WIT Press

Integrating Aspects Of Cultural And Environmental Sensitivities Into Affordable Housing In The Arab Gulf Region


Free (open access)





Page Range

197 - 207




867 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Mokhtar


Supported by strong oil-based economies, governments in several Gulf Arab states are committed to providing their citizens with free or highly subsidized housing. These are typically offered in the form of three or four bedroomed, single or double storey villas built on a freely provided piece of land. Thousands of these units are constructed every year to satisfy the growing population in these states. Unfortunately, the designs for most of these units follow ubiquitous design guidelines that do not fit well with a variety of cultural requirements for housing in the region. In addition, these designs are not sensitive with regards to the climate in which they are built. Consequently, both house owners and responsible government agents have begun to express their dissatisfaction with these designs. The lack of cultural sensitivity relating to the need for high levels of privacy has forced many owners to make costly modifications, and often limits their use and enjoyment of their property. The lack of environmental sensitivity has resulted in inflated government budgets that are needed to supply subsidized electricity and water to these houses. As a result, both owners and government agents now demand better designs, ones that are sensitive to the culture as well as the environment. This paper provides a different design approach that aims to satisfy these demands by integrating both cultural and environmental requirements. The paper investigates these requirements, shows a proposed architectural design, and critically reviews the design identifying its abilities and failures to satisfy and integrate these requirements. Keywords: architectural sustainable design, cultural sensitivity, housing, Arab Gulf, courtyard houses.


architectural sustainable design, cultural sensitivity, housing, Arab Gulf, courtyard houses