The Etihad Museum: an architectural walkthrough

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Over the weekend, I went to the Etihad Museum located along Jumeirah street in Dubai. It was a bit out of the way from my apartment– I had to ride the metro, walk to a bus stop, and figure out how to board the right vehicle. Had this been in New York, I would have just walked the entire way through, but with the heat coming into full swing over the summer, that would have practically killed me. Regardless, mass transportation is one of the things I enjoy most about developed cities. Figuring everything out, asking locals for directions, and observing building profiles from high-speed vehicles– I don’t get to do any of this in my own country.

Off to the building lobby I went, where a tour group composed of various expats awaited the local guides. After purchasing student tickets, I proceeded to the central hall where a lovely Arab local volunteer (whose name I didn’t catch!) had appeared. He would be touring us to comply with his company’s chosen value for the year: generosity. Out of respect, I didn’t include his face in any of my photos.

He began the tour with this basic question: what did the Etihad museum resemble when viewed from the outside? I thought of the slanted glass panes, the curving roof panels, and only the name of the late Zaha Hadid surfaced in my mind. Still, it couldn’t have been her; I’d surely have known had that been the case.

The guide held a piece of paper between his index finger and thumb. He pinched its two edges together and let the rest of the paper form a loop, such that no crease appeared on the sheet.

‘If you noticed the shape of the museum, it looks something like this!’

(At this point, I was like ‘????’)

After a minute, I kind of grasped what he was talking about. No, the building wasn’t exactly a loop; it rather resembled a cracked eggshell. Visually, it was something you could easily explain to the public and have fun with. Anything more straightforward might’ve been tacky, and very much Beijing if you asked me. (Not that I dislike Beijing! I just noticed how modern Chinese architecture is so literal. To apply this aesthetic to any other part of the world is iffy at best).

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I wasn’t really able to take a photo of the entire building exterior, but have a look at this distorted angle.

The museum is actually underground, and the building visible from outside is just the entrance lobby. I liked the programming of the spaces, as you can imagine yourself standing over some kind of underground city when you enter.

Continue reading “The Etihad Museum: an architectural walkthrough”

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Today’s Book Haul

 

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Went to Kinokuniya, this huggeee bookstore, instead of the museum today because I got my dates and schedules wrong. Turns out, the tour is happening tomorrow! Not complaining at all because I got to buy these beauties and a few classy pants.

-B

Dubai: Images of a City

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Hey folks! I have too many moments in life wherein I feel poetic and excited about compositions forming in my mind (how they’re supposed to be narrated, which words to use, etc). I get down to writing them, and end up with two amazing paragraphs. Then, I get lazy about the rest.

I’m mostly sorry to myself for being either too busy or just not disciplined enough to actually sit down and write things. I guess that’s why I have a million drafts, and not one published composition.

Still, I enjoy discussion! A lot of times, writing chill posts like this is less stressful and more fulfilling than those long, dramatic essays anyway. (I WILL PUBLISH ONE SOMEDAY!). They’re also much clearer in terms of intent, so here goes:

I’ve been living in Dubai for the past couple of weeks. It’s a truly glamorous and unique city, not just in terms of local customs but also with regards to the collective attitude of the people. I’ve collected some personal insights about its architecture and culture, but that can wait. Tonight’s post will revolve around a couple of images I’ve taken during my travels.

These depict various scenes in the city at street level– how the people interact with the architecture, and what it feels like to be in this place. Didn’t really edit anything because I’m too lazy. Regardless, it’s almost impossible to take bad photos in Dubai, as all of its buildings are simply stunning.

5PM.
5PM. People begin to gather around a set of fountains in the Dubai Mall. Everyone is expectant.
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The view from a boat ride going to the Creek Harbor. The surrounding buildings mesh so well with the body of water.
7PM. The crowd has grown exponentially and is enjoying the dancing fountains. Dubai looks pretty at night.
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Pale building on a pale sky.
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One of my favorite photos. This was taken in a gold souq, where narrow corridors led to this central space. Doesn’t seem as ‘fake’ or constructed as the rest of Dubai’s architecture, and the sun hits those mashrabiya screens perfectly.
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Those columns just look great with people, don’t they? I’m not really sure why.
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Sunset, the prettiest time of the day. You won’t see it here, but the sun is quite an intense red. The buildings are also twice as pretty. Dubai may be unbearably hot, but sometimes I feel like the sunset makes everything worth it.

In a couple of hours, I will be going to the Etihad museum and meeting a few locals! I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did!

-B

Our slab

My third year in architecture school is done. Horraaah! The worst is over! Looking back, I don’t really know how I survived that final month of academic hell, which consisted of deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines, and final exams sandwiched right in between plate submissions. I do think my entire third year journey deserves a post of its own — a long and dramatic one, at that–so I will leave those ugly details for later.

This post focuses on our cute little concrete slab for construction class. My group (a team of four people) conceptualized, designed, and executed the building of a 1.5m x 1.5m slab. This was for what I believe is going to be a cat sanctuary in my college, as planned by our construction professors. (Side note: my university is wack and my college, even weirder). Each group was afforded the creative liberty to do whatever they pleased. We were restricted only by the space to build on and the fact that the slab had to be functional.

Here it is from start to completion!

Continue reading “Our slab”

What Shapes Architecture

Reaction Paper: What Shapes Architecture
by: Bea C.

            In evaluating the different architectural movements that have flooded Europe, one will get a rich picture of the localities that comprise the continent—the history, culture, and residents of an area. As demonstrated in the video documentaries, the architectural styles (Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo, Gothic) of Europe did not simply spring out of an individual’s mind; rather, these styles were shaped by unique realities of the region. Architecture, while a beautiful creation of man, is also a statement. Each style carries with itself a distinct personality ingrained with its history.

The dramatic and occasionally gruesome Baroque architecture, for example, blurs the lines between art and the onlooker; between the imaginary and reality. It is a physical manifestation of the Protestant movement’s effect on the church at that time—dark and edgy, after having turned away from the Catholic rule. Baroque architecture seems to pull onlookers into itself instead of taking a passive role. Continue reading “What Shapes Architecture”