How the Hancock Center and Tube Structures Changed Skyscraper History

. In the 1960s, engineer Fazlur R. Khan, working for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), proposed a new way for tall buildings to support themselves.   Instead of relying upon a conventional steel frame system, he pushed most of the structural elements to the perimeter, so that the entire building would behave structurally as a…

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Documentary: Arab Women in Architecture

  “Arab Women in Architecture” is a documentary film featuring interviews with 19 architects from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia.   Produced in connection with the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Architectural Design in 2013, the 56-minute film explores the subject of the practice of architecture by Arab women architects and…

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8 Features of the Vernacular Architecture of the Hejaz

  The idea of “vernacular architecture” might initially conjure images of Italian hill town plazas or the whitewashed, blue-trimmed houses of Sidi bou-Said, Tunisia. Fewer people are familiar with the vernacular architecture of Saudi Arabia’s western region, called the Hejaz, which was the subject of a significant research project by Omrania.   Our team found…

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Salam Park: Activating the Landscape

  Riyadh, once an ancient oasis settlement, is now a modern metropolis, but it has not forgotten its green roots. At the heart of the city lies Salam Park, designed by Omrania with Aukett Fitzroy Robinson, an urban oasis that represents a breakthrough in environmental planning and design for Riyadh.   Since opening in 2003,…

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Expo 67 and the Promise of New Technology

  “A great World’s Fair,” according to Museum of Modern Art curator Paola Antonelli, “is a plausible fantasy based on the impact of science and technology on society.” The 1967 International and Universal Exposition, known as Expo 67, which opened to the public on 27 April 1967 and attracted more than 50 million visitors to…

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The Evolution of Mosque Architecture

  Mosques are more than places of worship — they are community gathering spaces that take a variety of forms depending on their cultural and environmental context. Since the foundation of Islam in the seventh century CE, the architecture of mosques has reflected the various roles they have played in Muslim society, including educational, civic, ceremonial,…

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The GOSI building and the inception of Omrania

  In 1973, in the context of a rapidly growing Riyadh, Mr. Basem Shihabi teamed with Mr. Nabil Fanous to enter a limited design competition for the new headquarters of the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI). Their proposal for a modern yet timeless building won the competition, leading them to open a small atelier…

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Engineering a City of Bridges

  The hilltop city of Constantine, Algeria, perched on a plateau 640 meters above sea level, has long been shaped by its extreme topography. Bisected by the gorge of the Rhumel River, it is known as the “City of Bridges,” with the ancient citadel or “kasbah” on one side and the modern city on the…

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Adaptation and Innovation – CMA Tower, Riyadh

  This is one in a series of blog posts covering the intelligent, functional, and sustainable features of the Capital Market Authority (CMA) building, an 80-story class-A office skyscraper designed as a joint venture by Omrania and HOK, currently under construction, which establishes a new architectural and engineering benchmark for Riyadh while transforming the city’s…

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Richard Neutra’s vision for a more livable modernism

  Today we honor the legacy of Richard J. Neutra (April 8, 1892—April 16, 1970), the architect whose approach to modern architecture and landscape reflects the ideals of health and livability.   Much more so than many of his early-modernist peers, Neutra, sought to bring the natural world into architecture. His many built works, together…

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Phase 1 completed of King Abdulaziz Camels Festival

  Infrastructure construction works are completed for phase 1 of the Camel Heritage Village in Riyadh.   The campus is designed to become a home for the largest camel festival in the Kingdom. Design and construction works were accelerated to get the place ready within a 2-months time frame to host the 2017 Camel Beauty…

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Nabil Fanous, co-founder of Omrania, passes away

Nabil Fanous 1940 – 2017   It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Nabil Fanous, co-founder of Omrania and a distinguished architect who made vital contributions to the places and people touched by his work.  On behalf of the team of Omrania, we wish to offer our sincere condolences and…

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