Contemporary architects can learn a lot of useful techniques from traditional architecture in the Middle East region, according to Eng. Rashad Bukhash, director of the Architectural Heritage department, Dubai Municipality.
He added that the ‘green architecture’ propagated by municipalities nowadays and by Masdar in Abu Dhabi is present in buildings that existed 50 years ago.
“We have a very harsh, hot and humid climate; I believe that traditional architecture suited 90% of the climate in various ways,” he added.
He pointed to the use of porous coral stones, which worked as an insulated wall to increase cooling inside structures. Another cooling material is mud bricks, especially used in Hatta and the inner regions of the UAE.
Gypsum, Eng. Bukhash said, is a better option than concrete or reinforced iron, as the latter can rust in 30 or 40 years.
“So just to compare, these [traditional] buildings can stay for 100 or 200 years easily with a little bit of maintenance, but modern buildings, especially the ones that were built in 1960s or 70s, most of them were demolished because they cannot resist the hot and humid climate,” he added.
“Lot of things can be learned by modern architects,” he concluded.