B+H outlines a strategic approach to the future of cities

By 2030, two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities and the area covered by cities could triple, according to a 2016 U.N. report. Equally as fascinating is the fact that we likely won’t see the most growth and development in the world’s largest cities, but rather in our globe’s small- and medium-sized urban centres. There’s no question that we’re currently undergoing a rapid pace of development that requires a fresh and strategic approach. After all, we’re planning and building tomorrow’s
cities, today.

Local design qualities related to climate, materials and traditional townscapes combined with cultural symbols and decorative calligraphy, are echoed in the modern architecture for the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Qatar. Made up of a complex of buildings, people and places are linked by a network of pathways, gardens and courtyards to create a strong sense of community.

While we can try to adopt a forward-friendly perspective, in a time of progressive change, it’s inherently impossible to predict the future. But, while we don’t know what’s coming, we do know the experiences and places that make people happy, healthy and prosperous haven’t changed in millennia. The need for safe housing, accessibility, quality education and clean air and water – these basic building blocks for strong communities remain the same.

At B+H, we do things differently. We work with our clients to ask the right questions – the tough questions – to get us thinking outside of what’s assumed and expected. When we dig deep, we can pair qualitative insight with emerging trends and statistics to innovate and raise the bar on design. We know that as things around us shift, we need to explore what that means for our clients and the future of cities, communities and economies.

The master plan for Lu’Luat Island in Al Raha Beach marks a new approach to community development in Abu Dhabi. The project is high-density with low-rise design – oriented to activities and amenities at grade level. Pedestrian-oriented and accessible, public realms feature walkways, parks, waterfronts, and friendly streets that create a new model for community living in the region.

Our teams put people first. When we understand how change impacts people, we can plan small adaptations that have transformative and positive impacts on our daily lives. At B+H, we’re expert navigators. We set our clients up for success through a bold approach to resilient frameworks, systems, and strategies that reduce risk, optimise performance, and
add value.

We combine qualitative insight, scenario development and strategic design thinking to find integrated solutions that fuse regional and urban planning with landscape and building architecture to tell each development’s unique story. Solutions that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable and benefit future generations and communities.

The master plan for the large new Ministry of Housing development outside of Taif, Saudi Arabia, embraces the site’s topography and wadi network to define a low-impact solution to storm water drainage requirements. A network of public parks, recreational linkages and a clear orientation to amenities tie the community together and lend character and identity to the residential clusters that compose individual neighbourhoods.

This was produced by B+H Architects for Middle East Architect’s April 2018 issue.

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