design and its quiet integration within the Deira urban grain, one might not realise that the Khalifa Al Tajer Mosque is brand new, if it wasn’t for a smattering of scaffolding and workmen onsite.
Yet despite its restrained appearance, the mosque is in fact the largest in Dubai and the third largest in the UAE – after Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and King Faisal Mosque in Sharjah – with an internal capacity for 3,470 worshippers on a 9,750m2 plot. It is also set to be the only LEED-certified mosque in Arabia, and only the second green-rated in the world after the Al-Mawaddah Mosque which opened in 2009 in Singapore. Targeting LEED Silver certification, the mosque is on course for completion by the end of June, in time for Ramadan. Leading an exclusive tour of the site for Middle East Consultant, Tayeb Abdulrahman Al Rais, general secretary for Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), explains that the sustainable direction stemmed from the need to save money and reduce operating costs.
“By going green we are going to save 20-25% on water and electricity,” he remarks. “It’s all about conserving resources.” Al Rais explains that project was taken on by AMAF when the building owner tragically fell into a coma and became mentally incapacitated. One of the foundation’s first decisions was to scrap the original Turkish-style design, with multiple domes, in favour of an aesthetic more befitting the Arabian Peninsula. He continues: “We didn’t want to spend all that money on a Turkish design. It doesn’t make sense for this region, so we designed a mosque that is of our heritage. It’s simple – it’s not like the Turkish design with 10, 20, 30 domes – but this is ours and we are very proud of it.” The final design was refined to include one dome – 24m in height from the outside – and two 36m-high minarets. A large outdoor plaza contains an ablutions fountain and functions as an extra area for worshippers during peak times such as Ramadan and Friday afternoon prayers. UAE-based Al Ajmi Engineering Consultants was appointed as lead consultant and worked closely with AMAF. Amer Shehadeh, supervision
“It was aimed by AMAF from day one to have a singular and first-of-a-kind mosque in Dubai. We worked with sustainability consultant Greenfield Trading to make sure the materials did not deviate from LEED.” AMER SHEHADEH, AL AJMI ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS
and contracts manager for Al Ajmi, says: “Since AMAF took over we have worked with them on everything – the architecture, structures, interior design, the appointment of the green consultant, contractor and the selection of each and every material or equipment for the project. It was aimed by AMAF from day one to have a singular and first of a kind mosque in Dubai. We worked with sustainability consultant Greenfield Trading to make sure the materials did not deviate from LEED.” Dr John Patronis, managing partner of the UAE-based eco experts, adds: “We worked very well as a team. Greenfield’s scope was more than MEP, it included different areas – materials, indoor air quality – for the whole project.” In addition to housing solar panels for generating renewable energy, the outdoor area contains a landscaped area which features a “desert-style garden”. Flora varieties include Washingtonia Robusta – a fast-growing, dateless palm which consumes less water than other types of tree. “The garden will not have any grass,” adds Al Rais. “Lawn is not for this country – it’s for places like southern Australia and the UK where there is a lot of rain.” He explains that any irrigation will use water that is recycled from ablutions and airconditioning. “For any recycling system you need 20% fresh water every week. But because we have connected the distilled water from the AC, which is even cleaner than drinking water, we have avoided putting that 20% back in. It was a very smart move by the consultants.” A separate imam’s house – which stylises with the mosque – contains solar heating panels on the roof. Another adjoining building houses the main ablution area. Al Rais explains that variety was key, and adds: “We have several styles of ablution so anyone and everyone can be comfortable. You have sitting, standing and sink-style so we are not giving anyone an excuse not to wash up. Water is all controlled – it stays on for two minutes and then shuts off.” Patronis interjects: “We have set it the required temperature, which is mostly taken care of by solar heating. We estimate that it will
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Main entrance Entrance plaza Solar panels Ablutions fountain Central dome Main prayer hall
consume 45% less water [than an equivalent mosque].” Al Rais explains that the project is targeting LEED Silver, rather Gold or Platinum, for practical reasons. He continues: “We didn’t see the need to spend that extra money to achieve Gold or Platinum – we were not going to get any extra benefit from it. For LEED Gold you have to provide things like a covered area for bicycles – nobody rides a bicycle here so why should we spend that money?” Once the tour moves inside the prayer hall, the true scale of the mosque becomes apparent. Compared to other mosque interiors in the country, such as the opulent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the interior is elegant and stripped down. Al Rais says: “It is a very simple heritage design – no fancy materials or engravings. When you come to a mosque you are supposed to get busy with prayer and not look around. Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is very impressive, but you are constantly looking around while praying. Islamic design is not meant to be elaborate. It’s as simple as we could make it.” The most decorative element to the interior is an impressive custom-made chandelier, weighing around 500kg, which hangs below the dome. Al Rais says: “We only have one chandelier. If we’d stuck to the Turkish design we would have to have eight or nine of these, which would have cost a minimum of $1m in total.” Large openings allowing light to enter in a controlled manner. “Other mosques shrink the window size,” says Al Rais. “We decided to make them larger and double glaze them. We have 14 hours of sunlight per day so why should we not utilise that? Why should we put an extra load on with artificial lights during the day? This is a big place to light.” A total of 66% of the lighting load is saved due to the maximisation of natural lighting, plus sensor-controlled LEDs for the artificial lights. Sensors are also used to control air conditioning. Al Rais continues: “One of the things that usually gets broken, or requires continuous maintenance, is the AC control as people always fiddle with it. Some people will be hot, others
“It is a very simple heritage design – no fancy materials or engravings. When you come to a mosque you are supposed to get busy with prayer and not look around.” ABDULRAHMAN AL RAIS, AWQAF AND MINORS AFFAIRS FOUNDATION will be cold, and some will want to turn it off. So what we have done is put a sensor system so the temperature goes up and down according to the number of people coming in and going out.” Materials are sourced locally to earn LEED points. For example, marble from Oman is used to line the walls below window level. Al Rais says: “During prayer time, people want to put their backs against the wall, so if the wall is painted you have to repaint every three months. With marble you pay a little extra but it stays forever.” The flooring aggregate contains recycled stones from Ras Al Khaimah, while the carpet –
which was yet to be installed at the time of our visit – contains material which can be recycled. Wood for the doors comes from sustainable sources and gypsum is used for the simple ornamentation on the ceilings. Another factor which accrues valuable points is the mosque’s proximity to public transport. Al Rais continues: “There’s a bus stop at the corner of the mosque, a metro station 50m away, and even the fact that civil defence is so close earns some points. We are surrounded by buildings and it is easy for people to walk here.” A common occurrence on a Friday afternoon is to find cars parked in every spare inch of sand or tarmac surrounding a mosque. Al Ajmi’s Shehadeh believes that car congestion will be limited by the mosque’s location. He continues: “I don’t think it will be an issue because we are surrounded by so many hotels and many guests will not have cars. You also have Deira City Centre mall just opposite. People can just cross the road or go through the tunnel.” Greenfield's Patronis stresses that the project will act as a benchmark for the region. “We have set a standard for the whole Middle East. We are saving 45% of water and 23% of energy levels compared to international standards.” Al Rais admits that the predicted performance of the mosque is largely theoretical and currently based on estimations. “We will have the figures
at the end of the year. Everything we have is on paper – nobody has come here to pray and nobody has [done ablutions] yet. Once 12 months have passed, the figures could be higher or lower than our estimations.” However, he believes that the results have the potential to pave the way for green, both in mosque construction and in other sectors. “We will publish the figures because we want to encourage others to build similar structures, whether it is a mosque, house or an apartment building. We want to conserve energy and resources for future generations. “In one year, we can go to DEWA, the Municipality and Islamic Affairs, and say ‘this is what we’ve done, we need help to set it as the standard in Dubai’. If it’s a standard, it will creep out like a weed to the rest of the UAE, the Middle East and the Islamic World.”
THE TEAM Custodian: Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation Design and engineering: Al Ajmi Engineering Sustainability: Greenfield Trading Contractor: Al Arif Contracting
SANCTUARY FALLS Shaikh Holding’s exuberant villa project, which utilised some of world’s best hospitality consultants, is nearly ready to be handed over
PROJECT DETAILS Location: Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai Number of villas: 97 Villa value: Up to $6m Villa size: 520m2 to 994m2 Villa bedrooms: 5-6 Hand over: Q4 2014
OVERVIEW Boasting 97 villas, all which could be featured on MTV Cribs, Sanctuary Falls is a super high-end residential development in Jumeirah Golf Estates which has attracted buyers such as Bollywood couple Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Developed by Shaikh Holdings and constructed by Arabtec, villas either overlook the Earth golf course – designed by Greg Norman – or face waterfalls or manicured landscapes. Villas range from 520m2 to 994m2 and contain five to six bedrooms and an outdoor pool. An optional basement level can be kitted out with a home theatre and adjoining bar/games room, for the ultimate in celebrity-style indulgence. In order to create a resort feel, Shaikh Holding engaged an impressive consultant team – involving DSA Architects, HBA and 40North – all with vast experience in the hospitality sector. Customisation is a key selling point, with a choice of three architectural styles and three interior design themes, which can be mixed and matched. Furthermore the consultant team is kept on retainer, and will sit down with each buyer to tailor the floor plan to their family’s needs. Although the show villa was completed in 2009, the development has experienced construction delays. The project is now on course to start handover in the fourth quarter of 2014, with five units left for sale at the time of going to press.
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Resort-style pool Villa under construction Adjoining golf course Bespoke landscaping Entrance atrium Master bathroom Master bedroom Outdoor seating Façade Informal living area
In the region DSA is best known for its design work on Madinat Jumeirah and the two One&Only resorts in Dubai. For Sanctuary Falls, DSA created three Mediterranean inspired styles – traditional, modern and contemporary – although each home has its own identity to maintain a varied streetscape. The ‘traditional’ style incorporates pitched roofs and rounded windows, ‘contemporary’ involves straight roof profiles, while ‘modern’ is a combination of rounded and straight lines. All three styles have a commonality in feel, with an emphasis on natural elements such as stone. A total of 27 different floor plans were created, with lofty atria serving as focal points for vertical and horizontal circulation. The living areas and master bedrooms feature high ceilings and large expanses of France-sourced double glazing, to connect with the beautiful surroundings. A series of balconies and terraces on the upper level further blur the distinction between internal and external space.
Attention was given to the detailing, the use of materials and the relationship between interior and exterior spaces to produce a resort-like experience. No laminates were used for the flooring, with Spanish travertine in the atrium and corridors, wood panneling in the formal living room, master bedroom and study, and ceramic tiles in all other areas. The entrance atria boast a large, ornamental mashrabiya screen with a fire feature. Kitchens are lined with feature stone walls for texture, and fitted with solid Miele countertops and products. Woodwork for the architraves and doors is supplied by Haseeb Rasoul.
LANDSCAPING 40NORTH AND LMS INTERNATIONAL
Each villa features a custom landscape plan by 40North, which worked on One&Only Palm Jumeirah. Swimming pools are detailed with custom water fountains, and the resortlike atmosphere is enhanced with bench seating and timber bridges. The poolside majlis seating area provides a shaded venue for barbeques and entertaining. Every home also features an arrival water fountain and meandering stepping stones, with pathways shaded by palm trees. In addition to 40North, LMS International was responsible for detailed landscaping and the varieties of trees, ground cover and shrubbery. LIGHTING STUDIO LUMEN
Lighting was identified as an integral aspect of creating a resort living experience. Studio Lumen devised a lighting scheme with a high accent to ambient light ratio in keeping with typical resort design, combined with the comfort and tranquility expected of a domestic environment. Design concepts refer to earth and rock, fire and heat, water and relief. A study helped to fully understand the impact views towards the villa and ensure that all visual elements were being addressed in harmony. It was integral for the exterior lighting to be controlled so that views from the villa looking out were not compromised. AUTOMATION ARCHIMEDIA
The design and installation of a custom home automation and entertainment solution was handed to Middle East-based Archimedia. The firm undertook rigorous research to understand residentsâ€™ needs and spent six months conceptualising the ultimate entertainment and digital living system. The solution includes a bathroom mirror with built-in TV, an ability to play the same audio throughout the villa via in-built speakers, and the use of a wireless system for a sleek and clean aesthetic. 10
ON THE RADAR
01 NEW ‘TILT’ FOR JOHN HANCOCK CENTRE The observatory in Chicago’s John Hancock Centre, 360 CHICAGO, has opened an enclosed, glass and steel moveable platform called ‘TILT’, engineered by Thornton Tomasetti. The team also included highrise façade specialist Cupples and Gensler as architect of record. Holding up to eight visitors at a time, the platform slowly tilts outward to an allegedly ‘adventurous’ angle, generating downward-facing views of Chicago, 314m above the ‘Windy City’.
360 CHICAGO is owned and operated by Montparnasse 56 Group, whose assets also include the observation deck at Montparnasse Tower in Paris and the Berliner Fersehturm/TV Tower. TILT is located in the 360 CHICAGO’s south area, allowing guests to experience both south and westward views of Chicago. Finished in 1969, the John Hancock Centre was designed by SOM and was the tallest building in the world outside New York upon its completion.
02 ‘WALKIE SCORCHIE’ UNDERGOES ALTERATION London’s highly controversial skyscraper, initially dubbed the ‘Walkie Talkie’ due to its shape, is currently being fitted with aluminium louvres to counter the heat-focusing rays which led to its new nickname ‘Walkie Scorchie’.
To eliminate the hotspot, the tower’s designers, Rafael Viñoly Architects, are adding horizontal aluminium louvres to the glass facade between the third and 34th floors of the building, which is officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street.
The scorching phenomenon was discovered in the summer of 2013. If exposed to direct sunlight for a length of time, the tower acts as a concave mirror creating a glare that is reportedly powerful enough to fry eggs and melt the bodywork of cars.
ON THE RADAR
04 03 SWEDEN UNVEILS 3XN-DESIGNED BANK HQ Architecture firm 3XN has completed the 45,000m2 HQ building for 2,500 employees of Swedbank in Sundbyberg, a suburb of Stockholm. The new building features an unusual triple-v structure, which 3XN hopes will become
a landmark among the country’s office buildings. According to 3XN’s Kim Herforth Nielsen, principal and creative director, the triple-v solution means that employees are located closer to each other on undisturbed working islands
than in a traditional office wing. Besdies an open-plan office, the two lower floors contain a restaurant, conference facilities and a reception area. The open glass facades emphasise the semipublic functions and Swedbank’s openness to its surroundings.
04 GYMNASTICS ARENA LAUNCHED IN BAKU The National Gymnastics Arena in Baku, designed by Broadway Malyan, has been inaugurated by the president of Azerbaijan. The 9,000-seat, $200m arena is one of the rare bespoke gymnastics venues in the world and can host all gymnastics disciplines and other sports, aided by retractable and movable seating tiers which can vary capacity. It features a training hall for the national Azerbaijan gymnastics team, which can be integrated into the main arena space, in addition
to accommodation facilities and medical suites. The design symbolises the country’s gymnastics heritage and is inspired from the ribbon of rhythmic gymnasts, featuring three ribbon louvres to control daylight and solar gain and create views. At night, dynamic lighting makes the arena appear as three ribbons in Azerbaijan’s national colours ﬂuttering over a stone plinth, with the lighting also enabling the projection of displays and dynamic imagery.
THE BACK PAGE
Jagmeet Bola works for John R Harris & Partners (JRHP), the firm behind the Dubai World Trade Centre
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…
“It’s always nice to get the balance of creative work with the analytical studies. Both are equally important, but it’s knowing where the focus lies on any given day.”
JAGMEET BOLA SENIOR ARCHITECT AND MASTERPLANNER, JRHP
5.30am The day starts with a noisy alarm and a quick run round the block, before helping the kids to eat breakfast and go to school. I then drive to work. 7.45am I often come before the rest of the office, get some coffee and check my emails. 8.15am The week begins with the usual meeting with directors and senior staff to monitor current projects, proposals, office matters and so on. It keeps everyone in the loop on what others are doing. 9.15am This is the time I get to brief the junior staff. I also get my own tasks for the day completed. Meetings are organised to allow consultants and staff to use the feedback productively during the day.
12.30pm Either lunch in the office with everyone at a shared table or a few of us get spoiled at a local restaurant if time is available. 1.30pm More coffee and more design work or administration. It’s always nice to get the balance of creative work with the analytical studies. Both are equally important, but it’s knowing where the focus lies on any given day. Then it’s about using the information to provide a design solution for any given project. 3.30pm Around this time, there is always some sort of review of a project or a catch up with staff members to either go over a design or give direction. Often this can be with feedback from other members of staff, if there is an objective input that can be given.
6.00pm The majority of the office staff will have left by now, but some of us will stay on past this time if deadlines are on, or if the day’s work needs to be commented or marked up. 7.00pm If I’m home before 7pm, I catch dinner with the family and it’s lights out for them by 8pm at the latest. I often follow my other pursuits – video editing, DJing or graphic design – during this time. They are a counterbalance to the more pragmatic work of architecture and masterplanning. 8.30pm If I have come late, I will sit down for a movie and dinner with my wife. 10.30pm I'll quickly check my personal emails, Facebook and LinkedIn, and make sure it’s time out by 11pm.
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