Date Palm Leaf Architecture

Usages of the Date Palm Tree

The date palm is in a true miracle, ever since human history the date palm is one of the few trees which humans utilized in full. Every part of the date palm is used for human needs.

Whether it is the date seeds, which after have been soaked in water until soft are then fed to horses, cattle, camels, sheep and goats. Dried and ground up, date seed powder is included in chicken feed. With the latest scientific discoveries date seeds are now used as coffee substitutes which help with the treatment of Atherosclerosis. In Italy, there are some groves of date palms maintained solely to supply the young leaves for religious use on Palm Sunday. In North Africa, the leaves have been commonly used for making huts. Mature leaves are made into mats, screens, baskets, crates and fans. The processed leaflets, combined with ground up peanut shells and corn cobs, are used for making insulating board. Dried, they are used as walking sticks, brooms, fishing floats, and fuel. The midribs are made into baskets. The leaf sheaths have been prized for their scent. The stripped fruit clusters are used as brooms. The fiber from the old date palm leaf sheaths is used for various purposes including packsaddles, rope, coarse cloth and large hats to mention just a few usages, left over parts of the trunk are burned for fuel.

Date palm Architecture


Dr. Sandra Piesik

Palm-leaf buildings might not be the latest architectural trend, but they’re definitely beautiful and eco-friendly. Influenced by the notion of reintroducing traditional heritage and tackling climate change, Dr. Sandra Piesik from 3 Ideas Limted is building a food shelter at the UAE’s Al Ain -a UNESCO world heritage site, using palm leaves. Sandra Piesik is the founder of 3 ideas Limited, an architectural consultancy specializing in architecture, design and cultural research. She has worked extensively in the United Arab Emirates on projects that have aimed to reconnect historic UAE culture and its heritage to the contemporary environment, and has focused in particular on the use of palm-leaf construction methods. She is a chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was recently invited to become a Nominator for the Aga Khan Award in Architecture projects.

Book: "Arish: Palm-Leaf Architecture"

date leaf Architecture

in her fascinating and uper intriguing book "Arish: Palm-Leaf Architecture" Sandra celebrates this unique indigenous building and craft tradition and provides the foundation for a genuine understanding of the region, critical in the fast-developing global economy.

Palm leaves have been used in ingenious ways to create habitable structures that have endured for decades. In many regions this is referred to as Arish. However, with slick contemporary Western architecture now being used to promote the international stature of countries in the Gulf regions, many of these localized techniques are being lost.

This book, the product of a three-year research programme, provides a comprehensive overview of palm-leaf architecture, its history and traditions and includes:

• an overview in historical photographs
• a comparison of regional variations in the United Arab Emirates
• a focus on architectural and stylistic details
• contemporary applications of palm-leaf architecture
• a resources section, including a step-by-step introduction to the making of Arish, from raw material to built form.

Enjoy the book!

Images © Dr. Sandra Piesik,

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