“Windtower: The Merchant Houses of Dubai” Book Launch

The Art Jameel Shop, in collaboration with Medina Publishing, is pleased to host the launch of a new and extended edition of Windtower: The Merchant Houses of Dubai by Peter Jackson and Anne Coles, coinciding with the 50th anniversary year of the founding of the United Arab Emirates.

Windtowers are found in traditional courtyard houses up and down the Gulf. Offering a distinctive and dramatic skyline above the historic quarters of Gulf towns, they are also highly functional, harnessing the wind to provide an effective and natural method for cooling in buildings.

Extensively illustrated with photographs, drawings and diagrams based on original research and detailed surveys undertaken by the authors, Windtower offers a unique insight into not only how windtowers work, but also provides a record of a past way of life, and the culture and history of Dubai. This new edition provides more information on the role the merchant community played in contributing to Dubai’s success in trade and commerce. It also considers lessons that might be learned from Dubai’s windtowers and traditional built form at a time of global warming and climate crisis and how this might also benefit contemporary urban design in the region.

This new publication, and its soon to be published translation into Arabic, is a result of direct support by Albastakiya Cultural Centre, for which the authors are immensely grateful. It also provides a memory of contributors, some of whom sadly are no longer with us; it has been those personal stories that added the flesh to the architectural bones of their early research.

The event will be chaired by Uns Kattan, Art Jameel’s Head of Learning and Research, in a slide illustrated interview with Peter Jackson and Rashad Bukhash. Copies of Windtower will be available for purchase and signing.



Peter Jackson FRIBA has practised as an architect in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and in the UAE where he first arrived 50 years ago. For the last 15 years he has been Architect Advisor in HH Ruler’s Office in Sharjah, involved with the planning and design of award-winning museums and visitor centres in sensitive environments.

Social geographer Dr Anne Coles began a preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of windtowers while in Dubai between 1968 to 1971, then in collaboration with Peter from 1974. She was a senior social development adviser in Britain’s Department for International Development 1994-1998, and before retirement, a research associate at the International Gender Studies Centre at Oxford University. Their joint research has always received support and encouragement from the local community, not least from Rashad Bukhash, who in 1974 assisted Peter undertake the measured survey of his father’s house in Al Bastakiya.

Rashad Mohammed Sharif Bukhash is founding Chairman of the UAE Architectural Heritage Society, and Chairman of the Emirates Chapter of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). He has served as a member of the Federal National Council and as the former director of the Architectural Heritage and Antiquities Department of Dubai Municipality. Rashad has also been responsible for the publication of many books on history and traditional architecture in the UAE. His contribution to the research in this book has been considerable.

Albastakiya Cultural Centre (BCC) aims to support distinguished cultural and historical works and projects, as well as academic theses that foster fruitful cross-cultural dialogue. The BCC endeavours to extend bridges of communication with reputed cultural and historical centres throughout the world to increase understanding of Arab thought and culture, helping strengthen connections with various cultures in the region.



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