ABU DHABI FROM OREGON (PART 2 OF 3)

BACK IN OREGON I DID A NUMBER OF HEAVY PAPER MODELS OF DESIGN IDEAS.   THE THEME WAS TO MAKE THE BUILDINGS APPEAR TO BE SAND DUNES COMING OUT OF THE BARREN TERRAIN. AND REINFORCE THE DESIGN  PATTERN OF THE BUILDINGS BY MOUNDING  OF SAND FROM  DREDGED  INLETS AND MAKE ROLLING WEAVING HILLS WITH NO LANDSCAPE PLANTING.

FORM STUDIES

THE INTERIORS OF THE BUILDINGS WERE POOLS WITH LUSH PLANTING AND WATER FALLS FROM THE CEILINGS INTO POOLS. THE OASIS PRINCIPLE, A COMPLETE CONTRAST TO THE OUTSIDE. LEE SHOWED SUPPORT AND GOT BEHIND THE THEME.

SAND DUNES

HOTEL WING CORRIDOR STUDY

HOTEL CENTRAL SPACE STUDY

HOTEL ELEVATION STUDY

HOTEL WING STUDY

ALL OF THE BUILDINGS HAD CONTINUOUS ROOF WIND SCOOPS TO SUCK THE AIR OF THE  DIRECTED  GULF BREEZES THROUGH A THIN GRAY WATER MIST FALLING   FROM THE INTERIOR CEILINGS TO POOLS PLANTED WITH LUSH FOLIAGE.    THE SALT WATER  SWIMMING POOLS OF ALL SIZES HAD JETS SPRAYING A FINE MIST OF WATER THAT  COOLED  THE BUILDINGS.  THE POOLS USED A NATURAL FILTERING SYSTEM  OF  FISH AND  SAND BOTTOMS.   IN  THE HOTEL POOLS THAT SURROUNDED THE BUILDING ONE COULD SWIM FROM ONE POOL TO THE NEXT IN  A CONTINUOUS MATTER.  ALL THE DELIGHTS OF A CORAL REEF WOULD BE EXPERIENCED PLUS THE OBVIOUS SECURITY AND CLOSENESS OF THE HOTEL.

GOLF CLUB

GOLF CLUB

YACHT CLUB

YACHT CLUB

THE HOTEL LOOKED LIKE A STING RAY, THE GOLF CLUB LIKE A SEA SHELL. THE YACHT CLUB LIKE A GIANT SHRIMP WITH FOUR LEGS. IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING THE MODELS I DISCOVERED A LOT OF THE FINAL FORM. I AM A BELIEVER IN THE PROCESS OF EXPLORING SHAPES AND SPACES IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF MODELS. WITH THE HOTEL, ALL THE DROPPING OF THE ROOF OVER THE ENTRIES EVOLVED. WITH THE GOLF CLUB THE BAR AT THE TOP OF THE SPIRAL EVOLVED, AND WITH THE YACHT CLUB THE ROTATING CURVED ROOF OVER THE DOCKS TOOK SHAPE. WHEN I DID THE YACHT CLUB I FELT THAT RUSH OF REALLY NAILING THE DESIGN. TOTALLY UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL. THE GOLF CLUB ENDED UP GETTING THE MOST ATTENTION, MAYBE BECAUSE THE OF THE SPIRAL MOTION IT PROJECTED. THE HOTEL TO ME WAS THE REAL SPACE THAT PIN WHEELED AROUND AND GAVE MULTIPLE VIEWS FROM A CENTRAL SPACE. ALL THE SUITES HAVING A WATER VIEW. A FANTASTIC BUILDING.

HOTEL

HOTEL

HOTEL

MY PROCESS IS ONE OF GETTING A FLOOR PLAN THAT FUNCTIONS AND THEN EXPLORING IT WITH DIFFERENT LEVELS AND FORMS.   MODELS WORK WELL TO DO SO.  I USE A LOW WATTAGE GLUE GUN TO BOND  RAILROAD BOARD AND PAPER TOGETHER.  THESE MODELS ARE ROUGH,  AND I CUT WITH SISSORS AND SPLICE AND CHANGE RAPIDLY.  THE FLOWING SHAPES I DEVELOPED WITH HEAVY PAPER BY SCORING WITH AN EXACTO KNIFE. IT IS ALL SO SIMPLE,  AND EXERCISES WITH MY STUDENTS HAS PROVEN GREAT RESULTS QUICKLY.   BUT IN ALL HONESTY, SOMETIMES I JUST PLAY TO GET A FANTASTIC FORM.  ONCE THIS OCCURS I WORK BACK AND FORTH TO KEEP BASICALLY THE FORM ,BUT HAVE A WORKABLE PLAN AS WELL.  THE MORE FORM KNOWLEGE ONE HAS THE EASIER IT IS TO MUNIPULATE THE FORMS TO REINFORCE THE PLANS.

360 HOUSES WERE PART OF THE PROGRAM. I DESIGNED THEM LIKE SEA SLUGS COMING OUT OF THE TERRAIN. THE PROGRAMS VARIED FROM THREE BEDROOM HOUSES, TO HOUSES TO A VILLA WITH MALE WING, FAMILY WING AND SERVANT WING. MEN CAN HAVE FOUR WIVES.

HOUSING FORM

HOUSING FORM

HOUSING FORM

HOUSING FORM

HOUSING THREE WINGS

HOUSING 3 BEDROOM

THE CONSTRUCTION WAS QUESTIONED, SO I DID FRAMING SYSTEMS WITH STRAIGHT LINE FRAMING. SAND MOUND FORMING WAS ALSO SOMETHING PROPOSED TO EXPLORE. THE FACADES’ SCREENS RESEMBLED THE VEILS THE WOMEN WORE. REPEATING THE WAVE ACTION PATTERN ON THE SAND WITH VARIATIONS OF DENSITY TO PROTECT THE DIRECT RAYS OF THE SUN. A DETAIL IN PROGRESS THAT APPLIED TO ALL THE BUILDING OF THE RESORT.

FRAMING

HOUSE FRAMING

YACHT CLUB FRAMING

YACHT CLUB FRAMING

WE WENT BACK FOR A SECOND VISIT AND WORKED ON A MASTER PLAN WITH EDAW. LEE CHOOSE A COMBINATION OF THE EDAW LOCATION SITE PLAN AND A PATTERN OVERLAY OF THE RIPPLES OF A SAND PATTERN I SUGGESTED. EDAW PROTESTED MY INPUT. IN THE WORKSHOP CHAD TURNED ON ME, A SIDE OF HIM I HAD NOT SEEN. THE SCHEME OF DREDGING HUGE AMOUNTS OF SAND TO CONSTRUCT A HARBOR AND EXTENSIVE WATERWAYS SEEMED VERY EXPENSIVE, BUT NOBODY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROJECT SHOWED ANY CONCERN.

PEACEFUL PART OF WORK SESSION IN TDIC OFFICE, ABU DHABI

ONE AFTERNOON WE WERE PACKED UP AND TAKEN OFF ACROSS THE DESERT TO THE SHEIKS HOME.   THEN ON AN OFF ROAD TRIP UP AND DOWN OVER THE DUNES TO SEE THE SUNSET,  ON TO  VIEWING  HIS GIGANTIC PERSONAL GYM.  A LECTURE ON DIFFERENT BREEDS OF FALCONS  WHILE THE INDIVIDUAL FALCONS WERE SITTING ON HIS ARM AND REPEATLY REPLACED BY A DIFFERENT BREED BROUGHT FOWARD BY A TRAINER.  THERE WERE HOODS OVER THEIR HEADS THAT WERE REMOVED UPON SHOWING .  TEA ON A PERSIAN RUGS UNDER THE STARS WITH A ROARING CAMP FIRE.  THE SHEIK, A YOUNG MAN IN HIS EARLY THIRTIES WORTH BILLIONS, WAS EDUCATED IN ENGLAND. I STRUCK UP A CONVERSATION WITH A RECENT GRADUATE OF WASHINGTON STATE THAT WAS PART OF THE FAMILY AND DROVE ONE OF THE OFF ROAD VEHICLES.  THERE WERE NO WOMEN IN SIGHT, JUST MEN. THE SHEIK LIKED NORMAN FOSTER AND GEHRY,  IN THE BRIEF CONVERSATION I HAD WITH THE SHEIK, I TOLD HIM I WOULD GIVE HIM SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL.

GARY PLAYER WAS THE GOLF PRO: HE WAS THE TIGER WOODS OF MY GENERATION. HE LENT HIS NAME TO DESIGN COURSES BY HIS FIRM. I GOT ALONG WELL WITH GARY AND HE CAUGHT THE EXCITEMENT OF MY SCHEME. JEFF IN GARY PLAYER’S OFFICE WANTED TO DO A GOLF COURSE ON ANOTHER PART OF THE ISLAND IN THE HILLS. HE WAS OUR GOLF CONSULTANT. NOW IT IS DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH SOMEONE WHEN THEY WANT A GOLF COURSE FOUR MILES AWAY FROM YOUR SITE. JEFF WAS CO-OPERATIVE BUT NOT EXCITED ABOUT WHAT WAS NEEDED.

ISLAND CROSSING: TONIA, STUART AND CHAD

GLEN SMALL AND FRIENDLY LEE TABLER

AFTER ONE WORK SESSION , LEE MENTIONED, I COULD GET MORE CREATIVE WITH THE HOTEL BY PUTTING IT IN THE GULF. I RESPONDED THAT WE DID NOT NEED ANOTHER CRUISE SHIP THERE. AFTER THINKING ABOUT THAT, I WOKE THE NEXT MORNING AT 3AM AND DESIGNED AND BUILT A NEW SCHEME WITH HOTEL JETTING INTO GULF, WHICH WAS WELL RECEIVED? LESSON LEARNED, LISTEN TO THE CLIENT AND TRAVEL WITH GLUE GUN, PAPER, CARDBOARD AND SCISSORS.

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  • Dustin

    This project looks exactly like what I would expect from the UAE. That is not a good thing. I agree with the design intention, and believe that up to the form-study stage of the project everything was going good. Then when you started to mix up your concepts (the project looks like the veils of a female 4-legged shrimp sand dune) things started to go wrong. The major projects (Hotel, Yacht and Golf Club) are just plain hideous, they represent everything that is wrong about the design boom in the Middle East. Giving form a priority over function is not a good thing, no matter how good you are at adapting the requirements to the crack-head box.

    I think you succeeded much better with the housing projects. The concept is clear, and the form is simple yet intriguing. At least on an esthetical level I believe the houses bring some value to the project.

    Cheers,

    Dustin

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      DUSTIN

      THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS. THERE WAS NO INTENSION OF RELATING ANY OF THE FORMS TO REAL OBJECTS OTHER THAN WHAT THEY TURNED OUT TO LOOK LIKE. THEY WERE ALL GENERATED FROM THE FUNCTIONS, BUT AT THE SAME TIME CREATED WITH SENSUOUS FORMS.

      WHERE YOU HURT ME WAS IN BEING CRITICAL OF THE END RESULTS BEING UNSIGHTLY TO YOU. IT IS MY INTENSION TO CREATE SHAPES THAT ARE PLEASING TO THE EYE AND TERRAIN. ALTHOUGH I DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT ALL THAT MUCH THE INTERIOR SPACES ARE RELAXING AND SOOTHING TO THE EYE. ALL THE OASIS STUFF WORKS IN THESE SPACES.

      TENTS OF THE ARABS WERE A STANDARD LIVING FORM IN THE NATURAL TERRAIN.
      I THINK THE BUILDINGS FULFILLED THE SAME IMPACT AT A LARGER SCALE.

      I TAKE EXCEPTION TO JUST BEING LIKE ALL THE OTHER PROPOSALS FOR THE REGION. JUST NOT SO.

      THE ONE AREA THAT I HAD NO CONTROL OVER WAS THE PROGRAM AND THE CLIENTS THAT THE PROJECT WOULD SERVE. I WILL TALK MORE ABOUT THAT IN BLOG 3 ON ABU DAHBI.

      WISHING YOU THE BEST AND PLEASE COMMENT MORE.

      THANKS,

      GLEN

  • http://www.metamechanics.com Chris Teeter

    i sure as hell hope this is all true…it doesn’t get any better then this. seriously.

    (the following is my absolute amusement to myself (and i’m totally sober right now) with the discovery of your commentary, i’m a big fan already)

    where’s the fluff, the intellectual bull shit, the need to jusitfy everything to a degree no one understand or cares about?
    Where are your grasshopper parametric models in rhino? what about context and the history of the sign and signifier and simlarcum simulacrae? how are you going to justify $1000/hr, you’re killing me…listen to the client? really, clients don’t know anything about architecture…you’re giving away trade secrets with your modeling techniques and quick design solutions and honest yet genius solutions to design… the AIA will surely frown on you making everyone work just that much harder…especially the ones who have absolutely no talent, so much talent they lack, they have to get a PhD in theory before they build something…

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      DEAR CHRIS,

      THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING. YOUR FAST MIND IS WAY AHEAD OF THE GAME. I AM TIRED AND THE INTERNET LETS ME GIVE AWAY THINGS THAT I CHERISH.

      AS YOU GRASP, I AM A PATTERN MAN. IT IS NOT A SECRET IT HAS BEEN AROUND FOREVER, BUT SUDDENLY IT IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE.

      IF YOU LOOK AT MY POSITION AND THE POSITION OF BIG TIME ARCHITECTS WE ARE WAY APART. BUT TOMORROW IT COULD CHANGE INSTANTLY IF SOMEONE POWERFUL , WISE AND AS INSIGHTFUL AS YOU USES MY SERVICES . I AM STILL YOUNG, I TURNED 73 YESTERDAY. MY CLOSE FAMILY CHECKED IN, BUT NOBODY ELSE. NO TALK SHOW HOST SAYING, GLEN HOWARD SMALL THE ARCHITECT FOR POSITIVE CHANGE TURNED 73 TODAY.

      WISHING YOU THE BEST AND THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGMENT TO KEEP KICKING ON MY BIRTHDAY.

      GLEN

      • http://www.metamechanics.com Chris Teeter

        Happy Birthday! 73 is young for an architect.

  • Pingback: Glen Small’s Abu Dhabi Trilogy Cont., Part 2 « Architects Directory

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      DUSTIN,

      EVERYBODY HAS DIFFERENT TAKES ON WHAT LOOKS RIGHT. ESPECIALLY ARCHITECTS. WHAT I HAVE LEARNED OVER TIME IS TO LET THAT BE, THAT IS WHAT MAKES INTERESTING EXCHANGE. WE CAN NOT CONTROL EVERYTHING NOR EVEN ANYTHING OF GREAT CONSEQUENCE, SO KICK BACK AND MOVE ON TO THE NEXT DESIGN.

      THANKS,

      GLEN

  • http://archinect.com Orhan Ayyuce, architect

    Have a belated birthday glen! 73 is still young and you are a very youthful person no matter what.
    All the best,
    Orhan

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ORHAN BUDDY,

      YOU HAVE CREATED A STADIUM FULL OF VIEWERS FOR ME. THE INTERNET IS RAMMING UP THE ENGINES AND WIND MILLS WITH GLEN HOWARD SMALL QUOTES AND PICTURES. WE ARE JUST BEGINNING TO GET TO THE CHOOSEN ONES TO SPREAD THE SEEDS OF SANITY. HERE IS TO DIRECTNESS, TELLING IT AS IT IS, CREATIVE JUICES, AND LAUGHING.

      STAY CLOSE.

      THANKS,

      GLEN

  • http://www.markasaurus.com Mark Hogan

    Your most recent post makes me want to go back to the office, turn the computer off, and make some models. I hope you had a great birthday.

    Best,
    Mark

    • http://www.tim-barnes.com Tim Barnes

      I had Glen as a studio professor last spring: these kinds of models were a big part of what we did. It was liberating and challenging, and now it’s a standard part of my approach to design. It’s also relaxing and direct: somehow it’s more rewarding to deal with things in the real world than virtual objects on screen.

      • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

        TIM

        THANKS FOR LEARNING. BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS, I LEARN FROM YOU ALL THE TIME. YOU GIVE PERCEPTIVE ADVICE THAT DEFINITELY BRINGS A NEW SLANT TO THINGS.

        GLEN

  • Dustin

    Thanks for your response Glenn,

    I’m glad you explained that the form was actually a result from the function, and that it just turned out that way, by reading the text I understood the contrary.
    I still have to insist that at least from the information provided, the public buildings don’t seem to be pleasing to the eye or the landscape, that is my opinion though and I understand that beauty is subjective. I would like to congratulate you on your beautiful residences though, as I said earlier they seem much more connected to your concept.

    I will gladly keep posting my comments, as a beggining architect your posts are insightful, humorous and a great source of knowledge dut to your experience. I wish you all the best and keep on posting.

    Dustin

  • Yasmine

    hey Glen
    im an architecture student, and i came over your work while researching, i myself used to live in the UAE, Dubai particularily and i really think that what u did is quite interesting. UAE is a desert which transformed over the years with the architectural boom, but essentially its a desert whose great seashore is not to be dis regarded, the locals in the past used to depend on fishing to a high degree, and to them the sea meant more than just an oasis to fill their thirst, and hence we find “burj Al Arab” the most luxurious hotel, lying in the sea, reminding us of a ship mast and of the people’s original culture before the oil and richness. thats why i totally disagree the first comment, and today with the progress done in architecture and depending on the works of fathers of architecture we must go beyond function, not dismissing it at all, providing it, yet offering more sophistication in form and sustainability for future generations.
    good luck and great work!!
    regards
    Yasmine

  • Yasmine

    hey Glen
    im an architecture student, and i came over your work while researching, i myself used to live in the UAE, Dubai particularily and i really think that what u did is quite interesting. UAE is a desert which transformed over the years with the architectural boom, but essentially its a desert whose great seashore is not to be dis regarded, the locals in the past used to depend on fishing to a high degree, and to them the sea meant more than just an oasis to fill their thirst, and hence we find “burj Al Arab” the most luxurious hotel, lying in the sea, reminding us of a ship mast and of the people’s original culture before the oil and richness. thats why i totally disagree the first comment, and today with the progress done in architecture and depending on the works of fathers of architecture we must go beyond function, not dismissing it at all, providing it, yet offering more sophistication in form and sustainability for future generations.
    regards
    Yasmine