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39 Comments

  1. 1

    Sam

    *choke* good lord, from the construction photos I got quite excited but this is one of the worst mansions I have ever seen. The architecture is just awful, there is not attention to detail and no apparent architectural influence. It actually looks like a 3 star hotel I stayed in in Spain! I’m sorry but why would you choose that window above the door? There’s nothing appealing about the area either I was expecting coastal scenic views with towering palm trees. This looks like a sandcastle in the middle of the Sahara desert.

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Kenny Forder

      It’s not completed yet. The other 4 pictures are of other homes belonging to the family.

      Reply
    2. 1.2

      sara

      it did not look awful, I’m sure that YOU are just jealous that you will never set foot in the place. The architecture actually is amazing and it is a very detailed house.

      also, Burnalta Crest is in the FOOT-HILLS!! there are no palm trees in the hills.

      Reply
  2. 2

    Tony

    This looks like a big cheap tacky mall. No offense but most homes built buy arabs usually look cheap and tacky and a hot mess. They usually look like a big cheap mall. I even saw a palace in Saudi Arabia I think and it looked like a big cheap tacky hotel and I saw Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s house and it looked a hot mess too. With all that oil money I don’t get why they can’t buy taste.

    Reply
    1. 2.1

      John

      Most of the houses posted on here get dissed, several of which commenters claim to be tackey or some equivalent term. Arab, Russian, Israeli, etc., if a house is posted on this site, it’s likely to get some criticism…which is not to say that the criticism doesn’t have some rational.

      Reply
    2. 2.2

      Tony

      I just wanna add that I like Arab people and I like Arab culture. I have nothing against Arabs but I just don’t like their architecture. I happen to prefer French architecture the best and I am not French but they have the best architecture in my opinion. Also another thing I don’t like about most arab architecture is that most everything I have seen looks new. Are most Arabs new money? Meaning they made most of that oil money within the last 30 years or less? Cause most the big mansions and palaces I have seen look new and cheap. They don’t look like the quality of old European palaces. They have that look of like Ceasars Palace or something in Las Vegas or at Disney land. You know how it looks like a recreation of the pyramids or the sphinx or cinderella’s castle or whatever but if you look close up at it then it just looks like cheap foam painted to look like stone or something. Or how you see those huge marble pillars at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas but you know if you were to chip away at that pillar it would be like 1 millimeter thick worth of marble and a bunch of foam and plastic inside. Well that’s how everything looks the middle east like its new and cheap looking.

      Reply
      1. 2.2.1

        John

        Perhaps a better comparison is “old European palaces” with “old Islamic palaces”.

        Reply
        1. 2.2.1.1

          Tony

          I want to correct something that I said. I had said that I saw a saudi palace that looked cheap. I think I made a mistake. I think what I had saw was actually The Emirates Palace which is a hotel. I thought it was an actual royal palace but I think it is a hotel. It has that cheap hotel type of look about it. But I did see a tour of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s house and it did look cheap and crappy and I would assume his home was a royal palace since he is royalty and I have seen many other newer Arab structures and homes and they all look cheap. I am not familiar with any older arab structures, especially palaces. If someone can point some out to me I’d like to take a look. I do think the Taj Mahal is an architectural feat and I believe the greatest architectural feats are in Africa, India, South America and maybe other parts of Asia besides India such as China. Their ancient architecture far surpasses anything we have now, even the old world European architecture. People don’t know this but the ancients were more advanced in their architecture and technology than people are today. Take the Pyramids in Egypt for example, each brick is like the size of a bus and they are solid stone. I believe they are solid granite but I am not sure. And each stone weighs like 200 tons or something like that. The scientists and archealogists still to this day have no idea how they stacked all those massive heavy stones to form the pyramids. Not only were they architectural and technological feats. And I say technological because some people believed they had to use anti gravity technology to levitate the stones into place. But also the pyramids align perfectly with astrology and with the stars in a way that proves they knew about stars and planets that we have only just discovered recently and maybe some that we haven’t even discovered yet.

          Reply
          1. 2.2.1.1.1

            ZigZagBoom

            Oh come on, the pyramids were built by aliens, everyone knows that.

            (sarcasm!)

          2. 2.2.1.1.2

            Tony

            I think Africans built the pyramids but they may have possibly had alien help with the technology in order to levitate the stones or maybe they were just very advanced back then and invented the technology on their own. However it was done they do not have the technology today to even attempt it. Also the architecture today isn’t a tenth of one percent as advanced as the megalithic sculptures and structures and architecture that existed in ancient times. You can’t compare it. The ancient architecture is millions of times superior to what we have now.

          3. 2.2.1.1.3

            ZigZagBoom

            That analysis is very incorrect. IIRC an episode of Mythbusters addressed how the pyramids could have been built, and it wouldn’t require aliens or technology millions of times more advanced than ours. The Mayan cities are even more impressive: the Egyptians only had to drag their stones across a desert, not up a steep mountainside.

          4. 2.2.1.1.4

            Tony

            Explain how you drag thousands of two hundred ton stones across a desert?

          5. 2.2.1.1.5

            Geoffrey

            Just saw the pyramids last week. Egyptians built them, and it would not have been an easy task, now or 5500 years ago.

    3. 2.3

      NOVA Ben

      I’m half convinced that if you removed “cheap”, “tacky”, “crappy”, “mall”, and “hot mess” from your vocabulary, you actually wouldn’t have a sufficient vocabulary with which to form a coherent sentence.

      Reply
      1. 2.3.1

        Tony

        shut up Nova, you always have a smart comment.

        Reply
        1. 2.3.1.1

          NOVA Ben

          It’s tacky that you would say that. A very tacky, cheap and crappy thing to say. You must be a hot mess in real life.

          Reply
          1. 2.3.1.1.1

            Tony

            you must be a virgin with no life that lives in your mom’s basement.

    1. 3.1
  3. 4

    Grrrowler

    I think it should have been built a little closer to the neighboring houses. You can still see daylight between them, which means there’s still some of the lot unused!

    Reply
    1. 4.1

      lambskin

      LOL! Thinking the same-even the other house is squeezed in.

      Reply
  4. 5

    B

    Why does it matter that they’re Muslim? You never say “this is a mansion is being built by a Christian” or “this mansion is being built by a Buddhist”…

    Reply
    1. 5.1

      ZigZagBoom

      It might have been more politically correct not to mention that, but names like “Amal”, “Yasser” or “Khalil” – and of course the style of architecture – would have made it obvious they were Muslim.

      I think, in response to Tony’s point: yes, that they are nouveau riche is part of it. Sleazebag David Siegal’s hideous “Versailles” is almost as ugly as either of these places. But I sometimes wonder if there are deeper cultural reasons why modern residential Islamic architecture is the way it is – but I won’t go into that. In any case, it wasn’t always that way. The Taj Mahal was, for its time, comparable in architectural sophistication to what was being built in Europe. (Although the position of that building in any “canon” of Islamic architecture has always been somewhat controversial)

      Reply
      1. 5.1.1

        Tony

        Hey ZigZagBoom, I believe the Taj Mahal is in India and India is part of South Asia not the middle east. Also what are the deeper cultural reasons why modern residential Islamic architecture is the way it is? I am just curious?

        Reply
        1. 5.1.1.1

          John

          Do you mean modern residential Islamic architecture in the “West”? I’m not certain how many examples of modern residential Islamic architecture from other parts of the world have been explored here.

          Also, I think you may be conflating Arab and Islamic. Indeed, the Taj Mahal may be Islamic but not necessarily Arab.

          Reply
          1. 5.1.1.1.1

            ZigZagBoom

            I never used “Arab” or “Middle East” in what I wrote, so I was not conflating.
            And, yes, the Taj Mahal is held up as Indo-Islamic architecture, but there is controversy about the degree to which the designers/builders were Hindu who were designing in a Mughal style…and perhaps it should really be called “Islamo-Indian Architecture”. I don’t consider myself very versed in non-Western architecture – I just remember a figure from my past who had literally traveled the entire world and lampooned the suggestion that the Taj Mahal was considered an Islamic achievement. (even though he was not anti-Muslim…he had worked for an oil co. in Saudi Arabia)

            “I’m not certain how many examples of modern residential Islamic architecture from other parts of the world have been explored here.” Yes but it is here, and it’s somewhere else in the world, but looks about like what we’d expect in the US. My thinking is very vague which is why I didn’t want to articulate it…but it’s basically that the entirety of Islamic aesthetic thought is different from the West’s and if anything is probably diverging rather than converging. Take for example the way Medieval cathedrals in Europe had a cruciform design: even that would have seemed like idolatry to the Muslim mind. When you can’t even represent a recognizable life form in your decorative arts, of course they are going to follow a different course. When that course carries on for generations, it’s going to result in a completely different set of norms for architecture and the visual arts. That would inevitably seem foreign or I daresay ugly to people with a highly developed Western sense of design values. (of course some _Arabs_ in particular collect Western art as trophy pieces, just as they might buy a Tudor manor home in Hampshire for the same reason. That doesn’t mean they are actually embracing a non-Islamic aesthetic.)

            This paper would only provide some starting points, but I found it interesting to skim for a few minutes:
            http://archnet.org/library/pubdownloader/pdf/10129/doc/DPC1694.pdf

          2. 5.1.1.1.2

            ZigZagBoom

            Australia is de facto “the West”.
            Here’s non-Western, huge (biggest palace built in the modern age), and, to my Western sensibilities, ugly.

            http://exploredia.com/the-biggest-house-in-the-world/

          3. 5.1.1.1.3

            ZigZagBoom

            OMG, it’s a recycled design for an airport!
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Old_Davao,_Philippines_Airport.jpg
            That makes it even funnier.

      2. 5.1.2

        Rick

        There a lot of Christian Arabs, many of whom can have names like “Amal”, “Yasser”, or “Khalil”.

        Reply
        1. 5.1.2.1

          ZigZagBoom

          Thanks, but I didn’t just fall off a pumpkin cart. I actually know of several Christian Middle Eastern families. My parents once met Najeeb Halaby at a party because they had mutual friends. This family’s names including their surname seem succinctly Muslim to me, but I could be wrong. I was making an educated guess.

          Reply
          1. 5.1.2.1.1

            Rick

            Then I suppose you should know better…

          2. 5.1.2.1.2

            Geoffrey

            Pretty sure they are “arabic” names, and people of arabia can have many different faiths – take coptic christian for example – they derived and seperated from the muslim religion about 1500 years ago – they would still have arabic names from old muslim families no?

        2. 5.1.2.2

          ZigZagBoom

          Oh look I was right:
          “Born in Palestine in 1938, Mr Shahin was also a prominent member of the state’s Muslim community, having endowed the Al-Khalil Mosque and Islamic Arabic Centre at Woodville North with $5 million”

          Reply
          1. 5.1.2.2.1

            Rick

            That’s fine, but it still doesn’t logically justify your comment that those specific names make it “obvious they were Muslim”.

  5. 6

    Andrew

    Whatever the cultural background it’s the simple truth that new money and class don’t go together. New money might grasp the concept of opulence, but it has no understanding of taste. And it just so happens that most of new money nowadays comes from Asia, be it Arab, Indian or Chinese.

    Reply
    1. 6.1

      ZigZagBoom

      The explanation I’ve always found most obvious is that the nouveau riche simply don’t have time to acquire taste. They are too busy making their fortunes. For aspiring worker bees on Wall St., 80 hour weeks are the baseline. (though I’ve heard conflicting reports on that, I must say) If they indulge their kids in the right way, those kids have a chance of developing good taste. From what I’ve seen though with my limited contact with these sort of people, that is less and less the case. Or maybe the target has just shifted: from being “well rounded” to just being “successful”. I can’t go get the figure but it wouldn’t surprise me if admissions at the Ivy League and the big time private universities like Stanford & Northwestern are getting more competitive, while selectivity at places like Amherst or Wellesley is leveling off or even declining. I know a young couple of super aspirant bourgeois bohemians who got humanities degree at places like that, but a few years after graduation changed course from what were amazingly stable, well but not high paying career (hard to explain…trust me) to go into medical school. Even though neither of them had pre-med backgrounds. I think their parents went from “nobliesse oblige” when they entered college in the flush late 1990s to “kids, you gotta think about the bottom line” after the 2008 crash.

      Reply
  6. 7

    Andrew

    Lack of time might be one reason, but I think another, more important one is that newly rich have the need to display their new-found wealth – that’s what they’ve worked for, that’s their crowning and defining achievement. This, often combined with lack of education then results in ostentatious and garish displays such as many houses featured here. Those coming from the old money on the other hand (especially European) are often more likely to actually *hide* their true wealth; they’ve known it their whole life so it’s not such a big deal to them.

    Reply
  7. 8

    Darryl

    Who builds a 30,000 square foot, 9 bedroom home with only 5 bathrooms???

    Reply
  8. 9

    el

    not sure if you guys are aware that this family owns every house on that street (Burnalta).

    this mansion indeed lacks class but what else could you expect from individuals with seemingly more money than sense?
    one of the grandsons is unfortunately a regular customer where i work and he is the definition of an asshole, just like the rest of the sports car brigade he brings with him, splashing their money and sleazy ways left right and centre. gross.

    Reply

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