As a design-build studio, this semester-long prototyping studio involved using both digital and analog tools to design and actually build a sample of a sound absorbing system that will be located in the foundations basement of CAAD at AUS. The final prototype, which was developed at a later stage, was designed and built by a group of 8 students, and is essentially a wall system that can be morphed into a multitude of vertical forms. The developed structure is currently in the basement level of the American University of Sharjah's College of Architecture, Art and Design studio building.
The project recently has gone on to win the AIA Middle East Merit Award 2014 for best student work in the region. In the same year, Emily Baker, the studio instructor, accepted Associate of Collegiate Schools of Architecture's Design Build Award for Best Practices in School-based Design-Build projects - the 2015 ACSA Design Build Award.
UNSOUND’s inherent components work together in a way to both absorb low frequency sounds and act as an aesthetic partition to create smaller working spaces within the existing open space basement. We began by experimenting with modular systems that we could produce in our fabrication labs, working with sheet metal and curved folds. The system went through many evolutions until we reached one that was co-dependent and structurally efficient, with directed views through it.
Acoustically, the system functions based on the concept of an acoustical deck, which is comprised of absorbent material sandwiched between metal sheets that are perforated on one side. Sounds travel through the perforated side, and get trapped and absorbed. The rippling form of the system also helps with acoustical diffusion.
Student work done with Emily Baker.
A flexible modular projection environment is colored by the activity of its occupants. Through a mobile keyboard interface controlled by members of the audience, the space can be played like an instrument as the audience walks in and around it. The colors and character of the spaces transform in respnse to the sound, position, and proximity of its occupants; different sections of the environment are lit up while a corresponding note chimes, echoing a piano.
Pictured is a demo performance which took place at the IDEAS campus with a setup of three ‘strand component trees’, though the dispersed stage of suspended strands can be configured to occupy a variety of public spaces.
The system itself makes use of Isadora as a link between the keyboard interface (here, an iPad) and the patch which controls which sounds are played and their corresponding projected colors. The interface, linked via Touch OSC, can be downloaded onto virtually any device, and once accepted, can be used to ‘play’ the area.
‘Ayn: ع’ is a two-wall open walkway lined with serial planes that act as a barrier between opposing sides of the structure. The installation was a part of Sikka Art Fair 2015, which took place in the Fahidi Heritage district of Dubai.
The concept is derived from 'Ayn Al Hasud' (The Evil Eye), which refers to the gaze of one person to another in a negative manner. It is both a physical experience as well as a psychological phenomenon, revolving around the idea that we are susceptible to causing affliction through jealousy, admiration or envy. The form is designed as an experience to reveal and conceal members as they move through it. This controlled condition allows the duality of being protected and exposed to the Evil Eye.
The form of this walkway stems from both the Arabic letter ‘ayn’ and an eye (the Arabic word for eye is also ’ayn’). In Arabic calligraphy, the letter form changes depending on its position in a word; when is at the beginning or end of a word, its shape is open and receptive. When it is in the middle of a word, it closes its open counter in order to protect itself from other letter forms, mimicking the behavior of an eye.
The structure was designed and manipulated three dimensionally using Maya and Rhino. The walkway itself was laser cut in plywood, and assembled on-site by my partner and myself over the span of three days.
This project was designed in collaboration with graphic designer Sarah Alagroobi.
The reading table, which was independently designed and built, uses text to create a contrast, both physically and semantically, between the written word when the concept of an alphabet was first invented and the modern day Latin script much of the world has come to use today.
This table was exhibited at the Salone Satellite at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan in April 2012.
It also placed second in the 2011-2012 cycle of the Sharjah Islamic Bank Student Research Awards.
The table began conceptually as a tablet with the Phoenician alphabet engraved in it, drawing from the way the Phoenicians wrote. The form of the tablet the folded out in the middle to support a new ‘modern’ tablet with Latin script protruding from it. This juxtaposition showcases the transition in knowledge from the primitive era to modern day in the context of writing.
Student work done with Bill Sarnecky and Amir Berbic.
Set up as an entry for the LA2050 Activation Challenge, this trailer promotes Nomadic Notes as a part of the vision for the future of Los Angeles. The project creates the flexible and nomadic infrastructure that gives non profit music-teaching organizations the tools and environments to bring high caliber musical education to low-income neighborhoods.
Tasked with designing an urban intervention in the form of a ‘game’ to implement in low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the idea of facilitating the teaching of music to children in schools blossomed into a mobile teaching space that could be classrooms, house instruments, and become the stage for concerts and ensembles. Although quite a few non-profit music teaching exist and operate in the LA area, they all either do not have spaces suited to teaching music or require that students travel to their facilities - which is not an option for many children in these neighborhoods.
Nomadic Notes fills this gap; by providing quality teaching spaces in trucks that have been retrofitted to suit teaching needs, they can now roam around different neighborhoods and dock in different marked locations approved by the LADOT. Since learning to play instruments has been positively correlated to grades in schools, these teaching facilities (lined with insulative materials on the interior, flexible storage spaces, and stages and LED screens for performances) would be run by the aforementioned organizations, but dock near schools, providing easy access for children after school.
Student work done at the IDEAS SUPRASTUDIO under Mark Mack and Gabby Shawcross.
Up is prototype for a water tower with an observation deck, to be replicated in different deserts in the UAE.
The form was the result of a modeling exercise in Maya, combining the fluidity of water and movement. It grows from and with its surroundings; here, a desert.
A scale model was 3D printed in powder to showcase the form in its entirety as well as the role of structure and balance.
Student work done with Faysal Tabbarah.
Exhibited at the Bombay Beach Biennale which took place at the Salton Sea in March 2018, SpinCycle takes cues from the environment it exists in; an abandoned beach vacation promise land. Composed of three separate units hanging on a ball bearings on a vertical rod, each component spins independently of the other two. Each element is composed of wire hangers that have been attached to each other in such a way that it is self-supported, and forms a pentagonal form on its own.
Designed as a light post as a part of UCLA’s ‘Miracle Lights’ at this festival of art, music, and philosophy, SpinCycle takes advantage of the heavy wind conditions there to work with it instead of against it, and acts as a wind measuring device. Bikinis, reminiscent of the Salton Sea’s glory days, are threaded through and around the separate structures, and catch the heavy wind, causing them to spin.
SPIN CYCLE was a dynamic installation done for the Bombay Beach Biennale 2018, as a part of the UCLA MACK SUPRASTUDIO.
Designed as a portable and easily erectable desert dwelling, [hang]out uses every part of its components to provide shelter and a resting/storage space to make camping in the desert while working on artwork for the Bombay Beach Biennale a more comfortable experience. The canopy, which is anchored into the ground, is self-structural in its pre-made assembly pattern. The entire dwelling is constructed using commonly available objects, addressing affordability as well as ease of construction.
The entire setup is contained in a single vessel, which, at the end of the process, is used for storage and as a sleeping surface. For this particular pattern, the container includes 444 wire clothes hangers (stored on a single rod in the middle of the box), 444 zip ties to attach them to each other, and 148 pre-sown pieces of fabric equipped with zippers for ease and speed of assembly. Tension rods are threaded through the clothes hangers hooks in order to strengthen the entire structure, just before being anchored into the ground, allowing it to work on uneven surfaces.
By taking advantage of the structural integrity provided by the triangular form of clothes hangers, each unit can be coupled with others in a variety of ways to produce an unlimited number of forms.
An everyday sidewalk is transformed into a dynamic interactive musical and visual spectacle. An orchestral performance of light and sound invites social interaction among pedestrians. Large-scale light box piano keys detect the motion and presence of passers-by. Notes and colors come together to revitalize an otherwise mundane sidewalk experience.
Done in a short film making technology seminar exploring story boarding, editing and special effects in architectural design. Focusing on aspects of story telling, cinematography, editing and port production gave rise to the creation of a speculative film of a physical intervention in a public space, which was composited onto real-world footage of a space in Los Angeles.
Screened at IDEAS as a mini film festival SUPRASHORTS.
A short exercise in modeling in Maya to create a fluid headpiece that challenges the traditional form of glasses. The process involved using the hair physics engine to generate the initial linear elements, then translating them into geometry using polygonal modeling. The final product was refined in both Magics and GeoMagic, with the intention of being 3d printed in a flexible material.
Student work done with Faysal Tabbarah.
Heya is a stool that integrates typography and semantic meaning in its form. It uses the form of the The Feminine Taa’ from the Arabic language, which is added to the end of virtually any masculine word to make it feminine.
Heya even changes the way the normative stool functions, in that the way the user engages with it is not by sitting on it but by leaning up against it.
Heya was created for a competition to design a stool that was both regionally relevant and functional. It was exhibited at Dubai Design Days 2014, and sold at Bloomingdales Home in Dubai.
She was created in collaboration with graphic designers Sarah Alagroobi and Rasha Dakkak.
This third-year project was the main culmination of a semester-long exploration and subsequently, the application of, the intricacies of 3d modeling in Maya. The overall focus was to create the structure for a warehouse that would be located in the middle of the Maliha Desert in Sharjah, UAE. An additional component of the program was a learning center, that would serve to educate visitors about various methods of planting in barren environments, the seeds and equipment of which would be stored in the warehouse.
The main structure of the warehouse was designed using polygonal modeling in Maya. The general basis was to use columns that were bifurcated and branched over to those on the opposite side to create an open and flexible space. In addition to this, the structure itself worked to support itself and the other columns it connected with.
The secondary structure of the roof was rationalized using the Maya dynamics hair engine, with curves obtained using a diagrid that was placed in the intermediate spaces between the diverged columns. The diagrid was then subjected to gravity to create catanary curves, and then flipped to create a self-supporting structure.
Student work done with Faysal Tabbarah.
A line of 3d printed jewelry produced and showcased at local fashion shows in Dubai.
With pieces that are dynamic as a nighttime city, uncut brings a line of jewelry that flows around the body in rivers of gold and silver, crossing and overlapping to create forms that carry the grace of Art Nouveau and the progressivity of our time.
The dense urban culture in the very traditional neighborhood of Bastikiya, Dubai, is one that revolves around art and exhibiting it. The direction of this second year project was to design a house for an artist located in the heart of that area that included a gallery component.
The custom staircase here act as both a functional part of the house as well as the main sculptural constituent in a district that celebrates art. Its final form is the result of many different iterations of, and explorations into, a different take on the traditional brick wall. Countless forms were derived from this wall solely by rotating specific bricks by different degrees. The culmination of this exercise was manipulating the rotations in such a way that it was possible to create a functional staircase that seemed to grow organically from the wall it is a part of.
A comprehensive housing project, completed in my fourth year of professional schooling, covering all stages of design - including firm identity, predesign, schematic design, design development and construction documents.
The contraints of five row houses - one of which must be ADA compliant, gave rise to a set of houses with custom-built folding shutters that work to take advantage of sunlight while still protecting against the environment’s harsh heat. Part of the design process involved detailing these components, as well as producing drawings and diagrams of basic MEP and HVAC infrastructure needed for a development like this.
Student work done with Christiano Luchetti.
Done while studying abroad in Milan, Italy, this two-week project that entailed documenting floral rituals in Como Cemetery, Italy and designing a flower shop in front of it. The final product is a wall of flowers that can actually be entered, inspired by the tradition of placing graves within walls in cemeteries in Italy. The wall, which extends underground, hides the view of the expansive mountains and landscape until the user proceeds through it.
The wall also acts as a big cistern that collects rainwater in its roof and stores it underground, where the lower part of the wall becomes an inhabitable grotto. Throughout the entire experience, the view, smell and feeling of fresh flowers reminds the user of life as they prepare to visit the dead.
Luster is an interactive outdoor light installation that is activated by users walking through, resting on, and playing in it. It becomes a twinkling beacon that invites the public - regardless of age or size - to take part in bringing it to life. The installation, which sits on a raised platform, is composed of columns of different heights arranged in a modified grid. With columns low enough to sit on and ones high enough to provide shelter, it becomes both a journey and a destination.
Being in a city that is overwrought with cold, concrete environments, Luster gives users the opportunity to pause and let go in a setting that brings them back to nature. The columns, thick and packed tightly together, are reminiscent of tree trunks and the experience one would have walking through a forest. The glow of light with every movement mimics the rippling of light through leaves and tree branches, which heightens the
Luster is essentially a forest of wooden columns arranged in an adjusted grid that emit light once an infrared sensor is tripped. The square-based columns, made of plywood, are CNC routed with a pattern that inherently diffuses light emitting from the within it in increments. The sensors concealed within the structures immediately switch the lights on or off based on the users’ motions, making the entire installation twinkle with each gesture.
From a distance, the installation seems to glimmer with every passerby and occupant, which draws people toward it. Once close enough, the feeling of wonderment one would recall experiencing as a child in a forest overcomes the user, and this exhilaration is amplified given its polar opposite context.
Luster recently appeared in the Imagine Dragons music video for Thunder . [click for link]