AA ViSiting school Jordan - Desert Morphologies

Set within the dynamic city of Amman, the rose-rock carved city of Petra and the echoing desert of Wadi Rum, the 10 day program proposed  rethinking  the process of developing architectural interventions within the Jordanian desert. Participants were familiarized with generative modeling techniques and computational analysis softwares through seminars and were encouraged to observe natural formation as a precedent for the production of macro and micro architectural interventions within the desert ecology.

Unit 1 - Group1

“Our modern times are unimaginable without planning. The growth of settlements and cities is so tempestuous that a slow process of adaptation is no longer possible. This, therefore, poses the question whether by means of more adaptable planning theories, processes can be promoted or simulated which, seen as a whole, are ‘more natural’…”1In light of Frei Otto’s saying, our design process has been developed reiteratively in a form of focusing on interrelationship sof ecological aspects based on weather conditions and topographical settings.Hence, outputs based on the Petra desert terrain have relatedly evoked generated digital system outputs which have influenced us to come up with clustered design formations.

The process started off with desert topology observations, after which digital tools were used to analyze the site. We then generated a responsive urban pattern that behaves to self regulate the microclimate within the Petra region. Our methodology follows: generating geographic data specific to the Petra location, identifying the site based on chosen parameters, researching precedents and implementing principles in order to create responsive urban pattern. Within this course, the challenge of coming up with a non-planned settlement has evoked us to rely on digital data outputs by setting a number of parameters including topography, slopes, solar system, and wind.

However, we have based our focus on solar system sand how solar radiation could affect our design outputs. On one hand, there have been a lot of speculations regarding certain aspects of the solar map, like consistency between macro and micro urban fabric as well as defining clusters upon the similarity of On the other hand, research about settlement technologies took place to enhance ventilation and utilize solar radiation systems on a micro level. For example, wind-catchers and solar chimneys have been pragmatically thought of by considering their location based on solar radiation map and prevailing wind direction.

A viable space was created through a hybrid between technology and nature. Patterns generated by parametric digital modeling tools resulted in clusters, hence, public and private settlements are based on how big of an area is needed for their function and thermal fingerprint. Furthermore, smaller area clusters are dedicated for private sectors where heat and direct sun are minimum.While structures are settled to suit solar radiation, they are also directed to suit wind currents in order to ventilate properly. For example, wind-catcher openings are facing the prevailing wind direction in order to take in hot air, cool it down, and then redirect it to the open spaces.

Geothermal based solar chimneys are leaning towards the South East direction in order to gain the maximum sun exposure. Consequently, the temperature of the surface is raised, heating up the air in-between the stack. Following this process, the hot stale air from the indoor space is taken by the prevailing wind direction and replaced by cool air instead.

Finally, the geothermal system sucks the stagnant hot air from open spaces in order to feed the solar chimney. In conclusion, collecting environmental data and simulating them through technology, research and the use of traditional principles such as solar chimneys and wind-catchers made it possible to generate a conceptual framework of an efficient design aimed at naturally ventilating urban spaces.

  1. Location
    Amman, Jordan
  2. Program Head
    Riyad Joucka
  3. Tutor
    Ursula Frick, Thomas Grabner, Tommaso Casucci, Alessandro Zomparelli
  4. Team
    Zeid Al Madi, Luma Ifram, Sima Oklah, Omar Qubain, Abeer Seikaly, Nizar Taha, Stephanie Yaacoubian, Adeen Gaith, Hashem Joucka, Mohammad Al Majed, Murad El Zagal, Sonia Nimri, Suha Hasan, Tala Fasheh, Sarah Hussein, Farah Mudhefer, Mahmoud Aref, Shahad Ghafoory, Ban Edilbi, Agata Kurzela, Hammed Al Mutawa, Muhammad Abboudeh, Rida Qurashi, Ammar Ghazal, Nick Tyrer, Diyaa Abu-Eisheh
  5. Date
  6. Website

Unit 1 - Group 2

Cities can be regarded as a singular organism, growing and evolving in the same ways in every part of the world despite the seemingly differing contexts they are set. With ‘naturally’ formed unplanned cities that appear chaotic, will often actually outperform formally planned cities in terms of effectiveness and flexibility.

In this research project we have explored the growth of unplanned settlements through the lens of environmental analysis to derive land value based on the principles of Hedonic value.  The aim, to implement an emergent urbanism of self-organized logic, replacing the determinism of a city-planner.

We choose our site in the Wadi Rum, for its challenging climate and complexity of terrain, believing its character would enhance our design. We collected and mapped a wide range of weather and topological data of the site; Terrain, gradient, solar radiation, wind direction/velocity, water flow.When creating the genotype typology for our settlement, we first decided that the most important influence to a desert settlement was solar radiation and water collection; we quickly dismissed the concept of water collection from ground flow because of the nature of sand and lack of rain. Research into biomimetic precedents led us to the Namib Desert Beetle.

The Namib positions itself on the top of dunes facing into humid air to collect condensation on its back. Our analysis showed the site received a strong humid air from the north; the humid North wind became our second defining parameter.

We imagined the settlements clad in a façade designed for collecting condensation. The façade was developed to maximize the surface area, for maximum condensation capture. Flutes flow across the surface for funneling and water retention. This façade element was chosen to be milled in stone for its unique texture and qualities.

Using the principles of Hedonic pricing, where property prices are estimated by ecosystem or environmental services. We weighted each of the data maps we had created by how important they were to our settlement. The weighted environmental data was then aggregated to create a ‘Land Value Map’, illustrating the worth of the land by our specific criteria. This data was used as a base for the growth of our genome building typology across the Wadi Rum. The genomes effectively grew like seeds landing on fertile land, while others failed to meet the minimum criteria. The genomes that met the requirements displayed a rich complexity and adaptability to its individual ecology.

Unit 2 - Group 1

This group chose to work with the context of Wadi Rum, to envision a platform for capturing the views of the Jordanian dessert. The project works with the context, adapting certain geomorphologic features of the site into a digitized design simulation. The group used a topology optimization tool scripted used processing, to generate a structurally optimized platform, that uses 3D printed sand from the neighboring context to materialize its formation. A bespoke strategy for 3D printing with sand was developed, by depositing sand and D Shape material into laser cut stencil sections of the digital models. The laser-cut stencils were then removed to reveal the structures generated through this process.

Unit 2 - Group 2

Co.Evo is a project that explores the possibility of building sustainable markets into the ecology of the desert in southern Jordan. Petra, the Nabatean city is inhabited by Bedouin tribes that make a living by selling tourists gifts and refreshments. However, the development of settlements in that environmentally sensitive site had not been studied carefully. This project proposes the use of 3D printed sand, to build cave-like structures that adhere onto the mountainous geology seamlessly. The group investigated the use of sand with D Shape to build prototypes of their digitally generated intervention.


Unit 1 - Group 1 - URBAN COALESCENCE

Unit 2 - Group 1 - XROSION


Unit 2 - Group 2 - CO.EVO

Locating platform through path finding simulation.

Form finding simulation.

Video Showing 'Unit 2 - Group 1 - XROSION' Model Making

GIF Showing 'Unit 2 - Group 1 - XROSION' Model Outcome