Back to Earth: Adobe Building in Saudi Arabia
This is the story of a Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan's attempt to restore a neglected mud-brick farmhouse. Back to Earth highlights the important implications this complex project has for rural housing and the place of traditional materials in modern building. HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Sa'ud is perhaps best known for becoming the first Arab astronaut, in 1985. He is now recognised, however, for his commitment to Islamic values and his concern for architecture and the environment. In 1986 he bought the un-maintained farmhouse at al-'Udhaibat, one of the many pre-modernization buildings to have survived in Saudi Arabia. The location of Al- Udhaibait has a special resonance for Saudi Arabians due to its proximity to the ruined mud-built capital of the First Saudi State. Its farmhouse, however, has now become a source of inspiration for a new generation of Saudi architects.
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Mud and Modernity
Adobe Building in Najd
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Abd al-'Aziz adapted adobe adobe building Aidat airflow al-'Udhaibat Farm al-Dir'iyyah al-Qasim al-Turaif Arab architects architecture athl timber Baishan builders building material built cement central Arabia centre century clay column concrete construction cool courtyard house create date palm decoration dining-room diwaniyyah earth environment experiment Faisal farm walls farmhouse foundations garden girder gypsum Ha'il Hasan Fathy heat heritage House of Saud Ibn Hamid irrigation Islam joists juss King Abd laid Makkah master-builder metres modern mosque mud brick mud layer mud mix mud plaster mud-built Muhammad Najd Najdi building northern plots ofWadi old walls Opposite Palace palm groves parapet Prince Sultan rain rebuilding restoration rising damp Riyadh roof structure rooms Royal Geographical Society Sa'ud sand Saud Saudi Arabia settlements Sha'ib Safar shade soil straw style sun-dried mud tamarisk termite thawb thick town traditional materials trees Unaizah Wadi Hanifah