Neri Oxman’s Wearable Structures

Neri Oxman’s Wearable Structures for Interplanetary Voyages

Neri Oxman‘s team at MIT Media Lab Creates Wearable 3D-printed Skins for Interplanetary Voyages.

Wanderers, An Astrobiological Exploration

Traveling to destinations beyond planet Earth involves voyages to hostile landscapes and deadly environments. Crushing gravity, amonious air, prolonged darkness, and temperatures that would boil glass or freeze carbon dioxide, all but eliminate the likelihood of human visitation.

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Wanderers explores the possibility of voyaging to the worlds beyond by visiting the worlds within. 3D printed wearable capillaries designed for interplanetary pilgrims are infused with synthetically engineered microorganisms to make the hostile habitable and the deadly alive.

Each design is a codex of the animate and inanimate with an origin and a destination: the origin being engineered organisms, which multiply to create the wearable within a 3D printed skins; and the destination being a unique planet in the solar system.




The setting for this exploration is the solar system where, with the exception of planet Earth, no life can exist. The series represents the classical elements understood by the ancients to sustain life (earth, water, air and fire), and offers their biological counterpart in the form of microorganisms engineered to produce life-sustaining elements.

The wearables are designed to interact with a specific environment characteristic of their destination and generate sufficient quantities of biomass, water, air and light necessary for sustaining life: some photosynthesize converting daylight into energy, others bio-mineralize to strengthen and augment human bone, and some fluoresce to light the way in pitch darkness.



Each wearable is designed for a specific extreme environment where it transforms elements that are found in the atmosphere to one of the classical elements supporting life: oxygen for breathing, photons for seeing, biomass for eating, biofuels for moving, and calcium for building. Design research at the core of this collection lies at the intersection of multi-material 3D printing and Synthetic Biology.

The medieval Arabs are known for their fascination with astronomy. They took a keen interest in the study of celestial bodies; motivated to better comprehend the divine creation, they also appreciated the knowledge of the constellations as guidance in their journeys.

In honor of these early contributions to the science of astronomy the Wonderers in this collection are named in Arabic after their respective destination planets: Mushtari (a wearable for Jupiter), Zuhal (a wearable for Saturn), Otaared (a wearable for Mercury); and Qumar (a wearable for the Moon). The word “planet” comes from the Greek term planets meaning “wanderer”.


Mushtari; Jupiter’s Wanderer



Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System with a mass two and a half times greater than the mass of all other planets in the Solar System combined. Named after the king of the gods, its Arabic name reflects is vastness (Mushtari مشتري means huge, giant).

Designed as a single strand filled with living matter inspired by the form and function of the human gastrointestinal tract, this wearable is designed as a an organ system for consuming and digesting biomass, absorbing nutrients and expelling waste.

The peristaltic movement of matter within 3D printed translucent tracts is designed to support the flow of cyanobacteria engineered to convert daylight into consumable sucrose.


Qamar; Luna’s Wanderer 



Named after the the goddess Luna (Arabic: Qamar القمر), the divine embodiment of the moon often charachterized by a two-yoke chariot, Luna is the most luminous object in the sky after the sun.

Inspire’d by the Moon’s surface texture this design functions as a wearable pneumatic surface for generating and storing oxygen. Unlike a wearable biodome, this texture contains spatial spherical pockets for algae-based air-purification and biofuel collection.

3D Printed Dress, LOOM – Parametric Architecture

Loom by Maria Alejandra Mora-Sanchez is An Expandable, Adaptable, Wearable and Flexible 3D Printed Dress That Adapts to All Body Types and Body Changes Houston-based designer Maria Alejandra Mora-Sanchez is paving the way for 3D printed textiles with the launch of a new fashion garment in partnership with Cosine Additive.

Zuhal; Saturn’s Wanderer



Saturn is known for its vortex storms forming where there is a steep latitudinal gradient in the speed of winds blowing across the planet’s atmosphere. Named after the Roman god of agriculture, its Arabic name – Zuhal (زحل) – reflects the planet and the mythology, representing fertility and growth.

The wearable is covered with a dense hairy texture responding to Saturn’s vortex winds with intricate structures characterised by high surface area to volume ratio. It is designed as a wearable vortex field, varying in size, density and organization to accommodate for local wind variation. Saturn’s moon Titan has been known to include hydrocarbons in its upper atmosphere as a possible precursor for life.

Its other moon Enceladus with is ocean like composition has been often regarded as a potential base for microbial life. The hairy fiberous surface is designed to contain bacteria that can convert hydrocarbons to edible matter that can be safely consumed by humans.


Otaared; Mercury’s Wanderer



Named after the Roman deity Mercury (Arabic: Otaared عطارد), the messenger to the gods, the planet Mercury lacks any atmosphere, making it susceptible to impacts over its entire surface.

The expression mercurial is typically used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury’s swift flights from place to place.

Otaared is designed as antler-like extensions of the scapulae to protect the head. The 3D printed structure is computationally grown from the scapulae and the sternum outward generating a branched winged exoskeleton.

The printed shell is designed to contain calcifying bacteria grown within a wearable Caduceus. The ultimate goal is to grow true bone structures acting as protective exoskeleton.

Production : Stratasys

Production : 3D printed with Stratasys multi-material 3D printing technology

Collaboration With : Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb

Photos: Yoram Reshef

Year : 2014

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Via : Neri Oxman

Dragonfly 3D Printed Dress – Parametric Architecture

Dragonfly, is a 3D printed dress designed and fabricated by two Russian artists Oleg Soroko of After Form and Mintsev Kirill . The collaboration between two artists combined two major topics of fashion and parametric design . Designed and 3d printed in Moscow , Russia , Dragonfly consists from two main parts.

Amphibio by Jun Kamei – Parametric Architecture

Amphibio, a 3D Printed Amphibious Garment by Jun Kamei Which Function as a Gill Amphibio is a 3D printed amphibious garment by Jun Kamei which function as a gill to save human after the year2100. By 2100, a temperature rise of 3.2℃ is predicted to happen, causing a sea level rise affecting more that 30% …

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Pavilion Number 2 – MSA Team

Pavilion Number 2 designed by MSA team at the University of Mazandaran in December 2017 which is now hosted in Kermanshah Iran .
The Pavilion was designed for presenting the research achievements of the universities participated in 10th HAREKAT festival was made during the computational design and digital fabrication workshop.
The fabrication with recyclable materials and the low budget considerations were the Effective items on the design concept. The pavilion was designed in a way that of being capable to assemble and disassemble for several times. At the beginning the pavilion was fabricated in MAZANDARAN University, then it was installed in KERMANSHAH for the second time. Also, the participated pavilions were judged at the festival by jury, and the aforementioned pavilion was selected as the best participated project.

The materials which are used for the project contains 1260 cardboard pipes and 810 meters string which have connected with eye bolts to one another. This structure is stabilized with the wooden beams and a metal frame.
Design & Fabrication team:
Mehrdad Azizkhani, Ali Nakhaei, Neda Yousefi, Elham Shahabi

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Confluence Park by Lake|Flato Architects + Matsys Design

Confluence Park by Lake|Flato Architects + Matsys Design in San Antonio, United States

Located along the Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River, Confluence Park is an educational park focusing on the critical role of water in the regional ecosystems. Designed by Matsys in collaboration with Lake|Flato Architects, Rialto Studio, and Architectural Engineering Collaborative, the park consists of 3.5 acres of native planting, a 2000 square foot multi-purpose building, a 6000 square foot central pavilion, and 3 smaller “satellite” pavilions dispersed throughout the park.

The central pavilion is composed of 22 concrete “petals” that form a network of vaults that provide shade and direct the flow of rainwater into an underground cistern used for the park’s irrigation. The design of the pavilion was inspired by the way many plants in the region direct rainwater to their root system through harnessing the structural efficiency of curved surfaces.

Each petal was cast on site using a modified tilt-up construction technique and digitally fabricated fiberglass composite molds and then lifted into place in pairs to form structural arches. The pavilion embodies our deep interest in the integration of form, fabrication, and performance.

The development of the central pavilion focused on creating an inspirational and aspirational space that helped communicate the client’s mission in providing environmental education on the topic of water conservation. Using the biomimetic principle of looking towards nature for inspiration, the pavilion geometry is inspired by some plants’ use of doubly curved fronds to cantilever out and collect rainwater and dew and redirect the water towards its root stem. A modular system of concrete “petals” was developed that collected rainwater and funneled it to the petals’ columnar bases and then on to a central underground cistern.

In developing these petals, one of the central concerns was to make sure that they were modular yet seemingly non-repetitive. The design uses the Cairo tile, an irregular pentagon, as the underlying base grid in order to resolve this tension between cost-effective modularity and the desire for spatial richness. The pentagon is subdivided into 5 triangles in a way that results in only three unique modules: two asymmetrical triangles that are mirrors of each other and one equilateral triangle.

From this irregular triangular base grid, a parametric model was used to create the three-dimensional solids of each petal. Structurally, each petal is half of an arch which starts out as a 16” thick column and tapers to a 4” deep curved roof. The double-curvature of the surface geometry helps with the structural rigidity of the petal. Each petal is connected to its paired half-arch by two structural pin joints. The petals’ capacity to shed water in the proper direction was tested through water flow analysis using particle simulations.

The three petal’s formwork was fabricated off of 5-axis CNC milled forms. After milling the foam forms, a 2” thick composite structure composed of inner and outer layers of fiberglass composite with a central core of balsa wood was applied. The formwork was then shipped to the site and positioned in a way that it could be cast as a modified tilt-up wall construction. This avoided the need for a fully enclosed form which decreased the cost and allowed the top and bottom surfaces to have radically different finishes: the bottom is cast against the smooth fiberglass while the top is broom-finished with the broom strokes aligning with the direction of the water flow.

The Cairo tile geometry was reused at a much smaller scale for the thousands of concrete pavers used throughout the park. Four different inlay patterns were developed for the pavers such that a larger network of branching curves is created. This network is aperiodic and references the bifurcations and deltas of the local watershed.

Architects : Lake|Flato Architects, Matsys Design

Location : 310 W Mitchell St, San Antonio, TX 78204, United States

Design Team : Bob Harris, Tenna Florian, Sunnie Díaz, Jordan Tsai

Pavillion Design : Andrew Kudless (Matsys)

Landscape Architecture : Rialto Studio, Inc.

Area : 900.0 ft2

Project Year : 2018

Photographs : Casey Dunn

Manufacturers : Lumenpulse, Prosoco, Tremco, Mission Solar, Kreysler & Associates

Via > Matsys Design

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PA Quotes | January – February 2019

In 2019 one of our new strategies was to share architecture quotes from famous and pioneer architects on pur Instagram page as an inspiration source for designers. So we will share the quotes which we share on instagram on our website once in a two months.

“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it is very simple: if you are going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.” Rem Koolhaas

“In the big picture, architecture is the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings fit with the way we want to live our lives.” Bjarke Ingels

“It’s not new that architecture can profoundly affect a place, sometimes transform it. Architecture and any art can transform a person, even save someone.” Frank O. Gehry

“I describe the design process as like the tip of the iceberg. What you don’t see is the long haul: all the endless auditing and things like that.” Norman Foster

“Each new situation requires a new architecture.” Jean Nouvel

“Architecture is about experience: not only visual but also what you can touch, what you can feel.” Ma Yansong

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“Conifera” A 3D Printed Architectural Structure

Mamou-Mani’s Conifera in Milan Design Week 2019

French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani has designed Conifera, a 3d printed architectural structure in Milan Design Week 2019.

Digitally designed and fabricated, Conifera has been created from seven hundred interlocking modular bio-bricks, 3D printed in a mix of wood and bioplastic. Aiming to be one of the largest structures to date conceived and realised using this method, Conifera reflects a new generation of architecture, showcasing advances in material innovation, technology and creativity.

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The installation is formed in modules that shift from a wood and bioplastic composite in the courtyard through to translucent bioplastic in the palazzo’s garden. Each bio-brick is made from fully compostable resources printed in the form of interlocking structural lattices, optimising material use and allowing light to permeate the structure as visitors travel through the installation. The result is a journey from the manmade through to the natural world, and from the old to the new.

Conifera has been conceived in response to an open brief from COS, and through a parametric design process has evolved throughout its conception. The piece vertically integrates design and construction, forming a direct connection from design to build through a dialogue with robotics: the architect is at once designer and maker.

Inspired by patterns within the palazzo’s architecture Arthur Mamou-Mani explained, ‘the geometry of Conifera comes from the square motif which is very present at Palazzo Isimbardi, through the courtyard to the tiles. I wanted the piece to echo the circular nature of the compostable material and create a journey from architecture to nature in order to showcase how renewable materials, coupled with an algorithmic approach and distributed 3D printing, can create the building blocks of the future”.

“Conifera offers a glimpse of the future, the potential of design and the possibilities which open up through collaboration.” reflects Karin Gustafsson, Creative Director of COS.

“The installation has grown from the seed of an idea and has been shaped by Mamou-Mani’s creativity, the expanding horizons of technology and our shared focus on material innovation and craftsmanship. The final piece brings together so many influences reflective of our values and our focus on pushing the boundaries of design while maintaining a careful balance of the man-made and the natural. We can’t wait to share Conifera in Milan.”

Cheekwood Playhouse by Gould Turner Group – Parametric Architecture

3d Printed Installation, Cheekwood Playhouse by Gould Turner Group in Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville, Tennessee, USA in 2016 Gould Turner Group partnered with Branch Technology to create the first large-scale 3D printed open-cell structure in the country for the Cheekwood International Playhouse Design Competition in Nashville, Tennessee.

The installation marks COS’s eighth consecutive installation during Salone del Mobile and its first collaboration with Mamou-Mani.

Conifera will be open to the public from 9th – 14th April 2019 at Palazzo Isimbardi, Corso Monforte 35, 20122 Milan, a historic building dating from the 16th century.

Status : Milan Design Week, 9-14 APRIL 2019

Client : COS

Date : 2019

Location : Milan, Italy

Architect : Mamou-Mani (Arthur Mamou-Mani, Ayham Kabbani, Ping-Hsiang Chen, Nina Pestel, Frank Quek, Maialen Calleja)

Engineers : Format Engineers (James Solly, Stephen Melville)

Digital Fabrication : London, FabPub ltd (Aishe Kokoshi, Carmen Matiz, Youen Perhirin)
Milan, Superforma (Mattia Ciurnelli, PierLuigi de Palo)
Venice FabLab (Leonidas Paterakis)
Macerata, Design for Craft (Emilio Antinori, Vincenzo Franchino)

Material Partners : Plantura
(Vittorio Bortolon, Camila Bortolon)

Machine Partners : WASP (Massimo Moretti, Davide Neri, Lapo Naldo, Nicola Schiavarelli)

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Via > Arthur Mamou-Mani

MX3D 3d Printed Steel Bridge in Amsterdam – Parametric Architecture

World’s First 3D-Printed Steel Bridge Unveiled at Dutch Design Week Dutch robotics company MX3D has completed 3D Printing the worlds largest Steel Bridge designed by Joris Laarman over Amsterdam canal. The Bridge is being previewed at Dutch Design Week between 20 and 28 October. Amsterdam’s robot printed steel bridge, to be installed in the city’s …

Durotaxis, 3D Printed Chair by Synthesis Design + Architecture

The Durotaxis Chair is a fully 3D printed multi-material dual position rocking chair designed by Synthesis Design + Architecture and manufactured by Stratasys. The chair is inspired by the biological process of the same name, which refers to the migration of cells guided by gradients in substrate rigidity.

3D Print 3d printed 3d printing architect architecture Arthur Mamou-Mani bamboo Bjarke Ingels Group books CD NEXT china Computational Computational Design Computational Designer fashion fashion design GEN Grasshopper 3D Hamid Hassanzadeh House installation interview Iran iranian architect MAD Architects melike altinisik museum PAACADEMY parametric parametric architecture parametric design parametricism parametric modeling PA Sense Pa Talks pavilion Podcast Rhinoceros 3D Robotic Fabrication timber turkey Wood workshop Zaha Hadid Zaha Hadid Architects

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PA Talks 003 | Ferda Kolatan – Written Format

PA Talks 003 | Ferda Kolatan – Hybridity in Architecture | at GAD Foundation

This article is the written format of our interview with Ferda Kolatan as PA Talks 003 which has been released recently. This interview is sponsored by GAD Foundation.

Hamid Hassanzadeh: Dear Ferda, Thanks for being at the GAD Foundation for an interview. This interview is sponsored and organized by GAD Foundation and Parametric Architecture magazine. We invited you here to ask a couple of questions about your academic and work experience in architecture, you are an associate professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and you have lectured on many leading architecture schools around the world. Also, you have your own architecture practice which is called SU11.

So our first two questions are from Gokhan Avcioglu the founder of GAD Architecture and GAD Foundation. 

Gokhan Avcioglu: Last week you brought your students to Istanbul from your studio at PennDesign to work on a studio project. Would you please tell us what was the results of visiting Istanbul?

Ferda Kolatan: First of all thank you very much for the invitation. The studio we took from the University of Pennsylvania is the final year of the graduate program at the school of architecture. We took thirteen students to Istanbul just last week and they have already returned and the focus was the area which is called Tophane and it is adjacent to a large development that is ongoing as we speak which is the Galata Port. And the Galata Port has been a very important site politically as well as in terms of its history and its meaning to contemporary Istanbul. it used to be the terminal for large cruise liners. And it has been renovated as we speak. The Istanbul modern which is the modern museum of Istanbul used to be located on the site and it has been taken down and a new building will be built. They will move back. So it’s a very important site and that site is being developed as I said as we speak.

Photo by: Kolatan Studio – PennDesign

Our interest was not to look directly on that site but understand how that new site is going to be connecting back to the city. The Galata Port site is flanked by three different neighborhoods and we focused on particular two of those: Karakoy on the one side and then Cihangir behind going up the hills. And We realized that over the history of urban development the Galata Port area has been cut off by a road and also by this deep incline of the hill that is right behind that road. So our focus is to develop an architectural, cultural, and infrastructural solution that acts as some kind of in-between space, between the newly developed port as well as the existing neighborhoods. the neighborhoods are very diverse so there needs to be a diverse response to the way how we look at that site. So our goal is to make connections but also articulate separations as well. we are not interested only in making bridges, connections everywhere but, we want to understand at some point where hard breaks could also be useful for the city. So also it’s a supercharged and very interesting site,  historically in terms of infrastructure, but it will also become a very important contemporary beacon of modern-day turkey once it’s completed. So that’s why we choose that site.

Gokhan Avcioglu: You have recently started your Instagram account and you are uploading your students work on your feed. We are really wondering what would be the results of their works. How do you see the project will go?

Ferda Kolatan: There is a certain kind of methodology (or better not to call it methodology because it is not as clearly prescriptive) but there is a design approach that I have been developing over the last maybe three or four years. Projects that we did in Cairo have a similar signature. The idea is to think about contemporary design, not through means of abstraction which is a kind of common modernist topic that we abstract legibility to a degree that it becomes Universal and that has been, I would argue for the last hundred years a very strong impetus, how quote-unquote contemporary and modern design was thought about. I am really interested in avoiding abstraction and coming to a novel design expression a contemporary by actually being very literal with historical material, infrastructural material, geographical and organic material like park, trees and etc. and hybridized them in ways to generate these conditions, objects, and scenarios which we would call hybrid because they truly begin to form a relationship or respond to each other in unexpected ways.

Photo by: Kolatan Studio – PennDesign

This particular studio has another name even, it is called Oddkin which I borrowed that term and it is basically the idea that what we bring together doesn’t even have to be harmonious, but its relationship that is at odds with each other, but that tension is something where an opportunity for architecture arises.

My Instagram is basically the students studying found objects quote-unquote “architectural objects” as well as infrastructural objects on the site looking very carefully toward pattern, color, and texture and bringing them into contact with each other in new ways. This is our main approach and let’s see how we will be able to build it up to a larger urban scheme. So the challenge with this type of work is it is one thing to design a building or smaller object with this idea and it’s a whole other to bring it onto the scale of urban design. And that will be my challenge I am really excited about. By the way Donna Haraway is the philosopher that coined the term Oddkin and I borrowed that notion from her and I think it is a brilliant word to use operational term.

Photo by: Kolatan Studio – PennDesign

Hamid Hassanzadeh: How architecture education is organized in universities like UPENN to change and adapt with the upcoming design tools and technologies?

Ferda Kolatan: UPenn has for many many years been taken on a leadership role in a way how they deal with technology how we deal with technology. I would say the development of the use of technology at an institution like Penn’s architecture school has been echoing an overall trajectory of how the leading American schools have been dealing with technology. At least those schools that have a particular interest in design and what I mean but this is the type of design that is material, formal, structural, textural. The innovation comes through novelty in those material categories and how can the technology that we use help us to express new kind of material conditions. In the early days it was very strongly based on understanding what the technology can actually do because of the technology itself, the digital technology that we are talking about were new. They needed to be tested, they needed to be understood. And often projects looked like the results of playing around with technology to really understand what they would create.

Kolatan Studio – PennDesign

I myself taught digital fabrication courses since 2006 at UPenn and I know at the beginning just a production of a tool was interesting because we saw things that we had not seen before. The second phase then became about what can we now do with the things that we produce, and how we can channel them towards architectural questions and problems. And then I would say in the last few years including today, technology has matured to the level that it sinks back into the background. But it is no longer at least a way at UPenn overtly the aesthetic that the projects produce. It is more intricate other kinds of motivational design qualities feed into it and another type of hybridization is happening between technology and other tools of design as well as an understanding of history and side and place and that kind of conglomeration or melange is producing I would say a lot of the work that you see at UPenn. So there has been that sort of evolutionary trajectory of a kind of orthodoxy of the digital is being softened up and now generating more layered and varied results.

Hamid Hassanzadeh: There is always a gap between architecture programs in universities and the real practice which put students in very hard situations in the first years of their work experience. Regarding this issue what would be your strategies to train the students for easier adaptation?

Ferda Kolatan: That is an interesting question. It is actually one we discussed quite a bit in the United States as well. There are usually two different ways of looking at this. The way you posed the question it comes from one particular point of view which is to say that the university or education’s main purpose is to prepare the students to have an easy transition to the world of practice. There is a counter position to that which is to say that higher education in architecture in particular postgraduate and post-professional is supposed to do the opposite. It is actually supposed to alert the student to the challenges and the problems of the world which sometimes includes the practice of architecture. So I don’t want to make it sound too much like it is a confrontational balance between the academy and the practice world but I’m certaily more on the side of those who like to forge a criticality in the students so when they go out into the world, they are not too easily absorbed into the existing. But they bring with them an ability to be critical and therefore to engender change. So the agency of change that comes through the way we educate them on the highest level.

Now I have said that of course nobody is served by creating a divide like a wall between the academic world and practice world because then they would not cross over the practice world will do whatever they do. But I think it is a fine line and we should not just try to produce the perfect employee or ever the perfect architectural principal to operate in the practice world because a lot of the things that happen in the practice world which we all are very much aware of it they are far from idea and they need change. So for us to be able to engender that change we need to educate students in a way that they ask those kinds of questions. I see my main role as an educator to instill that type of critical thought in the students.

There is no solid block of architecture program and every one of them are very different. First of all, I think we need that difference. I don’t think you can have an individual universal idea of how architecture education should happen. I am very aware and familiar with architecture education in the United States and in some countries in Europe like Germany and even Turkey, they are very very different for obvious reasons. So it’s important to me to understand why a school and particular context, particular country educates their students in a particular way. Now if you ask me as a professor at PennDesign, I would come back to the question and say yes I want my students to challenge the status quo rather than prepare them to fit right in.

Hamid Hassanzadeh: What is the role of the history of architecture in today’s digital world? How it is feeding the context of computer-based designs?

Ferda Kolatan: I will speak to how I look at it because for everybody this is a very specific question. So I am not making a larger claim but other people do. There is a lot of history that we see in this day and age coming back very clearly into design expressions. So different people may have different ideas about why they did it and why they do it. I’m interested in history mostly because of what I said early on trying to avoid abstraction.

Science City – Cairo, Egypt – SU11 Architecture+Design

If I work on a project and there is a context of that project which usually unless you are building somewhere on Mars you do have some kind of build context you have to deal with it in some way or another. I’m not a contextual as my interest is not to say I want to design buildings that fit in. I’m coming from the point of view whereas there is a lot of strange idiosyncrasies everywhere and I’m interested in those the things that challenge and easy consumption of architecture. I like things to be difficult and not easy because I believe when they are difficult they will force you to spend more time with the thing at hand try to understand it on a deeper level. It is not easy to move on and say OK this is what it is.

Science City – Cairo, Egypt – SU11 Architecture+Design

So history to me is one of those components. And history is very complex. If there is historical legibility and some of the designs, it is utilized to express complexity and difficulty. It is by no means meant to just sort of refer to history as the thing that we need to uphold. I take a lot of liberties what I do with historical architecture in the context of the projects that we work in. I kind of use them literally like tools (conceptual tools) as well as design tools. It matters a lot to me. I love history but it is not a historical I would never want the design that we produce to be misunderstood as some kind of referential architecture or historic architecture.

Science City – Cairo, Egypt – SU11 Architecture+Design

Hamid Hassanzadeh: When we search about your works we see that you are designing on a variety of scales, we see a massive science center in Cairo, interior designs, then the scale goes even smaller like column design, and etc. What is the benefit of working on different scales? How it affects design capabilities?

Ferda Kolatan: This is a very interesting and kind of a personal question or the answer will be personal. Before anything, I probably see myself as a designer even more than I see myself as an architect. I don’t know when that happened because I know when I was a student I was not thinking that way, but somewhere along the way, I came to the realization that what matters to me really is to just design stuff, to conceptualize and think about them and then design it.

Tokyo PAC – Tokyo, Japan – SU11 Architecture+Design

If it takes the form of an object, an art piece, an installation, an interior, exterior building, small or large city. To me, it is literally just the change in scale but each one of these challenges is equally interesting and important to me. There is a lateral connection to these kinds of problems. Now clearly the small scale object cannot be translated too easily into a large-scale architecture.

Tokyo PAC – Tokyo, Japan – SU11 Architecture+Design

You have to think and rethink what it is you are doing according to the scale but there are certain ideas and principles that can travel or have echoes. We often do something small and then we find an element within that small which we then translate into a much larger project. And the larger project is very different and has to act differently functionally, programmatically, aesthetically and yet there are these moments that echo another project that we had generated earlier. So that’s the main reason I would say.

Tokyo PAC – Tokyo, Japan – SU11 Architecture+Design

Secondary also it is a little bit like an exercise. For example, exercising for a piano piece you need to do certain finger exercises. So you don’t get to build larger buildings all the time or even work on larger competition kind of buildings. So the kind of finger exercises as I often use art type projects or where the result is not something you would traditionally call the building. But I like to look at all of it as design/architecture.

Coral Column – Tokyo, Japan – SU11 Architecture+Design

Hamid Hassanzadeh: You always have mentioned that in design the final product is more important than the process. What are your thoughts for valuing on the final product more than the design process?

Ferda Kolatan: There is a really simple answer to that. I mean at the end of the day you go home you are done and what remains is the final object, final product, final building, final idea, final concept and whatever state that architecture is expressed itself. That’s what we see, that’s what other people see, that’s what’s in the world.

Baltic Thermal Pool Park – Liepaja City, Latvia – SU11 Architecture+Design

I don’t believe in a design where an explanation of the process or even an understanding for those who are not producing is an understanding of those of the project has to be based on the process. I think the process is very important, and I don’t think you can do good design without it. You need to know what it is you are doing. You need to be an expert and you need to do it over and over and study and whatever it is you use in the production of architecture and that process you need to control. The more and the better. But it’s not something that has to become sort of value of the final outcome.

Baltic Thermal Pool Park – Liepaja City, Latvia – SU11 Architecture+Design

Hamid Hassanzadeh: You have also worked on the parametric design. How would you define it? And what are the most important features of this design approach?

Ferda Kolatan: Well, that’s in a way a loaded question. I feel more comfortable to call it digital design and not parametric design. Because parametric design falls into two camps. We either talk about Parametricism which is what Patrick Schumacher is talking about in his books and he very clearly determines what he thinks Parametricism is. And then there is a parametric architecture which is basically a design that has been produced with certain kind of software which we call parametric software. So there is no particular conceptual or ethical idea connected to parametric design. Parametric design truly is a tool and Parametricism as a much larger framework well defined by Patrick.

PS Canopy – New Orleons, LA – SU11 Architecture+Design

So if I can change the question to a little bit to digital overtly sort of digital design, when we started in the 1990s and mid-90s when I was a student and then a young practitioner in the late 90s the digital was just this fantastic new tool that came out of nowhere. And we were simply just fortunate as a generation to be at the right time at the right place if you were at one of the places that engaged in early digital design. I was at Columbia University and Columbia University under Bernard Tschumi back then it was among the first institutions that really strongly push to work with digital tools. We had the famous or infamous first paperless studios where students were asked to design only with a computer, nothing else. I happen to be in one of those studios. There were three and I was in one of those people the studio’s run by Greg Lynn.

PS Canopy – New Orleons, LA – SU11 Architecture+Design

It felt exciting and it was new, we didn’t really know at all what it would yield. It wasn’t just going to the studio having already seen what been produced and then basically reproducing it. It was truly experimental and Greg was great that way because he forced us to use software that was not meant for architecture. We were asked to use animation software which today is a common thing but back then it was was not. We used Soft Image and this was before Maya was even on the market. I think Maya came on the market in 98 and this is fall 94. But it’s similar and it’s a software that doesn’t allow you to just draw lines and extrude them into walls and you have to work with UV and surfaces. And we were really challenged to understand the geometries that would come from this particular tool and then ask ourselves what it could do for the discipline of architecture.

Now to me, there’s a Parametricism in there but the challenge was not to create a more efficient or more functional design. The challenge was how you break down pre-existing idea of what we thought architecture is about with the introduction of a new tool. Often we refer to it as some kind of paradigm shift an I still believe it was a paradigm shift. Where it’s not only a tool but the whole way of thinking about the world was altered by the introduction of a certain kind of software. Again there was, of course, architecture software were being already used for more than ten years in the mid-90s but it was AutoCAD, MiniCAD and basically computational tools that were mimicking how the architecture already draws. We used to draw like this and then we draw like that on the computer. The big difference with the parametric or parametricist or digital approach was that we didn’t mimic how architects work prior but we tried to sort of simulate kind of architecture around, the one that’s again based on tools of animation privileges and UV’s versus XYZ space, moving away from a Cartesian understanding of the world to one of the topologies. These were all major changes that we were thrown into.

PS Canopy – New Orleons, LA – SU11 Architecture+Design

To me it was a wonderful time really we felt like pioneers but like everything else, there is no endless experimentation with one particular tool. It builds up it matures and at some point you as different kinds of questions with the same tool. And then what happened is the experimentation became less and a new kind of language arose which today we can all identify. We know the architects who do that kind of work, we know how those buildings usually look so it has become a different kind of animal if you will. Some of the most recent tendencies to bring in history and as you know we see a lot of postmodern like architecture from the young generation coming back. I think they are all reactions to the trajectory that the digital project has taken over the last twenty or twenty-five years.

PS Canopy – New Orleons, LA – SU11 Architecture+Design

Hamid Hassanzadeh: Would you please tell us what is your inspiration in Architecture?

Ferda Kolatan: Many things. If I’m focusing on architecture itself which is not the only inspiration, I would bring that back to the early part of the interview lately I would say I’m interested in hybridization, misfits, Oddkins, and idiosyncratic expressions of design. I think that’s a more true expression of our contemporary moment if you will. It seems everything goes on many levels not only in architecture but also in art and even in other creative fields. We are not in the time of orthodoxy. We are not in the time of classical modernism where avant-garde is pulling on the string. Maybe we had that in the 90s for some time as I was just mentioning but right now that one string has unfurled into many and many different bits and pieces and we are pulling sort of still collectively, still knowing where they all come together at some point in history not that far not that long ago. But it has become very very diverse and as I would say not only diverse but idiosyncratic. They’re weird and strange and peculiar architectural qualities that we see being expressed by a whole variety of designers.

I look for those and I also like to look for those in existing and old architectural examples. One reason why I love coming to Istanbul is I know that in the 19th century there have been a whole set of Ottoman examples of architecture that mix and blend with baroque, late baroque elements, rococo elements, empire style elements. All these were considered to be impure at some point in time and yet there is fascinating conglomerates of different ideas and different styles and the way how they come together to create these seemingly ambiguous qualities. That’s what I’m the most interested in.

Hamid Hassanzadeh: Thank you for your time, in closing, may I ask what advice would you like to share with young architects?

Ferda Kolatan: The simple questions are always the most difficult ones. Particularly if you don’t want to give any kind of platitude answer for this type of questions but I think we are at a time where a lot of different ideas seem to co-exist simultaneously. It’s basically a lateral way of perceiving the world rather than one that is sort of vertical. I would recommend that any young person and architect or anybody who is interested in the field of design needs to do many things really well at the same time. To me as I was also answered in regards to the design question and scale question, what really matters is how to develop a kind of a longer conceptual idea within which you can build a career.

In the old days, Peter Eisenman causes a project. What is your project, what are you working on? I don’t know if I see it exactly in those terms but I do agree that it’s very important in order not to get lost in this sort of lateral flood of ideas and images that come up and disappear within minutes. It is to find a way of navigation and a way of production. Bringing the world of images that is growing constantly to bear into how we manifest form and physicality. Start as early as you can that would be my advice. Don’t just sort of do things quickly without taking your own time to sort of step back a moment and conceptualize the moves you have done so you can build up on them in some kind of way. This building up doesn’t have to express itself formally as the same thing. I don’t think we can do that anymore. I don’t think an architect can basically have a 50 year with buildings that all look the same. I think that’s over with. In this day and age, it will not survive it will not keep people’s attention and you don’t have the time to develop that kind of project. Things are too quick.

So how do you figure to build sort of consistency in your work in these circumstances is something I don’t have an answer for but it’s something I would ask every architect and architecture student to think about.

Thank you!

Thanks for reading this article. You can also watch the full interview from our YouTube channel or from the link below.

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National Museum of Qatar by Atelier Jean Nouvel

National Museum of Qatar

A series of colliding discs form the external shell and define the internal programme of Atelier Jean Nouvel’s National Museum of Qatar, which is based on a mineral formation called the “desert rose”.

The project led by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel is located on a prominent site within a newly developed civic quarter that connects it with other cultural institutions including I M Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art.

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National Museum of Qatar

More than a decade in the making, the National Museum of Qatar is designed to tell the story of the country’s history and its ambitions for the future.

“This is a 21st-century museum that allows you to experience the exhibits in three dimensions,” said the architect at the museum’s inauguration. “It aims to be a destination for people from around the world that reflects the contemporary spirit of Qatar.”

National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar

The building’s dramatic shape is inspired by the desert rose – a mineral formation created when minerals crystallise below the surface of a salt basin into an array of flat plates resembling rose petals.

A steel frame that spans an insulated waterproof superstructure supports the interlocking discs, which are clad in a glass-fibre reinforced concrete with a sandy hue that evokes the desert landscape.

National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar

“The desert rose is a symbol of the desert because it’s an architecture created by time and the desert itself,” Nouvel added. “Nobody knows what the inside of a desert rose looks like, and we created a typology of intersections that makes you question what is inside it.”

Sections of the building’s shell protrude outwards to shade areas of a central courtyard, and to protect the interiors from direct sunlight.

Gaps between the discs accommodate frameless glass openings that provide views towards the courtyard, the museum’s gardens and the nearby Doha Bay.

Nouvel explained that the radical form seeks to express Qatar’s progressive cultural outlook and technological capabilities, which have contributed to its rapid expansion in recent years.

National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar

“It’s important to consider that architecture is a testimony of time and the museum is a testimony of this time in Qatar, which is a very powerful period,” said the architect.

“The symbology of the desert rose is important but we also wanted to reflect modernity, which is achieved through a change of scale and the creation of something that is a real technical feat.”

The museum’s 52,000-square-metre floor area enfolds the early 20th-century palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, which has been extensively renovated and integrated into the visitor experience.

The building’s plan forms an elliptical circuit that leads visitors through a sequence of galleries occupying the irregular spaces between the interlocking geometric planes.

The galleries surround a central courtyard that references the traditional Baraha where travellers would unload their merchandise.

The courtyard can be used for events and also forms part of a route connecting the royal palace’s outdoor spaces with a garden leading towards the waterfront promenade.

The visitor route extends around one mile and chronicles the history of Qatar, beginning with the period before humans inhabited the peninsula and continuing up to the present day.

National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar

Several level changes are incorporated along the route, which begins on the upper floor above the entrance foyer and sweeps back down to the level of the historic palace.

The architecture studio worked closely with the curators to develop a museography tailored to spaces where many of the floors are inclined and there is a complete lack of vertical surfaces.

Several of the jutting internal planes are used as a backdrop for bespoke films that depict different aspects of Qatar and its history.

The movie projections, which were produced in collaboration with the Doha Film Institute, are formatted to fit the specific proportions of the walls they are screened on.

National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar

“The idea was to introduce a dialogue between art and information,” Nouvel said. “A lot of Qatar’s history is undocumented so we used movies and models to help communicate how life here has changed.”

The poetic images displayed on the walls complement the other exhibits and are accompanied by a soundscape that immerses the visitor in a variety of settings ranging from the underwater environment of the sea surrounding Qatar, to the bustling market towns that thrived during the period when the country was central to the pearling industry.

National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar

The chronological journey is completed by galleries presenting the modern history of Qatar, including the transformative impact of the discoveries of oil and gas during the latter part of the twentieth century.

Finally, visitors emerge from Nouvel’s building into the historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani. This important national landmark was both the family home and seat of government before being occupied by the museum’s predecessor between 1975 and 1996.

National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar
National Museum of Qatar

The museum is surrounded by a landscaped 112,000-square-metre park designed by landscape architect Michel Desvignes. The gently undulating gardens feature native plants and trees intended to represent the land and history of Qatar.

Jean Nouvel is a French architect and the 2008 laureate of the annual Pritzker Prize. Alongside the National Museum of Qatar, he recently completed the Louvre Abu Dhabi, another large museum in the Middle East that is spanned by a huge geometric-patterned dome.

The country of Qatar is currently undergoing preparation for the World Cup in 2022, including the construction of Fenwick Iribarren Architects’ Ras Abu Aboud, a stadium made from modified shipping containers.

Other recently completed projects in the country include the Qatar National Library designed by OMA, as well as the Qatar National Archive designed by Allies and Morrison that references traditional coastal watchtowers.

National Museum of Qatar

Architects : Atelier Jean Nouvel
Architect in Charge : Jean Nouvel
Project Manager : Hafid Rakem
Project Leader : Phillipe Charpiot
Lead Interior Designer : Sabrina Letourneur
Area : 52000.0 m2
Project Year : 2019
Photographs : Iwan Baan

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Via > Dezeen

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Vessel at Hudson Yards by Heatherwick Studio


Vessel at Hudson Yards by Heatherwick Studio in New York, USA. Heatherwick studio was invited to design a public centerpiece for Hudson Yards, a new 11-hectare development on Manhattan’s upper west side being constructed above a huge rail yard. To create something memorable, the studio decided to create a structure that visitors might be able to use and touch, not just to look at.

A design was developed for a new social landmark that could be climbed and explored by everyone. Influenced by the Indian stepwells of Rajasthan, formed from multitudes of stone staircases reaching down into the ground, the studio became interested in the mesmerizing visual effect of the repeating steps, flights and landings.

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Composed of 2,500 steps, 154 flights, 80 landings and 16 storeys, the resulting design. Is a climbing frame to lift people above the new square and reveal views across the Hudson River and Manhattan. Fabricated in Venice, Italy by specialist steel fabricator Cimolai, Vessel’s complex architectural framework of raw welded and painted steel contrasts with its polished copper-coloured steel underside that reflects the surrounding city. Forming a major free public attraction at the heart of this new district, Vessel represents an intention to create an extraordinary new kind of public legacy for New York.


By opening up voids between the steps to create a three- dimensional lattice, the public square could be stretched upwards, creating more than a mile of routes that could be explored in different ways. To create the continuous geometric pattern of the stepwell, with 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, the object had to be self-supporting – a discreet structural solution was required, which did not need additional columns and beams. This was resolved by inserting a steel spine between each pair of staircases, creating a natural division between ‘up’ and ‘down’. The raw welded steel of this structure is exposed to give the object clarity and integrity, and the underside of the staircases is clad in a deep copper-toned metal, setting them apart from the surrounding architecture.


Every element of the Vessel is bespoke, from the joints to the handrails. The 75 huge steel components were produced in Venice by specialist fabricator Cimolai, before being brought from Italy in six shipments, carried across the Hudson River by barge, and assembled on site in a process that took three years. Yet despite the size of the Vessel, it has been designed at a human scale, to be climbed, explored and enjoyed by New Yorkers and visitors – a simple structure, animated by people and the reflections of the square beneath.


Architects : Heatherwick Studio
Location : Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001, United States
Category : Landmarks & Monuments
Design Director : Thomas Heatherwick
Group Leader : Stuart Wood
Project Leader : Laurence Dudeney
Project Team : Charlotte Bovis, Einar Blixhavn, Antoine van Erp, Felipe Escudero, Thomas Farmer, Steven Howson, Jessica In, Nilufer Kocabas, Panagiota Kotsovinou, Barbara Lavickova, Alexander Laing, Elli Liverakou, Pippa Murphy, Luke Plumbley, Ivan Ucros Polley, Daniel Portilla, Jeff Powers, Matthew Pratt, Peter Romvári, Ville Saarikoski, Takashi Tsurumaki
Area : 2210.0 m2
Project Year : 2019
Photograph : Iwan Baan

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The Very Many ’s ‘Boolean Operator’ masterpiece in Suzhou China | 2018

Boolean Operator by Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY in Suzhou, China, 2018

For the event of the Jinji Lake Biennial, MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY installed a large-scale outdoor pavilion on the elevated plaza of the Suzhou Center. Its undulating enclosure interrupts the usual traffic, as an unexpected, emergent environment. It appears to have bubbled up from the ground, or dropped from the sky. The structure, both massive in scale and delicate in white aluminum, lands lightly on an ultra-thin edge.

Boolean Operator – so named for the function that determines relationships between statements, geometries or forms – makes an impression from a distance. Unlike the surrounding texture of the city, this curious structure radiates an otherworldly quality. It casts a strange shadow. It seems to conceal something behind its porous shell. Like seeing the full moon on a clear night, you can start to identify its surface, its irregular craters, and its possible depths. You are pulled closer into its far-reaching orbit and prepare to enter into its interior atmosphere.

Entering the structure is a revelatory experience. Something between a vessel that’s carefully engineered to “move” you and a destination in itself, Boolean Operator transcends the surrounding environment, even as it remains embedded in it. Typically, we argue for the contextual; here were interested in a point of departure.

In one respect, our journey happens in an instance: you cross the threshold and you are, all of a sudden, somewhere else entirely. The drama of the interior atmosphere makes you feel as if you have instantly descended into some other world, despite the thinness of the enclosure that separates you from the familiar terrain beyond.

Suffuse in light, the details come into and out of focus. A continuous surface grows from a network of columns that peel open into the enclosing shell. Topologically, there is no simple dichotomy between envelope and supports, but the two are made from a continuous skin that self-supports throughout. The relationship is like an unwrapping: what is inside of the columns eventually becomes the outside of the shell. In aluminum parts as thin as 1mm in places where the curvature is tightest and up to 2mm thick on larger spans, the structure maintains a light impact on the ground.

The intricacy of the skin asserts a density: of limbs, of openings, of parts and their connections. You have to let your eyes adjust to the resolution of the experience. Unfocusing your gaze again, the whole scene overwhelms, strikes awe, compels you to move closer, deeper, and through an edgeless space. The doubly-curved surfaces cast no regular shadows, giving little information to the eye to perceive its scale or depth. The only way to understand the space is to move through it. Your winding path isn’t designed, but implied by a swirl of light, plotted on a map of your own desires.

And so it becomes a irresistible terrain for play. All the instances where columns branch and recombine into the bulbous shell, make for an architecture that opens to climbing, ducking, hurdling, hiding and seeking. Children are the best explorers of this environment, while attending parents wonder how the structure sustains this activity despite being so thin.

A constellation of openings in the skin are also the result of a kind of exploration. Crawling agents of a computational search protocol find their way across the spherical mesh, leaving a trail of non-linear stripes in one pass and apertures between them in another. The two directions of flow curves result from a structural analysis on the digital 3D geometry. Agents determine the directional fitness as well as the maximum length of stripes along these paths so that they can be accommodated on a conventional sheet of aluminum. In another direction, sometimes aligned with the parts, sometimes snaking across them, agents locate opportunities to eat away at the envelope, leaving the minimum material to sustain the structure, but augmenting the experience through a complex game of shadows. Visitors to the site retrace these paths with their gaze or their hands: even in close range, there are hidden dimensions.

Via > The Very Many

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