Posted in urban planning

5 Upcoming Planned Cities In the Middle East

The Middle East is already known for  powerhouse cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Qatar, etc. One would assume cities of such scale are enough to change the economic status of a country, but turns out the country has more surprises up their sleeve.  Urban planners around the world are learning from their mistakes and trying to devise better ways to design future city models around the world. Although some are very exotic , there are cities that  can be examples for future cities.

  1.  Masdar City

    It is located near Abu Dhabi.Using solar energy and renewable sources of energy , it aims to create a self-sustaining city. From being pedestrian and cyclist friendly to introducing PRT(Personal Rapid Transport) a pod car run on batteries and magnetic tracks, the city is designed on the principles used back in the day in Cairo. Masdar City is however a smaller city compared to the other upcoming planned cities and plans to house 50,000 people and its estimated completion is 2030.

Will the city strike a new ground or remain a “Green Ghost Town” ?

2. Jeddah Economic City (Kingdom City )

Along the shores of the Red Sea , it will house the tallest building in the coming years at 1Km high , the Kingdom Tower , surpassing the Burj Khalifa.  Located conveniently between the two Holy cities of Mecca and Medina it plans to occupy 5.3 million square meters of land. The city aims to become an all-purpose point , and adding to its vitality numerous beach resorts will define the shoreline. If completed it will truly be an Urban Marvel.  Estimated completion is in 2035.

Can skyscrapers go any higher?


Will tourism face a competition from Dubai or will this new city create its own niche?

3. King Abdullah Economic City

Located near Jeddah , it is designed to be larger than Washington DC,  along the shore of the Red Sea.The city has several major components that make it a metropolis – such as a major port, an industrial zone and a big residential area and all the amenities. Aiming to create the world’s largest port and emerge as a competitor against Dubai ,this city will be Saudi Arabia’s new desert “Mega-city”. Estimated completion is in 2035.

Will this city along with its neighbors transform the Red Sea coast , turning it into a Global destination ?


4.  Khazar Islands , Azerbaijan

Also known as Caspian Islands ,  artificial islands , it is located in Baku , Azerbaijan. It will house the tallest building in the world if built , the Azerbaijan Tower as the center piece of the islands. Aimed to house 1.5 million residents , with structures able to withstand 9.0 earthquakes , it’s estimated completion is in 2025.

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The question is how is this artificial island any different from the others?

5. Madinat al-Hareer( the silk city)

Located  just opposite Kuwait City, and will feature numerous bridges, an expansive sports complex, convention centers, a mall, and a 1,001 meter skyscraper — that number chosen in allusion to “One Thousand And One Arabian Nights.” The biggest attraction for the city will be The Burj Mubarak AL-Kabir, the skyscraper made from three twisting, interlocking structures to protect it from 150 mph winds and resulting vibrations. When built it will surpass the Kingdom Tower as well. It is one of the largest mixed used developments in the world.  Being the fifth wealthiest nation in the country , despite being  small in size it aims to be a part of the other mega cities in the country.


The question is how is this artificial island any different from the others?

Saudi Arabia is one of the leading nations in the world when it comes to using some of the most advanced forms of technology and construction techniques. In other words it is a playground for architects from around the world. However , credit has to be given to the marvels being produced in the country. It is now ready to move past the oil to fuel its economy and use its next most abundant resource – the desert. At a rapid speed they are converting miles of sand into sleek, tower filled cities.

However  , how are these new artificial islands any different from the existing ones? how much higher can skyscrapers really go ? how many more buildings will use steel and concrete……….before we realize we are not doing anything different?

Because , unless we start doing something different , we are in for more of the same.










Posted in The third place concept, Thesis, Uncategorized


The third place is a concept by OLDENBURG , he says these are the places that are available on the outside of the home and work places. These are the places that we go to when we are not at home ( the first place ) or at work ( the second place ) to put aside our concerns and enjoy a conversation.

In the final year of architecture , for thesis I am exploring this topic of THE THIRD PLACE and hoping to contribute to this realm of places in my city.

While I’m not at work or at rest,                                                                                                                                                                         What’s the one thing I can do to feel at my best?                                                                                                                                             How can I renew myself and my mind?                                                                                                                                                            Where do I go? What place must I find?

Monotony, will this ever break?                                                                                                                                                                       Enjoying in clubs and restaurants how long must I fake?                                                                                                                                 The city so big , but so little things to do,                                                                                                                                                                 To find my mind space , take me someplace I can go
 So far , are the places of rock, water and sand

In the city, is it possible to find my Neverland ? 

Posted in Buffer spaces

Citizen matters : Buffer Spaces

When we think of a buffer space we associate it with an open or unbuilt space that provides relief in some way.

But are these buffer spaces actually providing relief? Or are they getting illegally encroached upon?

The CDP states that a buffer zone of 30 meters is required from the boundary of the lake, hence no construction is permitted in this buffer zone.

Are these buffer spaces being a barrier or a mediator?
Are they a necessity ?

In my opinion they are a necessity, they link, connect and provide relief in ways we are oblivious to. Buffer spaces do not have a defined function. Should we define the function?

The CDP allots certain areas for buffer spaces but they end up being anything but a buffer space. So how can buffer spaces be used ?  Should they be a mere open space or can they have a certain amount of built up?

Are we coming to a point where we need to protect these buffer spaces? 

Posted in Uncategorized

Waiting For …..


Waiting for the train to go or the bus to come, Or for the plane to go or the mail to come

Waiting for the phone to ring  , Or for the day we become king

Waiting for it to rain or snow
Or for that river to gurgle and flow
Waiting for the answer yes or no
Or for the day we can visit the places you want to go

Waiting for the day we meet the one , Or for the time we achieve a home run
Waiting for the good news,  Or for the day we don’t give ourselves an excuse


Waiting for the light to change from red , Or for the roads that lie ahead
Waiting for our health to get better , Or for the that acceptance letter

Waiting for the day we can retire , Or to feel inspired
Waiting for the right guidance to come our way , Or for the day everything will be okay

Waiting for those fights to end , Or for the day we won’t have to pretend

Waiting for things to happen , we all have a queue

Or maybe we should stop waiting and just do.

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s A small world after all. (Part 2) 

For those of you who have read my previous post this poem is the shortest way I could put it down. So here goes..

In this creation of God I feel so small

The stone mass so mighty and standing so tall
We never look down to see what’s at our feet 
What’s on top, is the picture our eyes meet
We run through the day and sometimes hop

But don’t realise it wouldn’t hurt to stop

Some things are best left the way they were naturally knit

For when it comes to beauty , we are too busy trying to create it. 

Posted in Wanderlust

It’s A small world after all.

In the 6th semester of College we were given the chance to visit an abandoned quarry near the Bangalore International Airport to do a study for the design project. This was the first time I visited a quarry. We went in the wee hours of the morning.
At the entrance there were a series of stone slabs that stood between us and a part of the quarry. But we could sneak a peak and get glimpse of what visual marvels we were yet to encounter.  

As the path unfolded we entered the quarry , there was a chill nip in the air and the breeze was perfect. Right at the entrance was a huge waterbody that caught our attention, that got us wondering how many more water bodies we would discover inside and how the quarry landscaped around these water bodies. 

I sat down just to take in the space and air and it felt like a different world all together. The water near my feet , watching the fog and the silence , so new and  exhilarating and at the same time soothing.
 I was marvelled by the scale , the amazing size of those stone masses that surrounded us. It was certainly nature at its best, the fog gently floating and moving above the water bodies and the morning sun was white with the clouds in front of it, there was light but it wasn’t harsh.

Yes I got creative with the photography . Who knew the glass on the boundary walls could look so pretty? 

 Most of the quarry had boundary walls around, and they were taller than us so it was hard to see what parts of the quarry looked like from the wall, and the only way to access each part was to walk until one found an opening in the wall. However someone was kind enough to leave gaps in these walls for curious people like us to get a glimpse.

The power water has to transform a landscape is immense. Imagine if rainwater had not filled up the scooped out parts of the abandoned quarry it would merely be a white mass of stone with not much to offer.




As I stood in the middle the stone masses surrounded me , i was in awe at first, and I felt so tiny in this creation of God. We all feel we have the most number of problems in the world and everything that happens to us is so important . We make that such a big part of us that we miss out on the big picture, unfortunately. On a daily basis we encounter chairs , doors , stairs , lifts etc all for the use of humans I.e human scale but when you go to a place like this when things get literally blown out of proportion that’s when you realise the enormous scale that exists even in nature. Even the tallest man made structure or a good shopping mall can’t make you realise something or feel something like this, but even if they do it can’t be compared.

The quarry is vast and , the stones or pebbles are a  small part of the quarry. That’s how we are in this universe.

They move with the wind or go where the water takes them . Those stones and pebbles are us , right now, still finding our way. And each of those stones and pebbles want to be that huge mass of stone that towers above us and this mass of stone is strong , stable , secure independent and to whom everybody looks up to.
When anyone steps into the quarry nobody looks at the stone or pebbles down at our feet we always look at what’s  on top.

Basically all we do is run. Run through the day and our jobs and work . We are so caught up in running that we forget to pause once in a while and just be. That’s right we never notice the beauty because we are too busy trying to create it.

Posted in Uncategorized

Women In Architecture 

Women In Architecture
FL Wright, Robert Venturi ,Le Corbusier , who hasn’t heard about them right?

But how many of us have heard about each of their female partners? Since architecture became organised as a profession in the 1850s the number of women in architecture have been low. At the end of the 19th century , Finland and certain schools of architecture in Europe began to admit women into their programmes of study. It’s only in the recent years that women have gained recognition and have even won several prizes and awards in the field.However despite the fact that 40% of the graduates are women not more than 12% are estimated to be practising as licensed architects.

That’s is disappointing. So why are women leaving architecture? It is quite a concern.

I have three reasons to support that.
Firstly, woman or a man I’m sure you will agree that architecture as a profession is tough. The pay usually isn’t satisfactory and is not in proportion with the amount of effort. The studio and work hours , those crazy number of all nighters and the internship hours, not to mention the exams you need to clear in order to be certified as an architect. So yes it is tough.

Secondly, motherhood. Something most of the women can’t escape. Most of the women don’t come back to their practice instead they end up doing other things.

Lastly, let’s face it the field is male dominated. Women need to go to great lengths to establish themselves and make a lot of sacrifices.
That being said a number of women architects have teamed with men and formed husband and wife partnerships. It’s not uncommon to see that male and female students have met and later married. Long hours of working together and shared passion have been described as  the best way for things to light up.
Male-female partnerships often result in the male getting credit for all the work , cause the male is better known. However a few notable firms are

Julie Eisenberg , a successful husband and wife team focuses on solving problems using common materials and in a sustainable way. 

From Finland, Aino Aalto – Alnae Aalto, Reima and Raili.

Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier , she designed interiors and furnitures for him, she worked 10 years for him and left to concentrate on furniture design. She later recalled about how Corbusier insisted on strict adherence to his demanding principles.

Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi , they studied together in the University Of Pennsylvania , shortly after their marriage she joined his firm , after which the name of the firm changed as well. Although she played an integral role in his firm, she is resentful of the fact that she was never credited for her work. Despite their joint and equal efforts in projects, Robert Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Price in 1991.
That being said in 2013, Women In Design, a student organisation at the Harvard Design Graduate School Of Design started a petition for the Pritzker Prize to recognise Denise Scott Brown.
Women have often remained in the shadows of the male architects despite equal effort. They are usually never in the limelight and rarely appreciated. However women have never given up , they have always outdone themselves and continue to do so. There are women who have single handedly established themselves in various ways. 

Since the 2000s , women have also shown their worth and proved themselves.

In 2004 , Zaha Hadid who I’m sure you have heard of , became the first woman to win the Prtizker Prize. It was the 28th Pritzker Prize. She is known for her commitment to modernism.

In 2010, Kazuyo Seijma from Japan founded SANAA and even won the Pritzker Prize, both with her former employee.

In 2007 , Anna Heringer won the AGA Khan award for her METI Handmade school in Bangladesh built with bamboo and local materials.

Women in India are no less, in 2010 , Sheila Sri Prakash , was the first indian Architect invited to serve on the World Economic Forum’s Design Innovation Council. She is the first woman in India to have established her own firm. In 1992,she was a pioneer of environment sustainable architecture and designed a home with recycled material.
These are just a few of the many women architects out there. Women have proven themselves time and again. They have made it despite all the odds and reached for the stars.

Those of you women who are unsure if you will make it , don’t fear. 

Don’t run after the money 

don’t run after the fame 

Learn to love it and be good at your game.
In the end it doesn’t matter whether you are a male or female to be a good architect. Gender is never a determining factor about how successful you are or will be .

Like what you do and do what you like and you will be surprised how far you can go.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Few Things 2015 Taught Me

A few things 2015 taught me

1. When someone who made promises , breaks them and leaves and comes back -Apology accepted , Trust denied.

2. Everyone deserves a second chance, but not for the same mistake.

3. Life is simple, we complicate it.

4. Don’t overthink, it’s the easiest way to create our own problems.

5. What people think of you, is none of your business.

6. Never make permanent decisions on temporary feelings.

7. If someone is stupid enough to walk away , be smart enough to let go.

8. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

9. Don’t worry about the next year, or next month , think about the next 24 hours and how you would want to spend each hour, that’s how you make each day count.

10. Always remember ,once in a while ,to look up at the sky and see those millions of stars and think about what a small part of the universe we are.

11. Who says life is perfect? Its not. Don’t lose yourself in the small problems you face, or else you will miss out on the big picture.

12. Be grateful. For everything/one and anything/one.

13. Nothing is permanent, be it a good or bad situation.

14. It’s alright to say No once in a while.

15. Any relationship is a two way street.

16. Don’t run after the money, don’t run after the fame.
Learn to love it and be good at your game.

17. Don’t waste time. You can never make up for lost time.

18. Just because you are lazy to think, don’t judge. You can never know what someone else’s journey is all about.

19. You maybe smart and at the top of your game, but don’t look down upon those around you , cause they are where you were before you got here.

20. Don’t be afraid to give love, even if it doesn’t work out in the end it will feel nice to have no regrets that you tried.