Friday, July 27, 2007

the sand castle

archidose wrote on this earlier this week, but we were delighted to find the the entire program of the sand castle was viewable online. the film documents the process of building n entire city in one of the united arab emirates, ras al-khaimah, from the ground up. the camera takes the perspective of one particular architecture firm competing for the masterplan comission-snøhetta. the stakes are set very high when the restrictions of the project are defined: unlike it's booming neighbor, dubai, ras al-khaimah has no oil, the desert is everywhere, and how do you create a modern middle-eastern city with western european architects? the creative process is displayed throughout the film as romantic, awkward and thrilling-just the way it usually is [or maybe should be] when going after internationally reknown projects.
the short film is engrossing and entertaining, allowing a peek into a region which at the moment appears to hold limitless architectural bounds. the story is concise and reveals some wonderful moments that happen behind the closed doors of architectural practice, but also showing the frustrations and disappointments that accompany them without becoming an emotionally cheap reality tv show.
[spoiler: snøhetta doesn't win the masterplan, but does gain a consolation prize of designing the new "gateway" to the city. view images at their website here.]

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