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Resilient Design Explored at Leaders in Architecture MENA Summit

Resilient Design Explored at Leaders in Architecture MENA Summit

With new catastrophes we have had to deal with and new technologies that we as humans embrace, it is inevitable that designers and architects will put two and two together and reconsider the way things are done by thinking outside the proverbial box. When homo sapiens first decided to stop living in caves and started creating their own habitations, they had new forces to deal with. They had to quickly develop their creative problem solving skills to find solutions for the new issues they were facing when it came to building and the external environment.

Back in our era, 250 government entities, developers, C- level architects and interior designers representing over 10 countries of the MENA region will be meeting at the summit, "Leaders in Architecture MENA,” to discuss how resilience will ultimately affect the way we build and the future of our planet. Resilient design is the method to make buildings ultimately sustainable and make sure that they will be able to withstand the test of time and keep up with the world’s changes. It is defined by the Resilient Design Institute as "the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to vulnerabilities to disaster and disruption of normal life”. This was the big word on everybody’s lips after the enormous devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. 

It’s all about evolving and doing things in a better way so that each metropolis adapts to its own external environment. We have to adapt to our current environmental situations as well as forecast for future conditions that that might affect our multi-million dollar structures and infra-structures. The biggest debate over the last few years has been global warming and the rise of the oceans. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), who evaluated data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), they have confirmed that the sea levels are slowly on the rise. This process will become more rapid due to gases released from melting ice caps and carbon emissions which trap heat within the atmosphere. Smaller ice caps reflect less sunlight and allow the ocean to absorb more warmth. Escalating to all this is the fact that water expands when it is warmed. So by how much will the water rise? Many people are debating this, with a recent study saying between 0.8 and 2 meters by 2100 or up to 7 meters if the Greenland ice sheet melts according to the Cambridge University Press, this is enough to submerge London. 

So how will this affect Dubai and the Middle East and what techniques can we employ to design buildings so that our grandchildren can enjoy and prosper from our efforts today? One simple but effective answer is the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston in the U.S. This Hospital was designed by Perkins + Will which was also awarded LEED Gold. What makes this hospital unique is, its important mechanicals are housed in the very top floor and this prevents any damage or power outages that might occur due to flooding or storm surges. In such an event the hospital will be able to stay powered and take care of its hundreds of patients who depend on its functionality. It is sometimes minor alterations like this that can be the difference between sink or swim, mortal or immortal. It’s survival of the fittest and the fittest will be designed resiliently. Leaders in Architecture MENA seeks to address issues that might hinder our progress as a society by forecasting foreseeable challenges and finding solutions to optimize our building and design methods.