Thursday, 21 April 2016


Arish: Palm-Leaf Architecture, by Sandra Piesik, is "the first comprehensive publication dedicated to recording the special place of date palm-leaf architecture in the UAE's cultural heritage." 'Arish' traditionally refers to summer houses constructed from palm leaves, though Piesik adopts it as an umbrella term for all palm-leaf buildings.

Piesik's account of historical palm-leaf architecture is limited to a collection of black-and-white photographs from the middle of the twentieth century. The book then highlights examples of palm-leaf buildings from each area of the United Arab Emirates, including 'mogassas' (summer houses), 'cayady' (winter houses), 'barasti' (with flat roofs), 'khaimah' (with pitched roofs), and 'kada' (with stone walls). These regional chapters have colour photographs and additional historical context.

Arish is one of several recent books on architectural materials. Others include Glass In Architecture (by Michael Wigginton), Brick (by James WP Campbell), Architecture In Wood (by Will Pryce), Concrete (by William Hall), and Corrugated Iron (by Simon Holloway and Adam Mornement).

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