top of page

Inhabitable Infrastructures

Tutor: George Knewlands

“God has shaped earth not through singular cataclysms but through a million paper cuts. For Darwin, Lyell’s central idea of the slow heaves of natural forces shaping and reshaping earth, sculpting nature-would prove to be a potent intellectual spur.”-Siddartha Mukherji

The transformation in understanding the logic and science of heredity carries a dictionary of relevant notions. What I was most intrigued by is what scientists thought of as the source of an identity (the way something looks, behaves, etc). In similar manners architecture speaks the same language, inheriting from its context producing a new born creature. It needs an enduring exploration to understand a context and produce from it, but an alternative is understanding the systems, the patterns, the fields, the flow. The knowledge of fields and flow epitomize wilderness. Wilderness is not where nature exists in its pristine and pure state, and away from the cultivated environment. What happens when wilderness is fabricated and man-made: its shaped by the function of human use.

In The Gene, by Siddartha Mukherji, he shares scientists’ and philosophers’ theories on the subject of heredity. Pythagoras’s theory was that hereditary information was carried inside one source (male semen). That source provided the essential information to create a fetus, and the other source (mother’s womb) provided nutrition so that Information could be transformed into a child. Later aristotle introduced the theory of the fetus being a combination of two sources (male and female). To him, one source (the male) was the predominant ingredient, the “principle of movement” Aristotle used. Simply the man carried the information, the code. And during intercourse, it was not about exchange of fluids, but exchange of messages. The female contribution was with the physical raw materials, Aristotle refers to the menstrual blood as that raw forming material. And the male semen is the message and instructions that form that material. ‘Information’, from man, was then used to build an organism from scratch: message became material. Another predecessor theory was that of the homunculus. A homunculus is a mini human already shrunken and contained inside the sperm. And when it’s placed inside its new home, the womb, it inflates. Which means inside every male is an infinite amount of shrunken humans. 


The introduction of the program incorporates a distinct biozone, of its region, the UAE. The aviary hosting native birds, introduces an experiential component for residents of One Zabeel, not available in any other residential complex is the region.  The circulation meanders around  to give the impression of a larger space. The circulation define the segregation of the animals.

 “One approach is the architecture is background to the landscape, and not the landscape being background to architecture” Tshumi says. The proposed aviary is not a prison for the animals, nor for the users, it’ll be designed to protect and house them.

In a nutshell I am not mimicing nature, but using a language to create composed experiential environments. Very simple use of materials, keeping the sympathetic character of the environment while performing its function. The aviary and mangrove haven preserves and protects.

Elements explored in the project aimed to circumscribe the natural formation of a human embryo into architectural elements. The embryo’s birth essentials, such as the DNA of the parents, being the existing contextual field conditions. The umbilical cord, the supply of nurture, is the bridge hosting the flow of humans. The placenta, is the site up to and including the Zabeel Park and the World Trade Center. The information/the identity of the

The proposal includes a relocation of the administration office of the Zabeel park, that has its own private access from Al-Majlis street. With the introduction of the relocated admin, I propose a mangrove haven that merges with Zabeel park. While the landscape, of the park, is manipulated to enclose the administration it also introduces a seating platform to view the cricket games that are hosted occasionally.

bottom of page