I have added my dissertation onto the page titled “Composing Essays on Architecture”. Feel free to have a read through, and comment below with your feedback!
You can also click on the direct link below to have a read:
If you are not already aware of the above statistics, these are the findings as part of a survey conducted by BD (Building Design). The statistics that apply most to me at this given time is the column of non-qualified graduates, and if I was being pessimistic I would perhaps be concentrating on the number of 44% of non-qualified graduates being unemployed.
This is a rather disturbing figure to say the least, however the numbers should not really be surprising. We were all expecting it, weren’t we? It is more disappointing to know that we are still stuck in the “Unemployment Rut” after what seems an age after the recession first hit us. There seems to be no new hope or revival for those in the architecture industry, and the numbers certainly don’t do anything to persuade prospective students looking to becoming architects.
However, the optimist side of me concentrates on the numbers that say 18% of non-qualified graduates and 45% of architects are self-employed. It seems to me that brave individuals are taking it upon themselves to survive the current climate of recession. I believe this is very much commendable and perhaps a growing trend. After countless attempts to be employed, becoming your own boss seems like the way out, because consequently, those bills still need to be paid!
Recently, due to my dissertation case study being set in Dubai, I have had numerous conversations about the Middle East construction market. I have come across many negative comments about some cities in the Middle East sinking into debts and construction coming to a stand still. However, from reading architectural magazines from the Middle East region, I can see from the project updates that construction is definitely taking place, and happening at an extra-ordinary scale, contradictory to some of the misconceptions of people I have spoken to.
I feel these misconceptions may be down to firstly, not having enough knowledge about the topic, and simply going along with the “word on the street” as it were. Secondly, I believe many Western attitudes boil down to Jealousy. There is no nicer way to put it. Middle East and many other Eastern regions are doing particularly well. Of course, there are complex issues involved and money is tight everywhere. I do not claim to know the industry inside out, and I also do not comment on the topic without being ignorant to the wider political aspects.I am simply recording my reactions and more importantly, I am talking in comparison to the western construction market which seems to be lagging behind.
I think there needs to be more initiative to be building inspirational projects that build the confidence of a city, such as The Shard in London, which has given something for people in the industry to talk about. Simple projects such as a local park with features that bring pride into the city are so helpful in turning around the depressing attitudes that seem to have no end. These kind of projects should be enjoyed by all the civilians of the city, without fee. A successful Middle Eastern example is that of the Dancing Fountain at the foot of Burj Khalifa. The fountain puts on a spectacular show every evening from 6 pm at half an hour intervals, free of charge and without a doubt the place is packed with people every single night. This I can vouch for myself, having experienced the ambiance and pride that is oozing from the public, and it is spectacular to see that Architecture can do this to a person.
Therefore, to conclude I suppose my reaction to the statistics found by BD would be for the western construction society to pick itself back up by showing more pride and confidence in itself, regardless of scale, rather than being jealous and comparing itself to other growing cities.
I would be happy to know what you feel about this topic, so feel free to comment below!
School’s out! …and with it comes the time to let our hair down, and enjoy the glorious summer! For the entire year, I have been mighty creative, but it was all in regards to my studies (mind you, there’s nothing wrong with that!!). However, it is only in the summer months that I get to be creative for the sake of creativity, and not to tick the syllabus boxes!
For the past few summers, I have been painting on various sized canvases and mainly trying to perfect portrait techniques. This summer, I decided to take up a different kind of canvas altogether: my bedroom wall, to be exact. At first, I pondered on an attractive composition….Flowers perhaps?….A grape vine creeping into the room, through the window frames? The initial ideas were quite frankly… flimsy and too delicate. I did not want to create an art work that simply looked pretty. I wanted to make a statement, and a BOLD one at that! ….and later that night, EUREKA!
For the first time, the composition that I have chosen has a very strong significance for me personally. Every part of this fresco has a meaning, and has been painted with intention, and perhaps that is the reason that I have gained much pride in completing this piece, compared to all other pieces of art work to date.
I am very happy with the final product. You can find photographs of the complete process of the painting, from start to finish, on my facebook page (Album: Breaking Through) : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zeyna-Sanjania/150341295075167
This has given me the confidence to not only create pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, but also mean something at a greater level, because works that are of significance give you a greater sense of pride. I salute figures such as Banksy, who are making strong statements instead of creating art that will solely be admired due to its aesthetics.
On the other hand, do not try this at home if you haven’t already got the home owners permission. Doodling on walls with stray felt-tips and crayons tend to be a mother’s worst nightmare, and must be avoided at all cost!!
Friday 24th December 2010- The day I experienced Architectural Nirvana. The day I was fortunate enough to visit Burj Khalifa…
From the moment it was declared to be built, and till the final unveiling of the Tower, I was an avid fan. It is an inspirational building. It is ambitious. It is built to defy all rules and make a statement. It is shouting to the world, Look at Me! I would have given my right arm to visit this building. I got my wish, without giving away any limbs.
I tilted my head backwards to behold the building in its entirety. My neck began to ache, yet I could not take my eyes off this…this….beautiful monstrosity. The afternoon sun was being reflected by the gleaming panels, against a backdrop of cloudless sky. We made our way into Dubai Mall (The World’s Largest Shopping Mall) , and into the public entrance.
We showed our tickets to the lady in black, and made our way into the building. The excitement began to build up as we realised we were entering the Tallest Building ever made by mankind. This journey was filled with the sharing of knowledge as we read out loud the facts and figures written on the walls…” 200+ storeys: The most number of floors ever in a building”….”95 km: Distance from which a person can see the top of the spire”.
There was a graphic Burj Khalifa being built from stage one to finish in front of our eyes. There was explanation of each step of the making. The concept that came from a flower, which formed the footprint of the building : The design of three petals. I was reminded of my own architectural studies and was happy to find that much of the concept work I undertook myself at the start of every project, was being reflected to me here. The major point I admired was photographs of workers, and the stage they were given within this building process. There had been much speculation of the building workers’ rights and welfare. However, being given their own platform and recognition where it was deserved was commendable.
We had to pass yet another checkpoint for tickets and through a swivel door, and there we finally packed ourselves into a spacious metalic lift. The Lift Man, dressed prim and proper in a black suit, stated that we will reach our destination : the 124th Floor, in just 60 seconds. “60 SECONDS?!” we all exclaimed. “Yes, 60 seconds” he said, with a smirk. He had obviously heard this comment before.
We started the countdown, and as the doors of the lift closed, it came to life. Music and lights within the lift, and the higher we got, the faster the music got. This and the numbers on a screen were the only indication that the lift was moving. That and an ear pop which one may experience when your flight is taking off. 60 seconds later, the lift doors opened.
We were blinded by the light, and took us a few seconds to jostle out of the lift and find our bearings. In front of us was a full length window showing clear sky. Just a clear blue sky. I edged closer to the window and looked down to find all the tiny little buildings and moving cars. This is what Gulliver must feel like, I thought.
Stepping out on the Viewing Deck on the 124th Floor was simply spectacular. Feeling the cool breeze and being able to look out as far as the eye can see, trying to find the edge of the world. They say that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”….but if that beholder is standing 1600 ft above the ground, can you even begin to imagine the beauty?
There was a very clever piece of machinery stationed in all corners of the deck which allowed the spectator to zoom a camera into the world below and see what was going on all those feet below. It even shifted from day to night view, and also gave a historic view of that exact location but 60 or so years ago, showing barren land and only a few buildings.
I was expecting someone in a suit any minute to come along and declare that time was up and we had to make our way down. To my surprise, I found out that we could stay up here on the deck as long as we wished. Surely this was the icing on the cake! I watched the sun set from the vast windows and watched as the sky darkened from clear blue to a navy blue. I could not tear myself away, and I wanted to cherish and capture this moment in my mind.
Burj Khalifa was all that it set out to be. I was overwhelmed, and after seeing the details, from the flower to the blue prints, I was even more in love with this building. The end result is exceptional. My experience was more than I could have imagined and I applaud all those that were involved in this epic accomplishment.
I had tasted the icing on the cake. This was the end, right? We would descend, and it would be over. Wrong. There was more to come. Every day at 6 pm, and from then every half hour till night fell, the Dancing Fountain at the foot of Burj Khalifa came to life. We checked our clocks, and at 5.45 pm began our descent. Again, we were educated along the way. There were diagrams and technical explanations of how the building was built.
We stepped out to breathe the gulf air from ground level once again, and there was already a throng of people collecting themselves near the fountain. My fiancé took me by the hand and we weaved our way onto a higher platform. Silence….and then, the softest of Arabic music. The music picked up and the fountain show began. I found myself tilting my head backwards yet again to see how far the water touched the sky. The music boomed in the public’s heart. The atmosphere was electrifying. I held my breathe and it was over with a ‘Whooosh’ and a ‘Boom’. Inside myself, I could hear the reverberations of the music still. Dubai had got my attention, and like a 5 year old, I wanted to cry out “Again, again, again!!”
Needless to say, I watched another two fountain shows before I finally tore myself away.
Friday 24th December 2010- The day I was Enchanted.