In the Gulf States today, only black and white photographs remind of the Arabian building culture of settlements surrounded by city walls of clay. Skylines following the American pattern came into being within two decades of a prospering economy. The leap to the present went hand in hand with the loss of historical building substance. Buildings are made of concrete instead of clay, air conditioning has replaced the traditional wind towers, glass the artful mashrabiyas, ultramodern shopping malls the souks.
Orient meets Occident
The Hotel Lawrence of Arabia interprets important local, traditional themes. The typological research and the architectural motifs can be traced back to both European and local origins. The rectangular arcade court is home to the monumental entrance building at the centre. The arcades provide protection from the heat outwards and can be used as patios protected from the wind at night. The tower-like entrance building incorporates the hotel lobby, the bar, the breakfast dining room and congress rooms. The outer façade is executed in travertine with window grates of wood. The entrance portal, which connects the surrounding sand desert with the oasis, resembles the gate of Manal in form and execution. It is oriented toward Mecca like a prayer rug.