Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Outlook Magazine

Our Al-Hakawati was featured in the June issue of The Outlook Magazine; a popular monthly magazine about creativity, lifestyle, fashion, design and culture, with 180,000 monthly readers all over China. www.theoutlookmagazine.com .

"The Outlook Magazine is a high quality men’s magazine targeting at the successful male business executives. In about two years, it has already successfully established its unique position among the men’s magazine categories in China and has become the standard of high quality. It is a monthly must-read for those who are pursuing new knowledge and visions in various aspects of our daily lives through a brand new perspective."

You can order the June issue here if you're interested;

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gulf Life

Our project Al-Hakawati is featured in the latest issue of Gulf Life, the distinguished in-flight magazine of Gulf Air with a monthly readership of 600,000 people.
It contains a wide-ranging mix of features relating to Gulf Air destinations worldwide, with a particular emphasis on the Gulf region and the Middle East.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The VD Guide VI

Visiondivision gives you a brief tour of inspiring projects and phenomenon around the world.If you have more suggestions, dont hesitate to contact us at: info@visiondivision.com For more VD Guide >>> http://www.visiondivision.com/
Maho Beach - A tropical beach with jumbojet's landing a couple of metres from you
Birth: 1970s
Location: Maho Beach, St Maarten/St Martin
Architect: Unknown
VD says: Beauty and danger is always a great combo.

Saint Martin is a tropical island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately 300 km east of Puerto Rico. The island is divided roughly in half between France and the Netherlands Antilles; it is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations.
The island is served by many major airlines that bring in large jet aircrafts, including Boeing 747's and Airbus A340's carrying tourists from across the world on a daily basis. The short length of the main runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, and its position between a large hill and a beach causes some spectacular approaches.
Aviation photographers flock to the airport to capture pictures of large jets just a couple of metres above sunbathers on Maho Beach.

The Tiger Temple - A sanctuary for tigers overseen by thai monks
Birth: 1999
Location: Thailand
Architect: Thai monks
VD says: Our wildlife heart loves these kind of things.

The Tiger Temple was founded in 1994 as a forest monastery and sanctuary for numerous wild animals. According to the abbot and others associated with the temple, in 1999, the temple received the first tiger cub, it had been found by villagers and died soon after. The story goes that several tiger cubs were later given to the temple over time, typically when the mothers had been killed by poachers. As of 2007, over 21 cubs have been born at the temple and the total number of tigers is about 12 adult tigers and 4 cubs.
They spend most of the time in cages, being fed with cooked chicken, beef and dry cat food. The meat is boiled to avoid giving the tigers a taste for blood. The tigers are washed and handled by Thai monks, and once a day they are walked on leashes to a nearby quarry. Originally they would roam around freely in this area but now, with the increase in visitors and the amount of tigers who sit in the canyon, they are chained for safety reasons.

The Marsh Arabs - Outcasts in an Iraqui swamp
Birth: Thousand years ago or so
Location: Tigris-Euphrates marshlands in the south and east of Iraq and along the Iranian border.
Architect: The Marsh Arabs
VD says: They live in a malaria infested swamp shared with wolves, which Saddam Hussein later tried to drain, causing one of the worst ecological disasters on planet Earth, but still manage to create architecture with flair.

The Marsh Arabs (Maadan) has developed a unique culture centred around the marshes' natural resources.
Most Marsh Arabs lives in arched reed houses. The typical dwelling is usually a little more than 2 meters wide, about 6 meters long, and a little less than three meters high, and was either constructed at the waterside or on an artificial island of reeds called a kibasha; a more permanent island of layered reeds and mud was called a dibin. Houses had entrances at both ends and a screen in the middle; one end was used as a dwelling and the other end was used to shelter animals in bad weather. The marsh environment meant that certain diseases, such as bilharzia and malaria, were endemic; Maadani agriculture and homes were also vulnerable to periodic droughts and flooding.
After the people of the marshes rose against Saddam Hussein, he began drying the marshes by channeling water away from them and directly into the Shatt el Arab. Most of the inhabitants were killed or fled to Iran, so that only 40,000 of the original 250,000 to 500,000 people remained. In the first four years, Saddam drained 60 percent of the marsh; today only 7 percent remains.
According to a report made by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2001, the marshlands that once covered between 5,800 and 7,700 square miles now comprised just 386 square miles. UNEP ranked the destruction of the marsh with the desiccation of the Aral Sea and the deforestation of the Amazon as one of the worst environmental disasters in history.
But the Marsh Arabs continues to live their lives.

Sanjieliu (or 'Human's Masterpiece Cooperated with the God')- Immense show with the surrounding landscape as its stage
Birth: 2004
Location: Li River, China
Architect: The Sanjieliu team
VD says: Great concept, great effort!

This is the world largest natural theater which utilizes the waters of the Li River as its stage, with twelve mist shrouded hills and the heavens as its backdrop. Mist, rain, moonlight, the hills and their inverted reflections in the river all become the ever-changing natural background. Its auditorium is housed on the natural islands of the river with the audience standing on the designed terraces, surrounded by green plants. The sound equipment here cannot be seen because it is in harmony with the natural environment. The valleys, the hills, the cool breeze and the streams are all elements contributing to the three-dimensional sound effect. Day by day, different weather offers different sceneries with the four seasons refreshing the performance as well, so you will have unique experience every time you watch it. The creators call this humbly- 'Human's Masterpiece Cooperated with the God'.
The performance is divided into seven chapters including the preface and epilogue. Each chapter has its own colors and effects. The peformance lasts for 70 minutes and 600 plus actors and actress are involved.

Maijishan - A temple complex incorporated with a mountain
Birth: 4th century
Location: Gansu Province, China
Architect: Various dynasties
VD says: Another of mankinds early showoffs, we like it.

Located Southeast of Tianshyui City in Gansu Province on a 142 meters high hill named Maijishan, meaning "Wheat-pile Hill". Work on the grottoes started in the late 4th century and continued through successive dynasties until the 19th century. There are 194 existing caves, in which are preserved more than 7,000 sculptures made of terra cotta and over 1,000 square meters of murals. Earthquakes, rain and fire have damaged a large part of the caves and wooden structures. But still worth a visit!

Egyptian Pigeon Towers - A tower for cultivating pigeons
Birth: ancient times
Location: Egypt, USA
Architect: Egptian farmers
VD says: Building structures for animals is or favorite topic.

Pigeon towers are very common in the Egyptian country side and goes way back into ancient times. They are homes for pigeons to live and roam freely. Pots and pipes are cemented together in horizontal layers with some of them opening to the outside of the tower and others to the inside. Inside the tower there is either a ladder or a stairway by means of which the owner can climb up to claim the squabs (young feathered pigeons who are not yet flying) to confine them and fatten them up for eating. Pigeon is eaten stuffed with either rice or whole wheat or it is grilled or made into casseroles. They are a dark meat bird and very tasty. Most pigeons that have any colour plumage other than the feral dark greyish blue (the wild rock dove) are owned by someone in Egypt because they are so easy to raise.

Setenil de las Bodegas - A town with a complex physical connection with the surrounding cliffs.
Birth: around 13th century
Location: Setenil, Span
Architect: Unknown
VD says: Fascinating

Named after its once flourishing wineries - bodegas - Setenil is probably unique among the pueblos blancos,white villages, of Andalucia. Where most pueblos blancos were built on protective bluffs and pinnacles, this town grew out of a network of caves in the cliffs above the rio Trejo north-west of Ronda. Its blinding white houses seem to emerge from the rocks, and some have rock roofs and even olive groves on their roofs.

Lake Moraine - Picture perfect lake with a high grizzly activity
Birth: A long time ago
Location: Alberta, Canada
Architect: Earth
VD says: Probably our favourite remote Canadian lake

Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 1,885 m. The lake has a surface area of 0.5 square kilometres.
The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinct shade of blue. The color is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis.
Moraine Lake is well known for the multitude of grizzlies that inhabit the surrounding valley. For this reason, the park may require you to hike in groups of six, and may occasionally close off trails completely.

Mirny Diamond Mine - A man made hole of immense proportions
Birth: 1955-
Location: Mirny, Russia
Architect: Russian Mining Corporation
VD says: Enormous excavations are always interesting, especially this one.

The Mirny Diamond Mine, which operated from 1955 through 2004, is one of the world's largest mines. The mine is so deep that the surrounding air zone is closed for helicopters after a few accidents when they were sucked in by downward air flow. It would take a truck two hours to drive from the bottom of the mine to the lip.

Maison à Bordeaux - Modern masterpiece villa
Birth: 1998
Location: Bordeaux, France
Architect: OMA
VD says: One of the greatest villas in modern time

"A couple lived in a very old, beautiful house in Bordeaux. They wanted a new house, maybe, a very simple house. They were looking at different architects.Then, the husband had a car accident. He almost died, but he survived. Now he needs a wheelchair.Two years later, the couple began to think about the house again. Now the new house could liberate the husband from the prison that their old house and the medieval city had become."Contrary to what you would expect” he told the architect, "I do not want a simple house. I want a complex house, because the house will define my world...”. They bought a mountain with panoramic view over the city. The architect proposed a house - or actually three houses on top of each other.The lowest one was cave-like - a series of caverns carved out from the hill for the most intimate life of the family.The highest house was divided in a house for the couple and a house for the children. The most important house was almost invisible, sandwiched in-between: a glass room - half inside, half outside - for living. The man had his own «room», or rather «station». A lift, 3 by 3.5 m. that moved freely between the 3 houses; changing plan and performance when it "locked” into one of the floors or floated above. A single «wall» intersected each house, next to the elevator. It contained everything the husband might need - books, artwork and in the cellar, wine...The movement of the elevator changed each time the architecture of the house. A machine was its heart."

Hotel Panorama - Hotel with bigger floor plans the higher up you go
Birth: 1965
Location: Strbske, Slovakia
Architect: Zdenek Rihak
VD says: Simple but with a strong concept.

Hotel Panorama is located in the village of Strbske Pleso, which is formed around the biggest tarn on the slovak side of the Vysoke Tatry Mountains. The hotel is adjacent to the train and bus station, and the lake alike. Hotel Panorama is built over a valley, so many of the rooms have a wonderful view on the High and Low Tatras.

Varanasi - One of the oldest and strangest settlements in the world.
Birth: A long time ago
Location: Varanasi
Architect: Lord Shiva
VD says: A constant religious manifestation, an epic waterfront.

Varanasi (or Benares, Banaras, Kashi), on the left bank of the Ganges, is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. It is among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, according to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, around 5,000 years ago. Mark Twain wrote: "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
Varanasi has the finest (religious) river frontage in India, with miles of ghats (steps) for bathing; an array of shrines, temples, and palaces rises tier on tier from the bank. More than a million pilgrims visit each year; many hope to die there in old age.

Oil Rocks (Neft Daşları) - A series of oil platforms interlinked as a town with 5.000 inhabitants
Birth: 1947
Location: Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan
Architect: Soviet and Azerbaijan
VD says: Dystopic Water world like. Cool and tough as hell.

The Oil Rocks is a full town on the sea, it was the first oil platform in Azerbaijan and it was built in 1947 as an exercise of Soviet and Azeri ambition. The Oil Rocks lies 45-50 km offshore on the Caspian Sea and the most distinctive feature of the Oil Rocks is that it is actually a functional city with a population of about 5,000 and over 200 km of streets built on piles of dirt and landfill. Most of the inhabitants work on shifts; a week on Oil Rocks followed by a week on the shore. The small city includes shops, school and a library.
The facility is poorly maintained, with miles of roads now submerged beneath the sea. Around some worker's dormitories, the waterline now stands at the second-floor windows. Although a full one-third of the Oil Rocks complex's 600 wells are inoperative or inaccessible, operations have continued without a significant increase in investment. The site, despite its imperfections, still produces over half of the total crude oil output of Azerbaijan.
The Richat Structure - Unique circular formation in the Sahara desert
Birth: A long time ago
Location: near Ouadane, Mauritania
Architect: Earth
VD says: Places like these makes our planet more fascinating.

The Richat Structure has attracted attention since the earliest space missions because it forms a conspicuous bull's-eye in the otherwise rather featureless expanse of the desert. The structure, which has a diameter of almost 50 kilometres, has become a landmark for space shuttle crews.
Initially interpreted as a meteorite impact structure because of its high degree of circularity, it is now thought to be a symmetrical uplift that has been laid bare by erosion.