Today we introduce to you our counterpart, an architecture think tank called ‘Young Architects Forum, Dubai’ (YAF’D) based in Dubai. Started by Sanmita Patel, a practicing architect, the initiative aims to bring together professionals and academics interested in the architecture of Dubai. Since its inception in September last year, Sanmita has brought together professionals from within the field and other interested people who actively meet every month to discuss growth and impact of architecture in city. Currently, YAF’D is gaining momentum on the social platform ‘Meet Up’ and is a great opportunity for networking or just learning about new places in Dubai. Having attended their events in the past, we were very excited when the last one chose to discuss the topic of sustainability.
As part of ‘DiA’ (Dialogues in Architecture) Series, YAF’D invited Environmentalist Ahmed Alanzi to talk about the meaning of sustainability in the region. He started off by stating that sustainability is both a new and old concept in this region. Having worked as a Marine Biodiversity Policy Analyst at the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Ahmed is a blogger also interested in Art, Architecture and Culture Making. His affable and energetic personality helped with the informal and participatory nature of event. Energy efficiency, reducing wastage, raising awareness and promoting an inclusive community were some of the main issues highlighted when it came to talking about ‘sustainability’. He commended the job done by the government in ensuring long term happiness of its residents and felt that this will be the key to positive sustainable growth in the future.
During the discussion it was also highlighted that some of the urban projects are caught up in keeping up with the luxurious and wholesome image of Dubai as a city and are seldom sustainable in their core. Changing a trend of development that is based on rapid growth and expansion, is a difficult one. For professionals in the field, a lot of the time it is not enough to just adopt guidelines published by Estidama and LEED – the thought process of designers should prolific from the very beginning. Eco – design and sustainability should not be looked at as just a trend, but a holistic approach that takes into account all stages of the cycle. As an Environmental Scientist, Mr. Ahmed talked about the potential for designers to draw inspiration from nature. Biomimicry in architecture is quite often talked about when it comes to adopting a wholesome approach. A flawless design in his opinion doesn’t compromise on the design or function while not causing any harm to the environment, on its own.
We were pleasantly surprised by everyone’s enthusiasm and perception about the topic. It was an inspiring and informative evening for all attending. We hope to engage in more of such discussions in the future!