Landscape architecture and creating attractive spaces between buildings is becoming more of a factor in design across the Middle East.
Dubai, especially, has been viewed as a collection of neighbourhoods which each stand alone and apart from one another but inter-connectivity and public plazas and parks are now viewed as increasingly important.
Developments such as The Beach increasingly emphasise the human factor in design and provide areas for a greater degree of social interaction.
Other recent Dubai projects which emphasise connectivity include City Walk.
Salim Hussain of Atkins said: “The space between buildings is critical as this is where the full cultural breadth of the city is experienced. It is somewhere everyone can be present and so the space needs to be many things for many people.”
Architects James Rose and Garrett Eckbo, colleagues at Harvard in the USA during the 1930s, were the original pioneers of a movement which adopted ideas about space from artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and from architectural ideas based on Mies van der Rohe’s free plan, which called for flexibility in design and buildings to be arranged in a way which best suited people.
Rose saw landscape as an integral part of architecture. He said: “In pure landscape, we drop the structural shell and the volume is defined by earth, paving, water and ground cover; foliage, walls, structures and other vertical elements on the sides, and sky, branching and roofing above.”
Proper masterplanning is the best way to ensure connectivity in design, according to Pedram Rad of U + A Architects, which is based in Dubai.
“In older times cities grew organically,” he said. “So parks and open spaces were part of that process.