Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Kate Ashley


A protocol for the conservation of the built heritage of Suakin

Project Title

A Cultural Sustainability Building Design Framework for Arid Zones


Mallinson Architects and Engineers


Academic Supervisors:
Dr Mohamed Osmani
Professor Stephen Emmitt

Industrial Supervisors:
Mr M Mallinson
Dr H Mallinson

Director of Research:
Professor Stephen Ison

Research Period

2010 - 2014

A cultural sustainability building design framework for arid zones

Context and Background

Culture represents many of the intangible aspects of societies? values, customs and patterns of life that are often ignored in current sustainable building design thinking and action, which are mainly concerned with environmental sustainability. The combination of cultural sustainability and architectural design is the purpose of this study to see what different cultures have achieved in two different environments the Arid and Temperate Zones; and how modern methods and standards are challenged by the expectations of specific local cultures. This challenge puts to question the basis of modern sustainable concerns and suggests that the life lived sets parameters outside of sustainable design as currently posited. By accepting a different range of cultural living parameters, the entire issue of sustainable built environment can find a new focus, one that permits a freer but more responsive set of living conditions to be the basis on which buildings and environments are designed, that can be much more efficient and create a far smaller carbon footprint than any restrictive design based on current methods and standards.

Mallinson Architects and Engineers Ltd (MA&E) has a number of sustainable development projects in the Middle East and UK. It is based in offices in London, with Project Offices in Egypt and Sudan. MA&E has a worldwide client base including UNESCO, World Bank, World Monument Fund, and the Ministries of Culture, Youth and Sport in Sudan and Ethiopia, and the Ministry of Culture in Egypt. MA&E worked with Middle Eastern Commercial companies including Bahgat Group, LLoyd Punj Group, Comcraft and newly formed Spinnaker Ltd. In UK, MA&E clients include the Foreign Office, and Investment Companies and Banks, such as Investec. Our work specialises in designed solutions for cultural site management, heritage development and integrated planning. The sustainable aspect of these projects is paramount as the client base in developing countries has very low levels of resources for maintenance and investment is very intermittent. Associated Development Partnerships (ADP) is a development company investing in sustainable development in UK and developing countries. It is looking at potentials for alternative community structures to achieve sustainable development in UK. It is also an investment partner in sustainable tourism development in Sudan with the government of Sudan.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the EngD study is to develop a sustainable building design framework that maps and signifies cultural dimension and parameters within an arid environment. Research Objectives The full details of the role and responsibilities for the RE will develop over the coming months, but, in essence, in addition to the academic requirements, the project will be delivered through a number of discrete yet connected work packages, including:

  1. Review current and emerging sustainable building design approaches, concepts and technologies.
  2. Examine the concept of cultural sustainability within a building design context.
  3. Identify the key cultural parameters that have an affect on sustainable building lifecycle.
  4. Assess similarities and differences of cultural dimension of space perception in arid and temperate zones with a specific focus on UK and Sudan.
  5. Develop a cultural sustainability building design framework within a temperate context.
  6. Validate, refine and customise the conceptual cultural sustainability building design roadmap into an integrated framework within an arid context.


Ashley, K., et al., 2011. Conservation, Tradition and Vernacular Construction in Developing Regions, 10th International Detail Design in Architecture Conference Proceedings, 27th + 28th October 2011, Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, Page numbers:  pp. 181-90, ISBN number:  978-975-561-411-3.



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Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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