Joe Brown compares West Kowloon to Saadiyat Island – EDAW

EDAW reports

“Last week in Hong Kong for the MIPIM Asia Exhibition and Conference, EDAW CEO Joe Brown, FASLA, offered insight on Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District project. The project has been part of an ongoing effort by the Hong Kong government to inject vigor into the city’s legendary waterfront by creating a world-class collection of the best cultural facilities. Looking to the increasing competition of other regional hubs such as Singapore, Shanghai, and Beijing, the Hong Kong community has, since 1996, been discussing the cultural district as a key opportunity in solidifying the city-state’s aspiration of being “Asia’s World City.” The district would sit right on Victoria Harbor on a prime, but now derelict, site measuring 40 hectares.

After a lengthy tendering process, the Hong Kong government eventually appointed a local developer consortium to implement an ambitious scheme proposed by the architects, Foster and Partners. The plan as it was has since been canceled and mired in a cloud of doubt. This year, the government has convened a new authority to manage and implement a new plan for the area; a new tender has yet to be issued but is expected soon.

There are many parallels between the West Kowloon project and Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, where EDAW has been leading the urban design and public realm design as lead consultant. Saadiyat, like West Kowloon, has at its core a signature, waterfront cultural district that aims to transform a relatively business-oriented city into a high-art destination. Saadiyat will feature institutions such as the Guggenheim and the Louvre. West Kowloon, like Saadiyat, sits on a barren waterfront and would need bold architecture that addresses the rest of the city to be truly transformational. With this in mind, Mr. Brown was able to share EDAW’s work on Saadiyat to the Hong Kong community through several avenues.

Saadiyat Island Cultural District.

In an interview with the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, Asia’s leading English daily newspaper, Mr. Brown encouraged Hong Kong to focus on the quality of the art and programs that would be on offer. The Hong Kong Economic Times, a leading Chinese-language newspaper akin to The Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, profiled EDAW’s work at Saadiyat in a full-page article last week citing the project as inspiration for Hong Kong to emulate. Mr. Brown was also interviewed on RTHK, Hong Kong’s public radio station.”

[SOURCE: EDAW – Joe Brown compares West Kowloon to Saadiyat Island].

UAE construction outlook still optimistic despite global crisis – Gulf News

Gulf News reports

“The demand for engineers, architects and senior managers in the construction industry in the UAE has slumped due to the global financial turmoil but has not halted, a construction recruitment company official said.”

[SOURCE: Gulfnews: UAE construction outlook still optimistic despite global crisis].

Nakheel cuts jobs as Dubai reels from financial crisis – Times Online

The Times (UK) reports
“Nakheel, the government-owned developer of Dubai’s man-made palm islands, has cut 500 jobs, or 15 per cent of its workforce, as it scales back projects amid the global financial crisis. “We have the responsibility to adjust our short-term business plans to accommodate the current global environment,” it said in a statement.”

SOURCE: Times Online.com – Nakheel cuts jobs as Dubai reels from financial crisis

Landscape architect adapts to tough times – BostonHerald.com

By Jennifer Heldt Powell of the Boston Herald reports

“Landscape architect David Warner has been reading some alarming headlines.

Towns all over the country are cutting back on school building projects or nixing them altogether. That could be really bad news for a firm that does a lot of work with schools.

It could hardly come at a more challenging time; Warner only recently took over the business.”

read more about David Warner and how he is approaching the finanical downturn @ the [SOURCE: Landscape architect adapts to tough times - BostonHerald.com].

Dubai vows to keep building despite global crisis – Telegraph

Louise Armitstead reports on Dubai and the Financial Crisis

“Mohammed Ali Alabbar, a member of Dubai’s executive council and chairman of Emaar Properties, said the emirate’s borrowings amounted to $80bn against assets of about $350bn. He insisted: “The government can and will meet all its obligations.”

……..We’ve been seeing a softening in property prices and that may not be bad. The market was overheated and a correction is a sign of a mature economy…..”

Read more of this article @ the [SOURCE: Telegraph.co.uk – Dubai vows to keep building despite global crisis - Telegraph].

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