By Kais Al-Rawi, architect, and programme director of the AA Visiting School in Jordan
20 June 2016 Aqaba and The Red Sea, Jordan   Kais Al-Rawi, architect, and programme director of the AA Visiting School in Jordan, reveals the approaches this year's workshop will take as they research the depths of marine ecologies in the Red Sea.   [caption id="attachment_5998" align="alignnone" width="360"]001 The reef below the Red Sea, Jordan[/caption] This summer the AA Visiting School in Jordan will investigate marine ecologies and coral reef formations in the Red Sea, and the potential of design that stems from such phenomena, through the use of cutting-edge computational design methodologies. [caption id="attachment_6000" align="alignnone" width="360"]002 Scripted Branching Structures, by AA Visiting School Jordan Programme Director Kais Al-Rawi[/caption] Over the past two years, I initiated an investigation into 'Natural Extremities' in Jordan. What I refer to as 'Natural Extremities' are an array of natural phenomena that exist in a series of ecological sites across Jordan, each of which embodies unique and intelligent morphologies and processes behind them- several of these phenomena only exist in these areas.   The agenda at its very core is about design intelligence from nature.
We continuously aim towards processes and workflows capturing the synthesis of cutting-edge design tools with design research of such phenomena on one level, while on another it has involved the spatial and architectural outcomes emergent of such. We deliberately delimit ourselves from one method, tool, or scale of intervention. Rather, we operate in a unit system where three overarching units investigate different software platforms and tools, and different scales and types of interventions, leading toward an array of outcomes.   We have been fortunate to have an exemplary team building up this research together, joined by over seventy-five enthusiastic individuals from eighteen-plus countries from all around the world; in addition to several notable guests joining us from London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vienna, and Stuttgart. [caption id="attachment_6001" align="alignnone" width="360"]003 Scripted Branching Structures, by AA Visiting School Jordan Programme Director Kais Al-Rawi[/caption] Our previous explorations included the Wadi Rum desert, the lost city of Petra, and the hyper saline Dead Sea basin- all of which have been truly phenomenal not only in what we witnessed and researched, but also the emergent design outcomes we have had. [caption id="attachment_6002" align="alignnone" width="360"]004 Mark Foster Gage, Principal and founder of Mark Foster Gage Architects, New York, and Assistant Dean at Yale University School of Architecture[/caption]
Now, this year I expect some exceptions at the Red Sea/Gulf of Aqaba in terms of the astounding phenomena we will investigate, primarily due to the fact that our investigations will occur below water, on aquatic structures, leading towards architectural interventions above, below, or in between. We plan to photograph, document, and 3D-scan coral reef structures across the Red Sea. [caption id="attachment_6003" align="alignnone" width="360"]005 Selected Works from Mark Foster Gage Architects[/caption] Prior to the Visiting School, we start to pose several questions and thoughts toward our upcoming investigations. Within coral reefs, these questions include matters of: growth and dispersion, spatial and topological strategies, diversity and typology of reefs, symmetry and order, and many others which we look forward to investigating with the many enthusiastic and talented individuals joining us this summer.   We are also excited to announce that Mark Foster Gage will be our keynote speaker for this year, delivering a keynote lecture in Aqaba, Jordan as part of the Visiting School Programme. Mark Foster Gage is Principal and founder of Mark Foster Gage Architects, New York, and Assistant Dean at Yale University School of Architecture.   There are a few limited spaces remaining to join the 'Hyperbolic Reefs' Visiting School in Jordan. More information can be found on our microsite, and please feel free to contact us with any thoughts, questions, and ideas through our direct email (both listed below).   For more information: Jordan Visiting School Microsite Jordan Visiting School Email AAVS Jordan Mark Foster Gage Architects AAVS Programme Apply to AAVS Jordan