Saturday, September 22, 2007


Design workshop in London

The recent workshop in London centred on a Stage C presentation of the public realm by Martha Schwartz, and a discussion with HLT based on the response from Massar and CI to the Stage C presentation last month. This has clarified many of the outstanding issues relating to the building, and identified the issues remaining to be resolved in respect of the public realm. It has been confirmed that Massar will continue to fund the design work to Stage D from both HLT and MS, and that the implementation phases beyond Stage D will be run under two separate FIDIC contracts.

The Old International Fairground site is essentially divided lengthways into three sections. The easterly is the area on which the discovery centre sits, the central is the main public park area, and the westerly is the area now allocated for the commercial elements. There will be some café/restaurant facilities elsewhere on site, but in principle all the commercial elements are clustered at the western end. At the north-west corner there remains a controllable link to the Opera House estate, and at the south-west there are now assumptions of a link to the Qatari development south of Omayyad Square.

The current proposals for both building and public realm are extremely strong and represent world-class design and specifications. Together they promise a scheme that will represent Syria as a nation able to envisage and deliver to the highest standards. The schemes as a whole is already attracting attention from the international architecture and design community. We hope to see this commitment to design and construction excellence adhered to throughout the implementation process.


Sunday, September 16, 2007


Lattakia centre opens!

We opened the Lattakia regional centre on 4 September, which went very successfuly, even if many of the big potential donors were still on holiday. The centre has been a struggle to get completed. There have been matters of basic workmanship, connected both to notions of acceptable quality and ready availability of effective production tools. [For example, the graphic panels were sawn to a drawn line rather than on a full frame, making some the edges curved rather than straight.] Contractors arrived on site often without proper tools – measuring, cutting, assembling – to do the job; not one contractor arrived with a stepladder for instance, few had tape measure, none had a spirit level. There is no culture of site cleanliness, clean hands, no smoking, and so on. Components and supplies sourced locally were often not to specification (nearest equivalent available) or did not work when tested in situ. Clean and reliable power supply has been a major issue. Late design changes (albeit improvements) complicated and delayed completion. We had project management functions in London and Damascus for a site in Lattakia, and sometimes communications went awry. Suppliers and subcontractors were in Canada, London, Germany, Damascus and Lattakia. Some critical components were late in arriving.

But it's open!


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]