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Adaptation of an architectonic tradition for a sustainable future in the Middle East: a case study of three building typologies in Riyadh City.

Fardous, Isra'a Salim


Isra'a Salim Fardous


Amar Bennadji

Richard Laing

Huda Salman


This study assesses the environmental response, adaptation qualities and adaptation capacities of Arabic vernacular architecture, taking into account how these aspects help to provide suitable thermal comfort, while also catering to the psychological needs and preferences of inhabitants. The primary objective of this research is to analyse the features of traditional and modern architectures, and to assess which features better suits the hot arid climatic conditions in the Middle East. In particular, the study analysed how combinations of traditional techniques with modern technology can provide for better thermal control inside buildings. The research was carried out in two cities of Saudi Arabia: Riyadh and Al Madinah. The particular chosen sites were Addiriyah, Landform house and Al Madinah. The first and the last sites provided an insight into traditional architectonic forms, while Landform House depicted transitory or hybrid housing patterns. A questionnaire was distributed to two-hundred potential respondents. Data were also gathered from semi-structured interviews with fourteen individuals (assigned an anonymous sequential number from one to fourteen for ethical purposes). The research found that a combination of modern and traditional features can provide for better thermal control inside the house, making it more comfortable for the occupants and also enhancing their psychological wellbeing. The study also analysed the recent green building frameworks and the necessity to incorporate these into the construction of buildings. Based on the findings of the study, it is recommended that, for indoor spaces, architects consider the use of traditional spatial organization in Arab homes to improve the internal circulation of air, which helps to cool the various spaces homogeneously. Saudi Arabian regions can benefit from recognizing the need to have designs that address the effects of both warm temperature and humidity level.

Thesis Type Thesis
Institution Citation FARDOUS, I.S. 2019. Adaptation of an architectonic tradition for a sustainable future in the Middle East: a case study of three building typologies in Riyadh City. Robert Gordon University [online], PhD thesis. Available from:
Keywords Domestic architecture; Vernacular architecture; Architecture and environment; Architecture and climate; Saudi Arabia


FARDOUS 2019 Adaptation of an architectonic tradition (6.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright: the author and Robert Gordon University

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