How Mass Timber Is Making Wood Construction Viable Again

. Thanks to new innovations in wood construction, one of the oldest building materials may become the building material of the future. “Mass timber” products such as glued laminated timber and cross-laminated timber are being used for increasingly large structures. They offer environmental and cost benefits — and they don’t burn like ordinary wood.   Although…

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Water Management: How the Ancient Nabataeans Built a Desert Paradise

. The 2,000-year-old city of Petra, Jordan, known for the magnificent temples carved into its red sandstone cliffs, is also home to an incredible feat of hydraulic engineering. An extensive water supply system turned this ancient city into a man-made oasis supporting a substantial population.   At its peak, Petra was the thriving capital of…

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A Salute to Fumihiko Maki at 90 Years Old

. The esteemed Japanese architect continues to produce warmly modern buildings that blur influences from the East and West. His thoroughly modern design sensibility is tempered by a regard for the human scale, as seen in the traditional architecture of his home country.   Fumihiko Maki was born in Tokyo in 1938. He experienced the…

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Omrania founder Basem Al-Shihabi speaks at the 2nd Falak Unreasonable Thinking Summit in Bahrain

. Participating in a two-day international forum intended to promote innovative thinking and creative problem-solving, Basem Al-Shihabi, the Managing Director of Omrania, shared insights from his early career as well as current projects that transcend ordinary thinking.   The second edition of the ‘Falak Unreasonable Thinking Summit’ was hosted by Falak Consulting, a Bahrain-based strategy…

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Book Review: Construction Matters

. Construction Mattersproposes that architects consciously think about spatial design as an expression of technological innovation.   The thesis of Construction Mattersis clearly established by its openings sentence. “The materials of construction establish the essential shape and character of architectural space.” Author Georg Windeck suggests that innovations related to four elemental materials — brick, concrete,…

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The Multiple Meanings of Function in Architecture

  The importance of function has been enshrined in architecture since ancient times. But what is the nature of that function? We identify five distinct kinds of function that can, at best, be interwoven through skillful design.   The primacy of function in architectural design appeared as early as the 2,000-year old treatise by Vitruvius,…

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Omrania Participates in 2018 Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference

. The 13th installment of the international conference, attended by six Omrania partners and senior Directors, reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to the goals of Vision 2030. Architecture and sustainable urban planning remain central to the nation’s ambitious economic development framework.   Omrania was pleased to attend the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference in Riyadh on 2-3…

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Muqarnas: Geometric Ornament in the Service of Dome Design

  The muqarnas, rooted in function, became a powerful sculptural element in Islamic architecture, yielding beautifully intricate compositions of solid and void. Ancient and medieval craftsmen learned to achieve breathtaking results by applying three-dimensional geometric patterns to the underside of domes, half-domes, and vaults.   At first glance, it seems that the muqarnas could almost…

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Designing a Civic Landmark: the Saudi Embassy in Jordan

  Overlooking Amman from a terraced hilltop site, the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Jordan forms a diplomatic “acropolis” that reflects an ideal of timeless dignity.   Omrania was honored to receive the commission to design the Saudi Embassy in Amman. The embassy’s Classically bold design is animated by a series…

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Omrania Projects Shortlisted for 2018 Arab Architects Awards

. Omrania’s Saudi Embassy in Amman and Riyadh Hilton Hotel and Furnished Apartments were selected to compete for the top prize in their respective categories. The preliminary jury was held on 6 July 2018 in Beirut, Lebanon.   Managing Director Mr. Basem Al-Shihabi of Omrania was notified by representatives of the Federation of Lebanese Engineers…

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Green Walls: How Technology Brings Nature Into Architecture

. Architects are collaborating more and more creatively with botanists to create vertical gardens and true living walls in which plants can thrive without soil—enhancing the architecture and the environment. By Peter Bogaczewicz, Senior Architect There was a time, not too long ago, when the sight of plants climbing up walls or emerging from building…

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‘Spaces in Between’ Brings KSA Architecture to Venice Biennale

. The architecture and built environment of Saudi Arabia takes the international stage with the inaugural KSA pavilion at the 2018 International Architecture exhibition at the Venice Biennale. The presentation, organized by the Misk Art Institute, explores the possibilities for activating spaces of cities and buildings.   For its first-ever national contribution to the Venice…

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