Critics: Ali Rahim, Ferda Kolatan, Nate Hume, Robert .R Neumayr, Maru Chung
The Hive is an infrastructure project that can better meet the emerging demand for incorporating advanced Drone technology into daily life in New York City. The project was proposed as an alternative asset argument for the usage of the land on 432 Park Avenue, the project aims to create a central control terminal that hosts docking and charging stations for personal or commercial drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) in the center of Manhattan. The current air-zoning regulations are to be re-shaped in a vertical highway model around a tower.
The Modules on the façade are designed to fit nine different types of drones, categorized by the shape and scale of their landing fixtures (point, bar or ring). A sequential study of how to categorize non-uniformed industry products into modular fixed architectural structures was conducted through a series of simplification of the geometries and articulations of the forms. The different sizes and geometry of the drone paired with different size and geometry of the module result in a variety of configurations. The platform with docked drones can be flipped vertically to be in parallel with the tower façade. The façade is constantly animated as the platforms flip outwards and backwards to nest back into it.
The overall organization of the façade uses layering as means to maximize surface area, with two overlapping exterior layers and an inner layer. A hierarchy is established, as the size of drones and modules is smaller in the inner layer creating a more intricate interior that can be accessed by the smallest drones by a major opening in the façade. The transparency of the tower changes constantly, while the tenants of the building-the drones fly in and out. The flickering lights of the battery station behind each module help with navigation and also indicate the occupancy percentage of the building.
Iceland is home to a wide spectrum of volatile phenomenons that is continuously shaped by the forces of nature. As the land of fire and ice, it is an all-encompassing frontier to the untamed wilderness and beyond. The intensity of its terrain is unmatched only by the fickleness of its weather; a vast and desolate landscape of fjords and plateaus tempered by the northern atlantic drift. It can fluctuate notoriously without a moment’s notice leaving the unprepared in a state of calamity. For the audacious few, the island is a force to be reckoned with…
Yet beneath such a powerful entity, there lies a serenity of unimaginable beauty. Due to its subarctic locale, the island experiences a temperamental climate that results in some of the world’s most spectacular atmospheric anomalies; one of which is the aurora borealis. Formed by the collision between the solar winds and Earth’s magnetosphere, the northern light is a vibrant painting on a celestial canvas. Like an opulent serenade, it dances across the night sky with a seductive allure enticing onlookers and passersby. To fathom the beauty of its splendor is to immerse oneself fully without distractions within a world of one’s own cosmos. In another sense, to design a room to view the skies is for architecture to be muted in its presence, so that nature can radiate in splendor.
The proposal is conceived from the synthesis between pseudocraters, and the traditional viking longhouses. By the shores of Lake Mývatn, there are unique landforms that mimic volcanic eruptions known as rootless cones. They are in fact, the violent outcomes of steam explosions caused by lava when it flows over a wet surface. The results are large hollow cavities that look like meteor craters. Coincidentally, their concave formations make them optimal for sky grazing as they function like nature’s planetariums. The circular apexes provide covers that filter out undesired “noises” such as artificial light pollution, and other extraneous elements. What emerges is a “room” for one to reflect upon the richness of the island’s essence.
Its cross-section mirrors the same profile with the local vernacular architecture. As a protracted longhouse warped around the perimeter of the crater, the project acts as an extension between the artificial, and the natural. The idea is to integrate and embed the familiar with new methods of usage to create a synergistic, yet meaningful hybrid. In this case, the traditional method of turf construction is playfully modified to generate a more sensitive response to its dynamic context (the lights). A process that celebrates the simplistic elegance of the Icelandic culture and design.
Structurally, the configuration follows the same technique as the iconic turf houses. The incline slope of the concave provides seating as well as structure, and insulation for the peripheral longhouse. This allows the crater to function not just as a natural amphitheatre, but also as a shelter for the family, their guests, and the indigenous horses. The wilderness is not tamed, but harnessed and “framed” within all aspects of the design. It is a place where nature is embraced in all of its entirety.
A fortress of solitude to a temple for contemplation transformed, the prison of Favignana is a stoic monolith set within an unparalleled backdrop of natural beauty. It’s surrounding waters run endlessly into the horizon creating a sublime datum between earth and heaven. As the sun rises and sets each day, the sky is painted with a spectrum of vibrant hues unfil-tered. Its effects are amplified by the pristine crispness of the Mediterranean. An awe-inspiring phenomenon of light and colour dances across the vast landscape. It is a symphony for the senses that encompasses the whole island with allure. A moment of reflection is required to take in its splendor, but to experience it in its totality, one must rid oneself of all distrac-tions. Nature takes its role on stage as the protagonist, while architecture remains as its supporting cast. The built environ-ment aids in the framing of the natural, and its synergy create a narrative that guides the audience throughout. The for-tress becomes an epicenter not just for the artworks within, but also for the art of the landscape and beyond.
To scale the pinnacle is to embark upon an journey of anticipation. The idea is not to reach one’s destination expeditiously, but instead it is about rediscovering the natural and artificial wonders that are embedded throughout this rich terrain. From the subtle striations of the tuff stones to the mesmerizing panoramas, and ultimately the artworks, there is a linear series of hints and motifs that teases and beckons the audience to appreciate and admire what the island has to offer. Through pathway extensions, and landform augmentations, the beauty of nature is integrated with architectural typology, and thus elevates the significance of the both. What results is an odyssey that is not be defined by a single moment, but instead by a crescendo from piano to forte. Art and architecture evolves to become an immersive experience that breaches the boundaries of a canva or pedestal to envelope our senses.
Art of Nature Walkway
A lone pathway guides the audience from the commune of Favignana to the fortress. It is a solemn road that zig-zags along the terraced contours. A hike without pause, one is compelled to promptly reach the top in order indulge on the apex. There are no designated moments to marvel at the contextual beauty of its surrounding...
What is proposed then is a series of walkway platforms that extend out from the pivots as viewing markers. They act as points of reference allowing the travellers to rest and remark upon the journey ahead. Each platform offers a different vantage point of the island and the ocean around. There are rooms within each that provide shelter and gallery space, as well as a framed view of the landscape. Their limited quantity, each derived from the stones excavated from the artscape hotel above, is to emphasize the surreality of the scenes they generate. As one traverse from a landing to another, anticipation built upon, and led towards the climax.
Art of Landscape (Hotel)
Created from a military past, the fortress is built upon layers and layers of terraced foundations. Each band provides structural supports for the ones above. Their horizontality is a very distinct and prominent feature that defines the overall organization of the fortress and the walkway. As such, it is pertinent that any articulation on the terrain should respect and integrate with the existing striations.
The artscape hotel comprises of a network of subterranean clusters that runs along the terraced base. Its orga-nization is determined by the outline of the contours to allow for a simplicity of construction, and the mitigation of runoffs. Given the radial nature of the typography, each unit has a clean vista of the island and the ocean below. Ample amounts of natural light are brought in through by the light wells along the corridors, and the units have generous openings to the exterior. The design mimics the stone quarries to follow a familiar method of excavation, while incorporating the existing materials that are locally abundant. Similar to the art walkway, the focus of the design is to maximize the incredible pres-ence of Favignana’s natural context, while the architecture remains muted in awe..
Art of Materiality (or the lack of)
A stoic monolith turned into a gallery reborned.
The desire for silence can be translated as a space devoid of noise; noise that permeates past the audio and into the visual. In this sense, it is a fortress without clutter. Like a white box, bare and reclusive, it leaves nothing for the imagination other than to reflect upon the artistic endeavours that’s within, or the natural beauty that’s outside. In this process, the fortress is stripped to its most basic essence; pure and untempered with. The existing materials are restored to reveal the beauty and simplicity of its structural past. Any unnecessary materials that may dilute and distract the user’s’ desire for contemplation are removed. The only things left are detail frames, such are windows and doorways, that help to signify the focal points of a space as well as to mitigate the transition between them. A bare room becomes a canvas for which all things are possible.Whether it is an artist in search of seclusion, or a client pursuit for a new motif, the fortress can offer them both relief.
Real Fictions I
Exhibited at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale
Critic: Ferda Kolatan
Real Fictions is an exibition of 5 design speculations on informal settelments in Cairo. “The Vault” is one of the 5 exhibited prototypes. It develpes a narrative around a neglected heritage site located within one of Cairo’s largest informal settlements “Ezbet Keirallah”. The largest space within the walls of the building is the ancient weapons artillery, lined with a grid of vaulted domes with little light coming in through a few small windows in the wall.
Replacing part of the formal dome grid with spontaneous informal hybrid domes allows the building to belong to the informality of its surrounding. By inviting light into the formerly dark interior, the space is utilized to exhibit the recycled products made by the community, becoming an activity and cultural hub for the area.
In a city of festivals, there exists a dynamic accretion of energy manifested through adaptation, and cultural celebrations. This energy, though ephemeral at times, is never stagnant and continues to evolve through the will of its people’s imagination. Using “pop-ups, pavilions and architecture,” the city of Adelaide has continued to demonstrate its ingenuity in placemaking that is depicted by its ever-changing performative motifs. Given such a rich and vibrant identity, it seems only fitting that any design intervention has to challenge and elevate the status quo of a present innovative community.
This project seeks to harness that creativity by means of extending and amplifying the vibrant culture that is Adelaide’s creative social landscape. The process is to utilize a series of deployable carts that is flexible, and tailor-fitted to the desires of the “temporal” communities. Whether it is a modest meeting between two entrepreneurs or a large performative gathering, a field condition can be generated as needed. The carts embody a “make as you will” mentality, where space is shaped and reshaped as the venues change. Since no two programs are alike, it is essential that the carts permit an ease of operation. Notions of privacy is dictated by the accumulation of modular intensity. From the spectacle to the spectacular, they blur the boundaries between the different disciplines within the creative field.
The infrastructural matrix holding the carts acts as an instrument of emancipation. In reference to the manifestos of Archizoom, Andrea Branzi states, “the idea of an inexpressive, catatonic architecture, outcome of the expansive forms of logic of the system and its class antagonists… [allows for] a society freed from its own alienation, emancipated from the rhetorical forms of humanitarian socialism and rhetorical progressivism.” Architecture should not hold the occupants hostage within the constraints of its formal identity, but instead, it encourages their spontaneity and adaptiveness by providing the spaces to do so. Physical boundaries are reduced to figments of one’s imaginations. Basic amenities such as egress and washrooms are kept at a minimal to allow a maximal number of programmatic configurations. Hydraulic lifts anchor the ends to mitigate the carts not only between levels, but onto the urban realm as well. The site itself becomes no more than a focal point for which the citizens of Adelaide can project their visions and desires...
As Charles Landry plainly mentions, “Adelaide has to display qualities such as open-mindedness, make people feel it is possible to take imaginative leaps or think laterally, and allow people to take measured risks.”
Each cart is 8’ x 8.5’ x 16.5’ in dimensions, thus making them suitable for urban navigation. Their mobility is to encourage anyone with a vehicle (and legal license of course) to simply come and rent out the carts as desired. Out in the field, they can become makeshift pavilions that frame venues for concerts, rallies, markets, demonstrations, and installations. When docked, the carts become whimsical places for people to study, collaborate, and become part of a greater network of like-minded individuals. This impromptu approach will foster communities and strengthen relationships that are otherwise unlikely to develop in a formal setting. Its influence has a profound impact on the city, as there are no confinements to the scale of its extend. Our audacity to dream becomes the limit of our reach.
From a distance, you see the materialization of a mirage. It is an ephemeral presence of darkened lines, and whitened stones. Its silhouette fades in and out as you approach it. You soon realize that it is a whimsical game between the hidden and the revealed, where the degree of porosity changes based upon one's location. As you step past its threshold, you recognize the pebbles to be the very same milky quartz that wash upon the shores nearby. They provide camouflage from the migration above, while gently mitigating light permeation within. The rays of sunshine dance playfully around you prompting a moment to bask in its warmth.
As a built object and in its method of construction, the tower aims to create minimal amounts of disruption to the surrounding natural landscape. The foundation, raised above the waterlevel, sits on a set of precast concrete piers, thus eliminating the need for any heavy construction. The core supporting the platforms comprises of four sets of timber columns. They are centralized to provide maximum light and visual exposure between interior and exterior.
The facade utilizes a system of prefabricated panels that can be augmented to accommodate different styles of assemblage. It is made up of horizontally stacked steel fins with milky quartz, taken from the nearby beaches, placed between. The fins are anchored onto the platform beams with tension cables stretched between to provide secondary support. The pebbles play a partial role in transmitting the forces of the panels down to the foundations below.
The Sibling's Solemnity is aproject that investigates the potential of an urban 3D printing that mitigates densification through alternative methods of infrastructural renewal. The idea of a “new nature” serves as the catalyst for this experiment, where we are challenged by the era of the Anthropocene. The footprints of humanity are beginning to significantly transform Earth’s ecosystems, and if we are to blindly traverse down this pathway, there will be grave consequences to be paid. What is at stake ultimately revolves not only around our own species’ survivability, but more importantly, the survivability of our planet. The issues of “what does the future of human civilization look like?” and “how do we co-exist and maintain synergistic relationships with other species?” becomes ever pressing matters. An urban 3D printer becomes a plausible solution to lessen the stress of the human presence.
The printer “cannibalizes” existing infrastructure as a means to regenerate our environments. Materials are extracted and sorted by type within the cavity of the printer to later be broken down into reusable building blocks. As the science and engineering of materials become more advance, so will the efficiency of the printer and the prototypes it makes. A timeline is placed on older structures, so that their eventual decay will prompt the printer come and reabsorb them into the system. This allows an ongoing process in which the evolutions of human inhabitation are performed and demonstrated by the printer.
A City's Echo: Amman Cultural Community Forum
1st Prize Winner - Isustain Initiative 2013
In collaboration with: Yasmin Al-Jafari, Abeer Bshaei
The project is located in the Hashemite plaza urban block, the ancient site of the Roman forum which dominated the heart of Amman (named Philadelphia Valley at the time). The forum was bordered by the Amphitheater and the Odeon, flanked by colonnades on three sides and the “Seil Amman” water stream on the fourth.
The city of Amman expanded from this very spot, climbing the hills and becoming a bigger city with big ambitions. The heart of Amman gradually lost its vitality and new nodes were forming where new generations started journeys of self-rediscovery, reconciling an old identity with an emerging one.
the project target was to channel these new youthful attempts of a modern Ammani pop culture into a project located in the old heart of the city, thus rejuvenating the old heart and forming a strong embodiment of Amman’s modern cultural identity by amplifying it from this one of a kind theatrical setting.
In order to embody the city’s identity in architecture, research was done to deduct the aspects that influence a person’s perception of a city’s identity or image. For Amman, tangible aspects are related to images such as its unique skyline of hills, stairs and urban texture. Others are intangible such as history, memories and pop culture. Echoes from formal languages that define the city’s tangible image were woven with design elements that express the intangible.
Secondary School in Malawi
Second Place Winner - Archstorming African School Project Competition
In collaboration with: Chang Yuan Max Hsu, Veronika Volkova
Inspiration for the project is drawn from the iconic tree of knowledge and traditional African village typologies. Much like the gathering spaces underneath trees, a series of ringed canopies are formed to provide shade and shelter. At their centers are the courtyards for sustainable farming and social gatherings. The students learn about the necessary skills involved in maintaining a community, where practical knowledge serves in conjunction with the theoretical.
One of the school’s goals is to educate the students about proper farming methods. Poor agricultural practices, such as the burning of farmland, and unsuitable crop selections are the root of Malawi’s environmental and agricultural problems. They destroy healthy soil by weakening its structure, stripping it of essential nutrients, and decreasing its water retention capacities. This carelessness makes the land vulnerable to deforestation and mass flooding...
The courtyards will serve as an educational demonstration of sustainable farming, where vernacular crop rotation will be implemented as the main point of focus. Compost, converted from human wastes, and collected rainwater will be used to fertilize and maintain the vegetation. Students will learn to cultivate the farms with alternating greens such as maize, legumes, and sweet potatoes. Any excess produce can be sold, or donated to the nearby communities. Advocating a circular management of resources will minimize both the carbon footprints and institutional expenses, while providing an incentive for the students to continue their education.