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Friday, May 29, 2009

Shades of Green...

The ruins of an old palace, fronted by posters from its more prominent past...

Came across an article in Building Design, a UK based architectural weekly newspaper, and thought that in its, call it, 'softness', it provided a nice approach to 'Green' Building. Even though clearly not directly related to this region, it nevertheless seems to accept that sustainability is more of a 'qualitative' than a 'quantitative' art - i.e. it provides a nice way to avoid the usually more numerical way of using percentages or quota based means to justify an (environmental) aim. Such 'shades of green', to provide a more regional comparison, was also something practiced by architects such as Hassan Fathy or Charles Correa, who mostly relied on 'passive' (non technological) methods and an evolved understanding of the climate and cultures in which they realized their plans. (As stated in the 'Kuwait School Manifesto') We learn everything from history, but this doesn't mean we have to duplicate it - just walking around some of the, now abandoned, traditional buildings/ ruins in Kuwait there is abundant evidence of some inherent 'age old' sensibilities that make sense when constructing in an arid climate. We need not necessarily replicate these, but there is much empirical wisdom saturated in those old walls which we could learn from and apply in the way we practice our discipline today...

A mid 20th century residential house...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Contemporary Renditions of Mashrabiyas...

Interior view of one of the canvas mashrabiyas...

Maysaa just returned from a brief visit to Bahrain, where she took some photos of some (mashrabiya) screens we designed (predominantly realized by Maysaa) for the La fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art. These were initially intended to be completed for our exhibition at the art Centre last year, but were only finished after the exhibition had already concluded. However, the client seems to be happy indeed with the end result.

Close-up, showing some of the 'extruded' light patterns on the wall, of the mashrabiya screen above...

In total three different renditions of the screen were used - two made of canvas which were used to frame some of the large windows in the entrance courtyard, which were laser-cut. The last version was cut with a water-jet out of steel. These panels were used on top of the peripheral of the fountain courtyard to provide additional privacy from the buildings surrounding the centre. These have by now rusted (which was intentional) to match the terracotta of the walls.

Close-up, here through an interior mesh-screen, of a canvas mashrabiya...

Included below are some additional photos (all taken by Maysaa) of the mashrabiya screens.

Exterior view of the screen above...

Entrance courtyard of the La fontaine Contemporary Arts Centre

Second laser-cut canvas mashrabiya pattern...

The pattern density changes across a screen as well as between adjacent mashrabiya screens...

An exterior view of the second canvas screen...


The water-jet cut peripheral wall screens surround the (inner) fountain courtyard. These block the views from the adjacent buildings surrounding the centre...

These mashrabiya screens' coat of rust blends well with the peripheral walls terracotta finish (above and below)...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finger-Run Update - Scales of Touch...

Arm and Torso Touch...

A few more recent images of the Finger-Run Design (a design made through touch, for touch, - all through computing based means), outlining the various scales of touch the design aims to involve...

Hand (scale) Touch...

Finger (scale) (exploratory) touch...

Fingertip (scale) touch...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Night view in Izmir...


I'm currently in Izmir, Turkey, where I've been invited to present at the Department of Architecture, at the Izmir University of Economics. More of that later, but above is an image, the view, from my hotel window... I find it quite charming. It has something domestic and intimate about it, and also something very reflective of the local vernacular...

An additional update hopefully accompanied by some more photos in a few days time...