The small details of a project’s design are what bring it all together

This issue of Middle East Architect looks at doors, windows and façades – elements of a building’s exterior that, when done properly, not only tie a project’s design together, but also highlight what smart design really looks like.

“Façades give buildings a superior look,” said Muhammed Kazi, the exhibition director of dmg events’ Windows, Doors & Façades, running from 25 to 27 September. “The key factor expected to drive the façades industry is the need to lower heating and air-conditioning costs, and achieve greater energy efficiency.”

The technology advancements being made in the sector is astonishing – there’s so much to respond to from energy efficiency to fire safety, and doors, windows and façades are a growing part of a building’s efficiency.

During a site visit to Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi last month for MEA’s special report on education design, the architects at RSP highlighted the use of fire safety doors that automatically shut during an emergency. Though they can be opened, the doors’ ability to respond to a fire emergency by hindering the spread of smoke and fire, providing extra time for those inside to reach safety, is a prime example of the market’s growing intelligence.

Recently, too, students from the interior design department at the American University in Dubai took part in a competition to design lever handles for Foster + Partners’ ‘Mobility Pavilion’ for the Dubai Expo 2020. The university had collaborated with security and access solutions firm Dormakaba to create its design proposals.

While first prize went to Salwa Hassan, who emphasised the tactile nature of design in her work, focusing on organic forms, Lena Kinj took home second place for her wave-like patterns that correspond to the position of one’s fingers when touching a door handle.

The design of doors, windows and façades is always tied to their function – and creating innovative products that highlight the importance of the end-user’s experience is what the industry is all about.

This issue introduces our readers to a handful of suppliers that work in different areas of the umbrella sector, like ISEO, Technal and Geze. Additionally, we take a look at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, which uses a special glass façade. And our last word examines the strength of the growing sector in the GCC, informing readers what to expect over the next 10 years.

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