A Sea of Palm Trees, First Place Winner of the Al Jouf Public Library Design Competition

Press release from Dar Al Uloum Initiative 

As one of the first large-scale global architectural competitions to be launched from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Al Jouf Public Library Redesign winner has been highly anticipated since the competition’s commencement in February 2018. Dar Al Uloum, the brainchild behind the library initiative, publicly announced the winning design on October 3rd, submitted by Beirut-based Lebanese architect Nabil Gholam.
Aptly titled “A Sea of Palm Trees” the unique, energy-efficient, cohesive design plays on the paradox of past and future. The rationale behind the structure, according to Nabil, was to carefully construct a forward-looking design that pays homage to and preserves the library’s rich roots and history. His approach started from a macro perspective, developing key criteria that were the catalyst for the design approach namely; preserving the heritage of the existing building while understanding the need for modernization; assessing the functional needs of a smart library in today’s fast evolving and digitized world; rethinking the internal layouts and technical infrastructure requirements; optimizing the library grounds to accommodate for cultural programs; creating a real campus environment that weaves a fluid connection between the library and the neighboring buildings; and ensuring the indoor and outdoor climate controls and functions align with local weather patterns both sustainably and seamlessly.
Initially intrigued and inspired by the competitions narrative of bridging together the elements of knowledge, sustainability, culture, technology and the future of libraries, Nabil developed a set of five core objectives that the library’s new design should meet. The first goal was to create a new “skin” to layer over the existing building that addresses present and future needs in a sustainable and pragmatic manner, whilst respecting the culture of the region. The second was to enhance the connections between the buildings, in order to create cohesion between the library and the surrounding campus. The third was to allow for greater flexibility while still flooding the building with natural light. The fourth was to improve circulation and flow by relocating the main access to the north side. And the fifth and final objective was to extend the hexagonal grid of the Palm Grove to generate order within the sightlines, in order to mimic the protective environment of a natural oasis and the cooling shade it provides in the local climate.
The result was the stunningly functional “A Sea of Palm Trees” design. Multiple aesthetic and functional features contributed to Nabil’s win. The natural canopy achieved by the Palm Grove harmoniously ties the site together while offering shade and unique perspectives from every viewpoint. The innovative “smart skin” works as a double envelope for the library and creates an outdoor, climate controlled public space. The urban pavilions have a 
natural self-cooling system and the overall design offers a protective yet porous enclosure that gives a new, iconic face to the library and surrounding campus, creating a focal point for Sakaka. Beneath all the intricacies, the library and its surroundings provide a simple, quiet and serene haven in which to stroll, reflect, think and study.
Given the overwhelming positive response to the competition and the exemplary designs that were submitted, Dar Al Uloum Initiative is continuing its engagement with universities, using the Al Jouf Library Redesign as a case study for architecture studios. As the initiative moves into the construction phase, both DAUI and Nabil look forward to seeing the design vision become an inspiring new reality, and once finalized, hope to enter international architecture competitions to maintain the project’s momentum.

Wadi Qortuba (Qortuba Oasis), receives the Cityscape Global Awards 2018

Wadi Qortuba (Qortuba Oasis), receives the Cityscape Global Awards 2018 in the Residential, Low to Medium-Rise category for built projects. The award ceremony took place in Dubai on October 2, 2018.

Located in northeastern Riyadh, Wadi Qortuba is a contemporary low-rise residential compound designed for the city’s expatriates. Lush landscaping, careful planting and water features, as well as outdoor facilities and a series of community squares permit residents to enjoy a comfortable outdoor lifestyle, despite the rigors of the climate.

Challenged to develop a pertinent, economical set of buildings that work together harmoniously, whilst offering variation to ensure the appeal and hence long-term success of the project, multiple configurations of apartment and villa types were developed.

Pragmatic passive green design strategies like intelligent façades, carefully sized openings, sun shading, cross ventilation, wind towers, patios, the use of a palette of low heat absorption materials and the creation of a micro-environment in every building, complement the attention to landscaping.

Team: Owner: Solidere Qortuba, Developer: Solidere International, Master Plan/Urban Design: Solidere International, Architects: nabil gholam architects, Maria Group, L.E. FT Architects, Infrastructure: Khatib & Alami, Local Architect: Saudi Diyar, Landscape: Bodeker Partners.

Beirut Design Week 2018 at nabil gholam architects

Living Roofs
Mapping of Beirut roofscapes, past and future uses

Join us for a screening and drinks on our own roof on Monday June 25 from 7 to 10 pm

WAF 2018 Finalist

J House, the House with two lives, is selected as finalist in this year’s World Architecture Festival, held in Amsterdam from 28-30 November 2018, in the Residential, Completed Projects category.

The winners will be announced on November 30th at the WAF Gala Dinner.

J House, the House with two lives, is the story of a house that once was used as a detention center during Lebanon's war.

The owner wished to preserve the house’s history and happy memories associated with his grandfather and his childhood. The architect preferred to erase the wartime history. This impasse was resolved by accommodating both desires.

The house was gutted, reinforced and turned into a ‘shell’ into which a new home was inserted. The series of stacked and perforated Corten steel-clad boxes projects beyond the empty shell. This skin is punctured with tiny dots echoing patterns of trees, a “tree trunk ghost” projected on the façade.

Sunk into the landscape through terracing, the house is blending into its surroundings. Climbing plants and vines colonize the ruins to camouflage the past, cleansing the house of its troubled history. 

The house celebrates the triumph of life over death and tells a brilliant story of thorough restoration and architectural acupuncture.

nabil gholam architects acclaimed for the design of its large mixed-use Doha Oasis project in Qatar

Being since its inception the lead architect behind the original vision and the full design for the Doha Oasis Mixed Use Development (460,000m² of a built area on a 73,000m² site in the Msheireb District of Doha), nabil gholam was given the floor to speak about the Project at the annual event taking place in Doha.

Nabil explained, it all started with the Owner’s willingness to create in the center of Doha a unique place for people to live, work, and shop. It eventually evolved to include a five-star hotel in the tower, an indoor Themed Experience Centre, a luxury department store, a VIP cinema complex, a world class Spa, and a range of exclusive apartments. It is a project of superlatives, but perhaps the most consistent focus in all its components as well as in its overarching vision is that it is truly people focused, evolutionary and pertinent to its location and culture.   

From the start of the Construction works, on yearly basis, the Owner HALUL Real Estate Investment Company “HREIC” and the Doha Oasis Project Management Office “DOPMO” get together in a celebration event the committed Doha Oasis project teams and partner stakeholders “Doha Oasis Family”.

On the occasion of this 3rd Anniversary of construction start, while works are getting to a substantial completion in record time (with the highest standards of safety), in addition to the growing “Doha Oasis Family”, HREIC and DOPMO invited to a Gala Dinner at La Cigale Doha on April 15th, 2018 and introduced the new partners: 

- Jacques Garcia, the French and internationally renowned decorator undertaking the interior design of the five-star Hotel, restaurants and spa of the Doha Oasis

- Printemps Paris in its 1st international expansion will occupy the whole retail areas at the GF and in the two elliptical floors above and overlooking the indoor Themed Experience Centre of Doha Oasis

- Paramount Pictures – Hollywood will incorporate, within the indoor Themed Experience Centre, “QUEST” a specific Paramount Pictures vision attraction for Doha Oasis. 

- Guinness World Record: The Roller Coaster Ride of the Themed Experience Centre of Doha Oasis would become the tallest indoor ride. 
This year, HREIC and DOPMO honored Nabil Gholam for his invaluable partnership and unwavering commitment towards Doha Oasis long term success.
We wish Doha Oasis a seamless completion soon and a lasting success. 

WAF 2016 winner

nabil gholam architects WAF 2016 winner

nabil gholam architects won the Office - Future Projects category award at World Architecture Festival 2016, held in Berlin from 16-18 November 2016, with their project a.spire.

World Architecture Festival is the world’s largest international architectural event. The WAF awards aim to showcase the best buildings of 2016, with more than 750 award entries, 350 award finalists from 58 different countries around the world entering the competition. 

a.spire is a flexible project for a bank headquarters competition (BLF competition), providing an evolutionary yet durable architectural solution as well as adding an iconic silhouette in Beirut’s skyline.

Project team: nabil gholam architects, AKT II, atelier ten, FMDC Ltd., VDLA, BERM, Barbanel Middle East sal, Logic+Format, JVL Studio, SKA, TMS Consult, Acousystem Liban, DG Jones & Partners

AD 50

nabil gholam architects in AD 50, Arabia's top talents in Architecture and Interior Design 

Beirut Design Week

On the occasion of Beirut Design Week 2016, open studio at ngª showing a works by nabil gholam architects and artist Ana Corberó

Skygate formal opening

Skygate was officially inaugurated on Friday September 4, 2015 in presence of Mr. Edgar and Daniele de Picciotto, Signature Properties Holding and Mr. Nabil Sawabini, Mena Capital, the team of consultants and contractors that made this project possible and some friends.

Irany Oxy Engineering laboratories at American University of Beirut officially awarded the LEED GOLD certification

Irany Oxy Engineering laboratories at American University of Beirut officially awarded the LEED GOLD certification
This building was the first registered in Lebanon to be assessed according to the US Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED sustainability scheme, LEED New Construction v2.2.
The university's aspiration was to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED Gold certificate.
The USGBC has approved in June 2011 all the Design Review credits submittal.
The IOEC officially received the LEED GOLD certification on April 22nd, 2015 and is the 4th LEED certified project in Lebanon.
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