Active since 2010, the architecture lab theOtherDada defends an alternative position towards the current practice of sustainability through exploration of the context and medium, invoking new relationships between climate, landscape, and inhabitants. Informed by our research into biomimicry, we aim to connect to the natural ecosystems of sites to understand and consequently devise new potential living habitats. theOtherDada works within a collaborative process between architects, scientists, botanists, artists, economists and the craftsmen.
Every environment an architect confronts consists of architecture; the existing. Every site is meticulously organized and inhabited. Facing the complexity of this contemporary issue, our role lies in the thoughts of architectural impact by exploring the capabilities of context in producing new relationships.
To survey, observe, and register the existing state – its resources, organisms, humidity, winds, insolation, earth, eventual construct, and its usage – constitute the initial program we set preliminary to any constructive action. Informed by our research into biomimicry, this extremely precise and demanding introspective method leads to reconsider the world differently: like a system of relationships, exchanges, and not like a system of isolated objects and actions. This generates new spatial experiments and living conditions that are more open, light and porous through invention of dynamic play between the interior and exterior; an intricate interdependency. We aim to criticize the defensive approach that forms the relationship between the living and the context. Whether one lives in Paris or Dubai, the brutal tendency towards obstruction and introversion are surprisingly the same. If the future of architecture is directed towards sustainability, undisputable intention, a consensus is still a requisite. We believe that practices claiming to be sustainable only enhance the already abusive trend of a number of enterprises into Greenwashing. However, the sustainable has nothing to do with the appearance, it is an attitude. A curious and activist look directed on the existing. A knowledgeable and happy relationship towards the pleasure of an environment with the potential to be transformed, to produce new reasons to inhabit.
LANDFORM house is characterized by its landscape strategy. Employing a formal vocabulary culled from the study of the region’s past indigenous civilizations, the residence recreates a complete ecosystem in order to introduce, protect and improve the proliferation of local wildlife by enhancing biodiversity in a dense desert city.
Green before their time, the Nabataeans perfected water collection & storage though the use of local materials in the deserts they inhabited, using the landscape as their fortress, cunningly working in and within the earth to create their camouflaged structures.
LANDFORM draws its inspiration from the land-embedded monuments they left behind. Local natural materials are used to translate landscape into architecture, creating a residence that appears to be carved out of the earth and rising from the ground, blurring the line between the natural and the artificial.
The strength of LANDFORM lies in its ecosystem approach. Extensive research and cross referencing of the local flora & fauna is conducted in order to choose appropriate native trees and shrubs that will attract a maximal number of birds and urban pollinators to the site.
Migratory species are also studied, as Riyadh is located on an important bird migratory path.
An ecosystem is then recreated to protect, improve and help the proliferation of local wildlife. With two other neighboring projects underway we are replicating this approach allowing wildlife to jump from one project to the other, enhancing the overall biodiversity in a dense desert city.
The objective of tOD, in this project, is to provide sustainable architectural solutions for the insulation of this family house, in particular from the harsh climate of Riyadh which is accentuated by the poor and unreliable infrastructure of the rapidly sprawling city.
The North, South and West walls of the house give directly to the street and are therefore generally blind with minimum openings. Conversely, a fully glazed interior front allows for maximum exploitation of daylight and the garden view while an integrated system of shutters allows the house to become totally impervious to the outside. The program includes a bunker that extends on two floors and that can shelter the whole family.
The ground floor comprises the public functions as well as the daughter’s quarters which are given a distinct treatment. The upper private areas are treated as two separate volumes; the result of their staggering creates a number of shaded and private terraces gathered around the swimming pool.
The client’s request for a sealed and controlled environment was met by closing the building to the outside while keeping a cautious dialogue with the exterior garden. This dialogue is defined by the articulation of the building volumes; it can be completely shut off and tentatively resumed.
In a city where the architectural reality is deeply rooted in privacy with residences completely encircled by 3 meter high walls, FENCE house attempts to pervert the traditional mould in Riyadh, KSA.
Our scheme is driven by the integration of the obligatory fence, the house + landscape into a unified system, blurring the boundaries between the three. This duality is nurtured by creating a complete biodiversity-enhancing ecosystem that connects the interior and its inhabitants to their site. FENCE house offers an alternative to the predominant sealed envelope scheme by reinterpreting the traditional courtyard house. A sustainable contemporary approach restores an open relationship with the exterior courtyard without compromising cultural standards, all the while maximizing natural light and reducing the water + energy footprint.
Our design begins at the fence, which disintegrates into a terraced topography. Connecting to every level of the house in a closed loop alternating between exterior and interior, the planted terraces gradually step down to reach a sunken courtyard. The result is a procession that redefines the typical Saudi dwellings relationship with the exterior, erasing the vertical wall that usually stands as a boundary, through the simulation of a planted valley open to the sky. Each floor gains a direct view + access to the landscaped sanctuary, ensuring the privacy and spatial segregation of the house.
As such, we are pursuing the most stringent environmental certification, the Living Building Challenge, which goes beyond LEED certification to introduce the idea of Regenerative Buildings, buildings that give back to the environment and enhance Biodiversity.
Given Lebanon's geographic location and water scarcity potential, tOD is particularly emphasizing on the Water Petal, performing detailed calculations and researches related to hydrology with Dr Nadim Farajallah and waste water treatment for re-use to target the Net Zero Water and Ecological Water Flow imperatives. Because of anticipated warnings of global warming due to increase of greenhouse gas emissions, tOD is also taking into consideration the Energy petal wherein the built environment relies on renewable forms of energy and operates in a pollution-free manner. Due to a lack of governmental incentives, the high cost of Photovoltaic Panels inhibits us from pursuing the Net Zero Energy petal, but this doesn't stop us from introducing a small PV array to meet the needs of external lighting and equipment. Another main challenge we are tackling is the Materials Petal, as we are exclusively specifying materials that have no toxicity whatsoever to the environment as well as human beings. Commonly used toxic materials such as PVC are replaced in our design by non-toxic alternatives.
GARLIC house is weekend retreat is located in a village called Thoum in Batroun, North of Lebanon and is about 120 m above sea level. It consists of a private family house (area= 80 square meters) and a guest and guard's house (area= 95 square meters) located within a master plan (site= 7,000 sqm) which design and construction would be divided into two phases to allow for future expansion not exceeding 300 m2.
The project footprint is minimized and considered in a way not to hinder the existing biodiversity; furthermore, our intention is to set an exemplary residential project in Lebanon in terms of sustainable architecture, use of renewable energy resources, and water efficiency; consequently, promoting a symbiotic relationship between people and aspects of the built environment.
We are working with environmental consultants Eco Consulting, as well as with electromechanical engineering company OPUS specialized in sustainable solutions. IBSAR, a local association, has conducted a Biodiversity Survey on site at different times of the year, mapping the existing vegetation to assess its environmental value and help us determine which other vegetation species to introduce that have a low water consumption and would increase biodiversity on site, with no risk of undermining the existing vegetation.
We are now in the process of determining best practices for sensible construction and appropriate building materials, energy generation and most importantly water conservation and reuse given the limitations of these materials and appropriate legislation in Lebanon.
A beach house with a minimal footprint designed to reduce its impact on the natural site and maximize the connection of indoor/outdoor space.
This was made possible by splitting the house in two and moving one half of it upwards to enhance views and free space underneath. A courtyard punctures the space and highlights the cantilevered upper floor, while the swimming pool is raised as well to avoid digging into the site, and is instead embedded in the roof of the Living area.
This masterplan project is at its core a collaborative project, and tOD’s role as Creative Director is the catalyst to its on-going development. After assessing the client brief which called for a Fashion City named Oriental Milan, tOD was able to modify the brief and set an initial strategy that called for the transformation of the masterplan into a deeply sustainable Design hub, at the core of which is a multi-disciplinary design school, supplemented with Fashion, Architecture, Art and Technology programs.
tOD then introduced a competition between two architectural firms, to come up with original designs that fall within its initial strategy concept. The evaluation of the two innovative designs led to the formation of the final strategy and masterplan team comprising of PLP/Architecture, Arthesia and BDSP. Thus the N+ masterplan was born.
N+ is specifically designed as an epicenter for the creative industry.
The project is a creative catalyst for Ningbo - China’s largest clothing manufacture base and the origin of the country’s modern garment industry.
N+ sets up a new urban genre: a curated, experiential space working simultaneously as a headquarters campus, R&D incubator, design school, cultural space and a brand-interaction venue. The organizational strategy, based on intensifying spontaneous encounters, laminates programs, character and atmosphere within an evolving urban experience.
N+ is organized within four distinct districts. Located within an urban forest, a design school and a botanical garden fuse design research with biomimicry and link the central park to the river. To the north, the headquarters of global fashion brands form a dense high-rise district. Along the waterfront is a cultural district with a theatre, museum and yacht club. To the south, a labyrinthine neighborhood – a contemporary reinterpretation of a Hutong – mixes boutique hotels, designer concept stores, fashion villas and a very active ground level. Above street level, a ring-shaped Catwalk connects the districts. In the absence of cars, the ring reinvents an urban typology: an elevated agora elicits novel ways to negotiate the city. Its infrastructure supports a localised micro-climate and engages in energy and water arbitrage among the districts. The multiplicity forms a space of experimentation, where design and research interact; where theatre is a playground and where buyers, brands and shoppers merge in an augmented culture of urban density.
The project consists of a raw concrete exoskeleton enveloping a column-free, open-plan office space, managerial section, a courtyard and cafeteria. The design takes into consideration the harsh desert conditions and responds accordingly with thick walls and inset windows depending on their orientation and raw concrete for durability.