Oman has a careful approach to urban expansion which has so far proved successful, in light of recent events in the region. However its established model of development is increasingly being challenged by a range of factors – massive population growth, declining oil reserves, climate change, economic restructuring, changing life-styles and an expansion of tourism.
Key to resolving these challenges is the search for an environmentally and culturally appropriate architecture and urbanism.
The workshop will generate new architectural and urban solutions based on an investigation of patterns – which are seen as a means to translate the performance or appearance of historical structures into new concepts. Algorithmic thinking as well as advanced computational methods will be introduced and developed. Proposals will also take into account issues such as manufacturing, assembly and constructability. The aim is to apply these solutions to various scales, from facades and buildings to cities & regions.
We will look closely at natural patterns and attempt to analyse and understand their cause and effect. This analysis and understanding will feed our design process, allowing students to derive specific behaviours that have architectural capabilities and apply them to 1:1 scale prototypes. Aspects such as flexibility, economy, scale and beauty will be explored to understand the potential contribution of each project to a new Omani architecture.
The workshop will end with a public exhibition of projects which will enable the students to present their ideas in a public forum and to discuss their views on the future direction of architecture in Oman. Our purpose is to challenge normative modes of thinking about architecture and to understand its influence in a wider context.
The workshop is open to architecture and design students and professionals worldwide.
Oman has been careful and farsighted in its approach to development. With regard to recent events in the region this approach has proven to be a successful model. Massive increase in population, decrease of fossil resources, climate change, change of life-styles, change of economic foundations, extended tourism – are all part of an increasing set of parameters set to challenge Oman’s approach to development. Urbanisation sits at the centre of these parameters. In this scenario the search for an environmentally and culturally appropriate architecture and urbanism is one of the most important ventures in Oman.
In order to develop theoretical as well as practical contributions for this discourse the workshop will have a methodological focus on patterns. Patterns are seen as a means of translating the performance and the appearance of historical structures into new concepts. Heuristic and algorithmic thinking as well as advanced computational methods will be introduced as a means of investigating patterns and developing new solutions. These solutions will also take into consideration aspects relating to manufacturing, assembly and constructability. The aim here is to apply these solution to various scales from facades and buildings to cities and regions.
The Muscat Visiting School 2011 is the first of three workshops held in collaboration between the AA and the German University of Technology in Oman.