It's important to implement innovation in the design process and work towards creating smart buildings and automation.
(Orginally published in Khaleej Times on November 7, 2017. Article by Leila M.Asl, The Founder and Design Director of BMA Studio)
With rising populations and intensified economic activities, the region is increasingly looking for more sustainable ways of constructing buildings and cities.
There has been a growing focus on the importance of creating properties that are smarter and more energy-efficient, particularly in the case of Dubai. They key to this, we believe, starts with the development of individual homes and assets.
A decade ago, Dubai had one of the largest ecological footprints of any city in the world. By 2050, it wants to have the lowest. Is this achievable? We believe it is.
If we create more sustainable buildings, we will have smarter cities that are more environmentally friendly, more energy-efficient and better connected.
Environmental improvement now prominently features in national plans such as Dubai Plan 2021 and Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, as well as a number of commercial strategies in the UAE. The significance of developing sustainable solutions for future generations is of undeniable importance. Guiding more investment towards research and development, innovation and advanced technologies in architecture and construction should be given exceptional priority.
So, what does this mean in reality?
For architects and designers, it is now critical that we take into account at the very start of the process the environmental impact the construction will have on the surrounding area. As well as the long-term sustainability of the project, it is also important to think about how the property can be as energy-efficient as possible from the beginning.
Globally, there have been some incredible innovations that are inspiring designers to think creatively about sustainability. For example, the Hanover Olympic building in Los Angeles was designed with a series of solar-powered apartments built with sustainable materials like recycled glass and reclaimed wood. The building is L.A.'s first net-zero residential space and actually sends power back to the city's utility grid.
According to the United Nations Environment Program, energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 30 to 80 per cent using proven and commercially available technologies.
We are seeing steps in the right direction in our region. For example, the Dubai Municipality enacted the 'Green Building Regulations & Specification' in alignment with its Strategic Plan. Mandatory for the private sector since March 1, 2014, the Green Building Regulations apply to all buildings in the city, including those in free trade zones.
New green construction creates incredible opportunities in developing countries, where population growth and urbanisation drive building and construction activities. Investment in building energy efficiency translates into direct and indirect savings, offering a small return on investment. As such, building sustainably will result in healthier and more productive environments. Dubai's Green Concrete initiative is expected to have an estimated saving of Dh192 billion for the emirate because of the extended durability of the buildings.
In line with Dubai's vision to be a smart city, I think it's important that we implement innovation in the design process and work towards creating smart buildings and automation. For example, we use building information modelling in all the projects we undertake, which insures a quality and quickness of constructing a building, in addition to the right management.
It's important that we create buildings that are good for people, planet and profit putting precedence on developing a more sustainable building industry.
Our approach to sustainability goes beyond energy efficiency and "green" buildings and projects; it focuses on sustainable procurement, supply chains and overall construction policy.
If we recognise the importance of protecting the environment and using building materials and methods responsibly, we will in turn create cities that are greener, smarter and happier than ever.
-Article by Leila M.Asl
The boutique architect firm was recognised for four of its UAE projects at the awards. BMA Studio was named among the most innovative, exceptional and ambitious projects of 2016, representing their country on a national stage at the Dubai awards ceremony.
BMA Studio offers comprehensive services in architecture, interior design and landscape design for residential, commercial, and institutional clients. The firm maintains a diversified practice and has developed expertise in mixed use apartment buildings as well innovative single-use architectural design concepts.
While devoted to small- and medium-scale, projects it has extensive experience in both residential and commercial new developments with an emphasis on single residence, retail and mixed-use architecture. The firm has completed projects in Dubai, Sharjah and Morocco and looks to the future in expanding their international capability.
TBMA Studio was highly commended for four of their projects: The Al Barsha Residence, a multiple residence architectural project located in Dubai, The Jumeirah Bay Island Beach House and The Atrium & Farm House, both single residences in Dubai and Sharjah, respectively, and The Sharjah Showroom for its retail unit located in Sharjah.
Co-founder Khalifa Al Suwaidi said: “As a young architectural firm, we share the same vision and have set our sights firmly on proving our creative strengths on a global stage. We have worked hard through our startup phase and faced many challenges, so it gives us immense pride to be the recipient of four prestigious awards.”
Managing partner Leila Mohammadi Asl said: “We do not just design buildings, we propose ways of living in a given culture, creating iconic buildings that stand out in simplicity, functionality and sophisticated aesthetic appeal. Through our designs we aim to enhance quality of life without compromising the design. Every project is a unique challenge and winning this prize shows us that we are on the right path, that our architecture matters.”