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an international refereed journal for architecture, planning, development and the environment

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GBER Issue 9.3 November 2015
Tasleem Shakur

Iconicity versus Contemporary Architecture

Ehad Nasr and Alaa Mandour

Iconic buildings are considered as symbols where they set strong foothold and dominate the site context in major cities of the world. These buildings exemplify place making, where its characterization opt to create and design the place in a manner to make it exceptional and competent of exerting signature of inimitability innate in its setting. Buildings, which are recognized and envisaged as iconic buildings are usually appreciated not only by professionals but also the wider societies.

Iconic buildings are ones that create and generate the distinctive aspect of the place, and thus, these incorporate architecture that reverberate human life. Consequently, iconic buildings do not only transcend basic architecture, but also incorporate a phenomenal relationship with the place and humanity. The unique nature of iconic buildings; their location; the combination of different architectural elements; and the message they are intended to convey across all collectively demonstrate the phenomenological approach to architecture. These iconic buildings have a significant impact on tourism as well.


The question here is how a building could be qualified as iconic? What are the reasons for this qualification? What are the design attributes to be qualified as icon? In order to understand the architecture of iconic buildings and their architectural characteristics, this paper underpins the subject of iconicity owing to its strong symbolic questions within a City.    


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Review of Building regulations for energy efficiency in Residential Buildings


A Sharma and B M Marwaha


Building regulations channelize the development of the region for its preconceived objectives through a set of guidelines. Nowadays energy efficiency is one of the major targeted objective and has been introduced by many countries during last few decades. With the same objective in mind Himachal Pradesh government has also included solar passive building design into the Town & Country Planning Rules and building regulations of various regions are to be modified based on this amendment. However it could not be done so far and hence comprehensive guidelines are missing those can guide various stakeholders for energy efficiency in buildings. This paper reviews various approaches used globally for the inclusion of energy efficiency in residential buildings through building regulations and highlights a comprehensive approach that can be followed to upgrade existing building regulations.

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Socio-economic Factors for the Perception of Outdoor Thermal Environments: Towards Climate-sensitive Urban Design


Salman Shooshtarian

In recent decades a number of parameters have influenced outdoor thermal conditions in cities worldwide. These influential parameters should be investigated to identify the consequences of such changes in human thermal perception. Following the understanding of the magnitude of effect of each factor, urban design policy makers gain a clear insight into the design of outdoor settings that are appropriate or tailored to meet the specific requirements of outdoor environment users. The fundamental notion of such framework lies within the concept of climate-sensitive design. In assessing the outdoor thermal comfort, the research, to date, has tended to focus more on thermal factors than non-thermal ones to explain users’ thermal perception, behaviour and usage pattern in outdoor settings. It has now been evident that the role of non-thermal factors in thermal perception are of particular importance considering differing cultural, climatic, geographical and socio-economic contexts. Among non-thermal factors, socio-economic elements can take a decisive role in the perception of outdoor thermal environments. Nevertheless, the persistent lack of full understanding of the inter-relationship between these factors and definition of socio-economic factors causes misconception among the investigators as well as decision makers. This paper tries to position the socio-economic factors in outdoor thermal comfort studies through introducing the elements impacting the thermal perception keeping aside the thermal factors,. Positioning such factors includes a model that elaborates the eliciting information on these non-quantifiable factors and provides a framework for ensuring that the climate-sensitive design of outdoor places needs to become a key aspect of urban planning and design.

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Flexible Facades

Sarah Ismail Hassan Soliman, Zeinab Mohammed Elrazaz and Sahar Morsy Mohammed

This paper discuss how the facades play an important role in the study of Flexibility in architecture, as they form the barrier between the internal space and the outside environment, also facades can form the general character of the building, as it is the first item or element in the building seen by the user or the reciever. So The paper explores three important types of flexible facades, and shows its effect on the building and how the technology has contributed a significant role in achieving the flexibility in facades, which appeared iin different ways and through differernt methods.


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Book Review


Biophilic Envy: so much to learn from Oslo’s Green Urbanism. Green Oslo:  Vision, Planning & Discourse


Mike Clark

Why have so many of the World’s planners and local politicians failed to recognize and protect nature or provide urban dwellers with the sort of experiences and opportunities that are routine in Oslo?  This is a city with some of the best recreational use of forest, lakes and shoreline anywhere.  Which, despite this exceptional ‘blue green’ setting, has a Green Plan for 69 new parks ‘to help correct the deficiencies in access’.  Initial reaction to this book is that the global built environment would be greatly improved if we all understood, respected and applied Green Urbanism and Biophilia as well as has been done in the Norwegian capital.  Although there are exceptions, most other built-up areas have inadequate, flawed or unreasonably constrained planning systems and public access to attractive outdoor space when compared to what is normal in Oslo and in many other parts of Scandinavia.


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Conference Report


Trends in Heritage focused Building Information Modelling and Collaboration for Sustainability, Luxor, Egypt, March 13-15, 2015


Tim Taylor


Forty researchers from the UK and Egypt recently met to discuss the latest trends in architectural heritage and conservation, sustainability and Building Information Modelling (BIM) at a workshop held in the historic city of Luxor.


With the event pivoting around a series of short “trigger” presentations by invited experts, a broad spectrum of design, research and public engagement applications were considered over three days of discussion and debate, yielding new perspectives of Heritage BIM. The shared experiences of the UK and Egyptian participants also highlighted how heritage buildings are under increasing threat from unsympathetic redevelopment, inappropriate restoration and climate change. Much interest was expressed in harnessing BIM to capture knowledge and value from our built heritage, thereby providing a means for future generations to understand and appreciate its cultural and historical significance.


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