Saturday, February 18, 2006

Castles of Sand

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This past Eid al-Adha sand castles were built throughout the largest shopping mall here (City Center). Security guards were posted at them to prevent their destruction by overly enthusiastic kids. At the end of the celebration though, the kids did win out in some cases, as at least several were destroyed! Big fun.

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These aren't the only castles in the sand here, as Qatar is experiencing a massive construction boom. Building sites are visible everywhere. The upcoming Asian Games are a contributing factor, but for the most part it's just growth. The local economy is expanding rapidly, and thus so is the need for housing, commercial and retail space, as well as expanded infrastructure.

Some of the houses are fantastic, an architect's dream. There has been an evolution of sorts here regarding housing. The older houses are mostly simple single story houses, large by American standards (in a sprawling, spread out sort of way), but small by current standards here. These are usually 20 or more years old.

Next are boxy types of large two and three story houses. These are usually 3000 square feet and more, maybe much more, and while not aesthetically displeasing, are fairly simple in appearance. These have been constructed within the past 20 years, and most within the past ten.

The newest houses, from the last few years, are very ornate. Most are built using cast-crete, cement that's poured into styrofoam molds to create fantastic special effects. They use it to make ornate trim components to the exterior, lots of domes and other external features and it makes for very creative walls.

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Virtually every house here, old or new, has a wall for privacy. The older ones are simple and plain, among the newer ones more design features are evident and no two seem to be alike.

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This is upper middle class housing for Qataris. When finished they are usually painted in light colors, white or beige most often, like the desert here. Some come a bit more vibrant. Standard features are two separate large living rooms, one for the men, and one for the women (and often a third smaller one upstairs), several bedrooms... 4 to 6 or so, a maid's quarters, and two kitchens. One kitchen is in the main house, and is used only for convenience. The main kitchen is usually out back in a separate building, often attached to a laundry room and the maid's quarters. Some plant gardens on the roof, and all have a walled yard for privacy.


Blogger Nzingha said...

No way indoor sand castles would survive in Saudi.

The housing is the same as here, of course the bigger the better.

2/20/2006 7:53 AM  
Blogger sume said...

Wow, those are amazing! The sand castles and the houses! I think even the simplest of those would cost a fortune here in the states. And you can forget a privacy fence. If the cost doesn't get you, the subdivision covenant enforcement police will. lol Gotta love the burbs.

2/21/2006 8:33 AM  
Anonymous ahmed said...

These pics of the sandcastles are simply amazing, the level of attention to detail is brilliant.
Thanks for sharing these pictures.

2/26/2006 12:09 AM  
Blogger AtaiDanu said...

All I can say about the sandcastles are wow.

As for the styrofoam molds, that's pretty interesting and quite neat. I hope they privacy walls are of a similar design as the house otherwise it'd look fairly odd.

2/26/2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger J said...

I remember there being a massive sand castle built in Liberty 2 (or 1? - an office building) during the 4th of July celebration when I lived in Philadelphia. It always had a Philly theme to it and was always quite elaborate.

3/06/2006 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Beq cum sa fac bani said...

Impressive castles of sand.

11/29/2011 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow,, amazing,, the mosque from the sand...
i love it :)
thanks 4 share

8/24/2012 1:38 PM  
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