American Univesity of Beirut

Synergies between vernacular constructions & cutting-edge technologies | SIWA workshop

Synergies between Vernacular Constructions & Cutting-Edge Technologies
Professors: Salma Samar Damluji and Raffi Tchakerian ​​​
ArD Vertical Travel Studio (A) | ARCH 304 | Spring 2018

As architects, we learn best through hands on experiences and site visits. It is through these experiences that our minds are stimulated to produce unique and creative work. This was exactly the case in the Siwa Travel Vertical studio of Spring 2018. Through collaborations with local experts, we engaged in 4 workshop sites that were set up over the course of one week to better foster an understanding of the complexities posed by the delicate oasis system upon the livelihoods and built environment of the local community. We were able to personally learn and work with the community we are designing for, and have gathered enough information to continue and complete our work in Beirut.
A Message from the AUB Architecture Students | Arch304

 The selection of Siwa Oasis as a study case offered to students from both institutions the opportunity to interact with the local community and the local traditional vernacular construction technics. The on-going reconstruction and rehabilitation processes pushed also the students to engage with designing and renewing the urban fabric.

The hands-on experience with salt and karsheef was a key element of the research that contributed in a fundamental way to the learning outcomes.
A Message from Iuav-EAHR, Emergency and Resilience International Masters​

REPORT ON THE SIWA WORKSHOP 17-25 February 2018 |  Siwa-Oasis, Egypt

MSFEA architecture students traveled to Siwa, Egypt where they worked at four sites, taught by skilled builders and craftsmen, using traditional techniques: construction in karsheef (salt combined with silt deposits); salt block cutting and sculpting; palm trunk processing for beams, rafters, and lintels; and organic agriculture and irrigation. The Environmental Quality International (EQI) team with whom we collaborated in Siwa, organised this visit and workshops sharing their experience with the successful eco-lodge project completed (at Adrere Amellal) in 2000. This included instruction in the traditional building materials and techniques, site visits to craft workshops with demonstrations, introducing the Shali site, sharing the site reconstruction strategy, and vision for the current and future Shali schemes. The workshop helped enable the students to carry on with their projects for the studio rethinking the design and development for their respective assigned projects in old Shali.

Participating Students:

AUB- MSFEA Architecture:
Class of 2020:  Noor Itani, Linda Yachoui, Maribelle Zoughaib
Class of 2019: Leen Nadar, Danielle Raffoul, Meriem Soltan, Maha Sabalbal, Karma Makki, Nour Balshi, Farah Ghalayini, Gabriella Dona, Nayla Saniour, Ghida Bsat, Mayssa Chouraiki, Marguerita Hayek, Ali Khansa, Aya Zantout, Batoul Faour

Iuav-EAHR Masters students from the “Emergency & Resilience" program:
Ludovica Sodomaco, Cecilia Barberis, Elena Sentieri, Elena Bajor, Selene Angelone

Participating Faculty:

Iuav - EAHR 
Michele di Marco
Elisa Vendemini

Salma Samar Damluji
Raffi Tchakerian


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