September 05, 2006

A glitch in the Matrix? The windowless houses of Riyadh

The photos speaks for themselves, but mind the awkward angles they're taken at, they were shot in a drive-by fashion as I thought to myself that those who put too much effort "covering" up their houses will probably be really pissed-off if they found someone –a foreigner especially- taking photos of the very entity they're "covering" away from voyeuristic intruders!

Let's start with this one, the owner of this house decided to have some windows but with an angle to cut any line of sight! people inside probably suffer from a stiff knick when looking outside the window.

Your average apartment building comes in two window fitting flavours to fit your lifestyle: noisy "window" air-conditioning or a blinded window.

The guy decided to artistically & permanently place a metal sheet in front of the windows adjacent to the main street.

No need for air-flow, single-sided darkened windows.

To be fair, this is how the majority of houses have their windows done, fair enough I assume!

This is from the inside of an apartment building, to come and think about it, methinks the reasoning behind such practice is not to detour nosy neighbours but actually to prevent whose inside from looking outside!

At least this one is different, L-shaped, very very original, remember these are not see-through glass, they're all darkened or "امبزر".

A wall was porpously constructed to hide away the window and block any chances of sight in either direction.

This is another typical in-the-box boxed house.

The little window is for the toilet probably.

Keep the window arches to maintain the architectural visual harmony (if such thing exist) probably; but do with glass! I swear I didn't touch any of the photos with Photoshop, this is sheer reality.

Another creative use of metal sheets in shading one's windows.

One must be fair, this villa have a huge lobby area to the right side covered out with glass, but the rest of the house (especially the sleeping & living quarters) is hidden away as it seems.

Another typical setup, notice the metal shading to the left, this is very common in between most adjacent houses.

Had a change of heart? This one inspired the "glitch in the Matrix" title, from the trap scene when the Machines changed the attributes of a building in order for it not to have any exists (doors, windows ..etc) causing a "glitch" Dejavu.

So… a visual account of a strange phenomenon here in Riyadh, I used to find the huge concrete fences around house to be repelling, but these are nothing compared to being stuck in one of them houses for days & days without a hint of sun shine or allowing a breathe fresh air to replace the AC-intoxicated & rotten air in the house (if you don't mind the desert dust).


MaherK said...

Your photos make me wonder!

I know in England the government put taxes on houses with larger windows; their argument revolves around the scientific fact that glass looses angry. People build houses in England attached to each other for three reasons I would assume:

1. To reduce energy
2. Reduce taxes
3. Make their houses warmer.

In Dubai they are building a tower where apartments can flip, windows flip along with the flat in whatever direction desired; I call this luxury.

In Saudi they have the money and the energy, what’s wrong with their heads I don’t know!! Maybe too much sun!

Too much privacy!!

Nice Pics

Isam said...

Maybe, Maybe, they have small windows, or no windows, to limit the heat coming it from the sun during the day, did that occure to you ?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm sure Isam is partly right. That last window you shot actually has a steel door that rolls down during the day to keep out the hot sun and the sand. Then in the evening it can be rolled open to allow the cool night air in there. I'm sure there might be some element of modesty to what you've seen, but the more obvious pressing reason is that it's bloody hot out there and having big open windows makes the houses hot as fire. You're searching for some hidden conspiracy to hang these folks on when it's nothing more than the obvious.