DUBAI: Japanese architect Takashige Yamashita told Arab News Japan at the UAE’s Climate Future Week that his office’s projects which incorporate greenery and the environment have potential to work in the Middle East region, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Climate Future Week took place at Dubai’s Museum of the Future, where Principle Yamashita and Partner Youngah Kang gave a seminar on Sept. 27 titled “Architecture Resonating with Environment.”
Throughout their talk, they presented several of their projects, including the “Children’s Forest Kindergarten,” and spoke of potential projects in the region.
“The environment is totally different here,” they explained. “But it is totally possible to make green environments.”
They added that if a project worked in Japan, it might not work as well here, however that is something the Takashige Yamashita office tries to overcome.
“We try to overcome these challenges with different types of technology, design, material, even different types of walls or roofs,” they added.
Yamashita’s office entered an architecture competition in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla, in which they were required to design hotels in the middle of the desert.
“We were offered an opportunity to participate in a competition in Saudi Arabia in the middle of the desert where all these kinds of rock mountains are around,” they said. “We submitted some project but it didn’t really work out.”
Despite it not working out, Yamashita and Kang are very interested in the Middle East, especially in its deserts.
“We wanted these porous rocks from AlUla to be part of the hotels’ designs. People who were staying there would be able to feel the environment, even throughout the interiors,” they told Arab News Japan. “We also wanted sand artists to draw on the walls, creating colorful images on the wall out of nature and earth.”
Regarding the children’s Toranoko Nursery that was built near Mount. Fuji, the architects said that they wanted to have a tree-inspired structure in the middle of the town.
“So, when you imagine that there’s a huge tree in the center, then the toddlers would come around and gather,” they explained. “We made this floating kind of image on the roof that would cast a shadow that everyone would kind of gather around.”
When asked whether they think a similar project would work in the region, they said it would be a good idea, as the arrangement of the structure would be spaced according to the facilities that are around.
“The nursery [in the region] could have two different kinds of relationships with maybe the malls or hotels or some business districts,” they added.
The Yamashita Office had also presented a proposal in the UAE called the “Floating Oasis,” in which they wanted to create an island near the Dubai Creek Harbor.
“We wanted to create a project in the middle of the water, incorporating greenery, the city lights and technology,” they said.
Climate Future Week is taking place from Sept. 26 to 30 in line with the UAE’s “Year of Sustainability” as the Gulf country prepares to host COP28 in November.