Construction work was completed on the Wadi Finan Wilderness Lodge designed by Ammar Kahmmash Architects. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature project consisted of the design of a 2,040 square-meter, 35-room eco-lodge at the lower end of the Dana Nature Reserve-Wadi Finan, adjacent to Wadi Araba. The project also included interior designs for the candle-lit lodge as well as landscaping. The lodge provided alternative construction techniques based on researching and developing desert architecture with an emphasis on thermal insulation and passive cooling.
Construction work was completed on the Azraq Tourist Hub designed by Ammar Khammash Architects. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature project involved architectural and interior designs for a preexisting 555 square-meter building and a new 1,045 square-meter building, as well as landscape designs. Taff Contracting Establishment was the contractor for the project, and Middle East Engineering Management was the project manager.
A pedestrian bridge was erected across Queen Rania Street in Amman, opposite the Jordan Press Foundation offices, just north of the tunnel at the Abu Qura Mosque intersection. The prefabricated bridge cost 18,000 JD (around 25,000 $US). Queen Rania Street, stretching from the University of Jordan to the Sports City Roundabout, is part of a longer stretch of highway extending from the north of Jordan to downtown Amman. (Source: The Jordan Times, February 11, 2005)
The Greater Amman Municipality and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing completed work on the Environmental Road stretching from Wadi al-Haddadah to the Amman / Jarash / Irbid Road. The United States government donated around 320,000 JD (450,000 $US) for the project to plant 150,000 trees that tolerate the climatic conditions of the region. The trees will be irrigated with treated wastewater from the Abu Nusayr Treatment Plant. Construction work on the road started in 1997. Since then, the municipality executed six phases of the project, which will shorten the distance traveled between the capital and the northern parts of the Kingdom by 3.5 kilometers. (Source: al-Ra'i, February 15, 2005)
Initiation of Projects:
Construction work started on the National Museum, which is being funded by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Bank of Japan. The project, which is located next to the Greater Amman Municipality complex in Ras al-‘Ayn, will include two linked buildings, plazas, and parking spaces. The 9,300 square-meter museum was designed by the Consolidated Consultants–Jafar Tukan Architects, and is expected to be completed within two years. The museum will include exhibition halls for archaeological and historical artifacts, as well as a section devoted to the history of Jordan.
The Design Associates and Research Bureau (DARB) completed planning and structural designs for the civil works of al-Sindiyan Paper Mill in the 6th of October city near Cairo. The building, together with its warehouses and services, will be the largest paper mill in the region. The owner of the project is the Jordanian Nuqul Group, and its main engineering consultant is the Finnish firm Jaako Poyry.
The Consolidated Consultants–Jafar Tukan Architects were commissioned to design the al-Ghad TV station in Amman for the Jordan United TV Station Company. The 12,000 square-meter project is estimated to cost 10 million JD (14 million $US), and will include TV production studios, production control rooms, offices, and all supporting facilities.
The results of the Best Idea Award for the beautification of the city of Amman for the months of November and December 2004, and January 2005 were announced. The November prize went to Khaled al-‘Umari, a chemistry teacher, who proposed the idea of community participation in the cleaning and renovation of light fittings in residential areas. The December prize went to Mira al-'Abwa, a tenth-grade student, who suggested the design of garbage bins in the shape of famous cartoon characters to encourage children to use them. The January prize went to Husam Akram, an eleventh-grade student who proposed the idea of "Where am I?" according to which electronic signs would be posted in certain places around Amman so that residents and visitors would be able to press a button to get information regarding where they are and how they may reach other locations in the city. The municipality set a total amount of 7,000 JD (around 10,000 $US) for this award, to be distributed over a period of 14 months, with a monthly prize of 500 JD (around 700$US). (Source: al-Ra'i, February 21, 2005)
News from Academia
Ala Gammoh of the Department of Architecture at the Applied Science University established a personal web site that aims at encouraging interaction between students and instructors. The web site will include course descriptions, announcements, and student achievements, and may be accessed at www.ala_gammoh.asu.edu.jo.
Architect Ammar Khammash, principal of Ammar Khammash Architects, was the moderator for a seminar entitled The Eco-lodge and the Environment, which was part of the Built Environment for Sustainable Tourism conference that took place in Muscat, Oman. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Tourism in Oman, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Khammash also was commissioned to participate in the drafting of the Muscat Declaration on Built Environment for Sustainable Tourism.
The Jordan Cement Factories Company donated 90,000 JD (around 127,000 $US) for the construction of a new emergency section in Prince Zeid bin al-Hussein Hospital in Tafilah in the south of Jordan. The company also is funding the construction of al-Qadisiyyah Youth Club for another 90,000 JD, al-Harith bin ‘Umayr Municipality building for 70,000 JD (around 100,000 $US), and a mobile veterinary clinic in Busayra for 65,000 JD (around 92,000 $US). (Source: al-Ra'i, February 6, 2005)
The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Education signed an agreement with the German bank NFW to fund the construction of 12 primary schools in the poorer regions of Jordan. The schools will include 240 classrooms that will accommodate 8,400 students. The schools will be built according to international standards in relation to construction, facilities, and satisfying the requirements for students with special needs, and will be provided with the necessary furniture and equipment.
In this context, Jordan is implementing the Banking Economy Program with an approximate cost of 279 million JD (380 million $US) for the construction of 160 new schools, the renovation of 100 existing schools, the addition of 800 classrooms to existing schools, the establishment of 650 computer labs and 350 science labs, and the construction of 140 kindergartens. The program is funded by the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah. (Source: al-Ra'i, February 8, 2005)
Economic reports for the year 2004 showed that the Jordan Engineers Association issued building licenses for 12,000,000 square meters, 10,000,000 square meters of which belong to private sector projects and 2,000,000 square meters belong to public sector projects. The areas licensed for construction in 2004 show a 25% increase over those licensed in 2003, and a 40% increase over the areas licensed in 2002. The cost of construction works carried out in Jordan during 2004 is estimated at 7.1 billion JD (10 billion $US). (Source: al-Ra'i, February 8, 2005)
Preliminary reports from the Central Bank of Jordan indicate that construction activity increased significantly in December 2004 in comparison to the previous month. The total areas licensed for non-residential purposes were 152,800 square meters in comparison to 115,900 square meters in November 2004. As for residential purposes, the licensed areas were 676,400 square meters in December in comparison to 491,000 in November.
Licenses issued for residential purposes covered a total area of 440,300 square meters in February 2004, 732,700 in March, 724,200 in April, 718,800 in May, 746,500 in June, 746,800 in July, 733,800 in August, 710,000 in September, and 710,700 in October. Licenses issued for non-residential purposes covered a total area of 89,200 square meters in February, 107,300 in May, 157,700 in June, 211,600 in July, 179,100 in August, 140,000 in September, and 213,100 in October.
The reports also indicate that Amman featured the most building activity with licensed areas totaling 4,962,100 square meters, amounting to 61.8% of total licensed areas in Jordan; Irbid came second with 1,079,100 square meters, amounting to 13.4% of the total; and Zarqa came third with 629,400 square meters, amounting to 7.8% of the total. The remaining 16.9%, which accounts to 1,360,500 square meters, was distributed amongst the remaining parts of the country. 26,242 licenses were issued in 2004, 23,877 of which were for residential purposes and 2,365 for non-residential purposes. (Source: al-Ra'i, February 9, 2005)
The Petra Region Authority (PRA) held a weeklong carnival at the archaeological site of Alji, a deserted town located in the Petra region that is being revived as a tourist village. The carnival, which was organized in collaboration with local voluntary groups in the Petra region, hotels, and a number of tourist agencies, aimed at attracting tourists to Alji, whose last inhabitants had left it around 1950 to resettle in neighboring areas. PRA completed a 14-month, 650,000 JD (around 900,000 $US) project for the renovation of Alji. Parts of the village have been converted to accommodate 35 retail outlets where traditional handicrafts and jewelry made by villagers from neighboring areas will be displayed. (Source: The Jordan Times, February 22, 2005)