13 April 2009

Greetings from Dubai: Design, Environment, and Impressions of a New Middle East

This upcoming Wednesday 04/15 we will be honored to welcome:

Stuart D. Appel, ASLA, RLA, , wellsappel. Planning, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design

Greetings from Dubai: Design, Environment, and Impressions of a New Middle East

Dubai and Doha are major cities in the Persian Gulf whose historic importance as port towns has been modest for centuries. Traditionally nomadic tribes, the people of this sparsely populated desert region have oral traditions, which leave little history to print, and few building traditions which express their culture or environment.

The relatively recent discovery of oil and natural gas has however, changed all of this. With the creation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971 and the Gulf Cooperation Council soon thereafter, the modest cities of Dubai and Doha have grown in profoundly different ways. They share however a regional and international influence, which in less then twenty years has been remarkable.

The pace and scale of development in both cities has occurred at a rate unprecedented in world history. Some of it is thoughtful and embracing the best lessons of design and sustainability that the international design community has to offer. Much of it unfortunately is not. The absence of
historical context, building traditions, urban experience, and ecological priority has resulted (in my humble opinion) in a search for design identity. While this exploration is healthy and necessary, the rush to build has not afforded the time required to find the "self".

"Greetings from Dubai" will present an overview of what has occurred, what is planned and some of the challenges and opportunities facing the local population, the international community and the environment.

As the senior principal of Wells Appel, Stuart Appel's unique approach to his work seeks to merge the logic of planning, the art of design and the science of ecology. His practice requires a regional understanding of context, culture, and natural systems in the creation of landscapes, which are sustainable and compelling. His three decades of work suggest that great places, which are noteworthy and memorable, are designed and sustained, through a genuine understanding of and respect for the community's values, history and context. http://www.wellsappel.com/

Time: 4:00-5:15 PM
Location: Cook Douglass Lecture Hall 110.

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