THE AA IN JORDAN: NATURAL EXTREMITIESProfile

by Kais Al-Rawi, AA Visiting School Jordan Director

02 June 2015
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan

 

It is imperative that the greatest, most intelligent and fascinating forms exist around us in nature, through various topologies and morphologies. Often, we overlook the potential they can hold in shaping our built environment.

 

This raises the question “What if our built environment becomes an emergent phenomenon of our natural environment, and is shaped by similar processes to those that generate the natural environment?” This question specifically informed what our programme agenda for the AA Visiting School in Jordan is all about.

 

The transfiguration from natural to built environment that we are interested in is not purely morphological. It is rather an investigation into the intrinsic topology of nature, and its underlying processes. The interest lies in where we find the potential for inherent properties to become relevant towards architectural, spatial, material, tectonic, functional and programmatic characteristics.

 

Left Image: Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan - Right Image: Dead Sea, Jordan

Left Image: Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Right Image: Dead Sea, Jordan

Jordan has a unique diversity of ecologies of which several are considered extremes of natural and organic phenomena. These include the Wadi Rum desert, and Rose-Red city of Petra; both of which are UNESCO world-heritage sites; which we investigated in our 2014 programme. Additionally, the hyper saline Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth, is a site which we intend to investigate this coming July/August 2015.

Through our investigations of the Wadi Rum desert, we studied, inhabited, documented, simulated and recreated its sand dunes, mountains, and rock formations – in forms and organisations that relate to architecture and space.

 

Our participants produced a vast array of projects within three units. Each of the projects focused on a unique phenomenon. Participants utilised computational tools and methodologies which we introduced in our specialist seminars, to analyse, simulate and reproduce such phenomena digitally.

 

Our methods included digital sculpting, associative modeling, scripting and coding. The resultant projects varied in scale, function and design methodology based on the offered units. It was evident that scale becomes an inter-changeable driver; on one hand the phenomena appeared at different scales, while on another, it could be regenerated at another multitude of scales.

 

Top Left: ‘Between The Lines’ by Laith Attar (Iraq); Parastoo Mozaffary (Canada) and Sibylle George (Lebanon).  Top Right: ‘Eroded Arteries’ by Ti Fu (Canada); Haya AlNibari (Kuwait); Addy Yousef (Jordan) and Luai Farah (Jordan) Bottom Left: ‘Mirage’ by Angel Firmalino (USA); Mazen AlAli (Jordan) and Dana Taher (Jordan) Bottom Right: ‘Ripple Morphologies’ by Hala AlHaddid (Jordan); Leyla El Sayed Hussein (Lebanon); Zahraa Makki (Lebanon) and Farah Zarzour (Lebanon)

Top Left: ‘Between The Lines’ by Laith Attar (Iraq); Parastoo Mozaffary (Canada) and Sibylle George (Lebanon).
Top Right: ‘Eroded Arteries’ by Ti Fu (Canada); Haya AlNibari (Kuwait); Addy Yousef (Jordan) and Luai Farah (Jordan)
Bottom Left: ‘Mirage’ by Angel Firmalino (USA); Mazen AlAli (Jordan) and Dana Taher (Jordan)
Bottom Right: ‘Ripple Morphologies’ by Hala AlHaddid (Jordan); Leyla El Sayed Hussein (Lebanon); Zahraa Makki (Lebanon) and Farah Zarzour (Lebanon)

This year in July/August, we plan to investigate the ecology of the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on earth. The Jordan Valley region features a diversity of organic morphologies in natural formations. Of particular interest are salt growth patterns and the erosion occurring over a multitude of timescales, from short to long-term. This adds an intriguing facet of to our research, beyond scale – temporality.

 

Left Image: Crystalline Formations, Dead Sea - Right Image: Aerial View of Shoreline of the Dead Sea

Left Image: Crystalline Formations, Dead Sea – Right Image: Aerial View of Shoreline of the Dead Sea

Our programme is setup to include design units, specialist seminars, a travel component, in addition to a series of events including guests. Our faculty operate in diverse backgrounds, disciplines and cities around the world. The disciplines they work within include, but not limited to: Architecture, Structural Engineering, Façade Engineering, Industrial Design, Urban Design and Fashion Design within practice and academia. They operate in cities including Vienna, Los Angeles, Amman, Beirut, London, Salzburg and Berlin. We also include local and international guests to inspire us and think beyond our traditional boundaries.

 

Left Image: 2014 Participants and Faculty in Wadi Rum  Right Image: Ross Lovegrove delivering a keynote lecture ‘Out of this World’ from the middle of the Wadi Rum Desert.

Left Image: 2014 Participants and Faculty in Wadi Rum
Right Image: Ross Lovegrove delivering a keynote lecture ‘Out of this World’ from the middle of the Wadi Rum Desert.

Similarly our participants join us from all around the world; this included 14 different countries for our 2014 programme. Join us this 2015 summer for a unique experience in Jordan; we are accepting applications from young professionals, and students from different levels. Feel free to get in touch with us and share your thoughts and ideas.

 

For more information:

AA Visiting School Jordan Programme Brief

AA Visiting School Jordan microsite

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Apply to AA Visiting School Jordan