The European Refugee Crisis is a first of its kind in the digital age: Technology has become a lifeline. Refugees have and are using their mobile phones to communicate, to navigate, for digital scrapbooking, and more. No technology can give refugees everything they need, but it can play an important role in making those journeys less precarious by helping them stay connected, as well as having access to reliable and updated information. The biggest issues regarding mobile phone access in refugee camps are Wi-Fi and electricity access.
The island of Lesvos, in Greece, is a prime tourist destination, home to 85,000 permanent residents, and is now a microcosm of the refugee crisis. Over one million refugees have endured and survived deadly sea crossings to reach this gateway into Europe. Upon arriving to the shore of the island, refugees dispose of their life jackets, which are then collected into piles.
Using recycled material from the life jackets, the Live Jacket responds to basic needs for refugees while providing them with a digital platform. It transforms from a life jacket, to a regular jacket, to a sleeping unit, and aggregates into varying architectural forms by connecting the units and inflating them along the hexagonal seams. Technology is embedded into the clothing, transforming the jacket into an autonomous Wi-Fi shelter, electricity hub, and habitation node. The Live Jacket becomes a catalyst for interaction between refugees and locals: a local Greek may walk up to a refugee in order to get connected. The aggregated spaces serve as social pop-up spaces for refugees and locals, shifting the ways public spaces are formed in Greece. The adoption of new technologies as design solutions can embrace a new model of interactions, with a global digital reach that is infinite and has the power to activate spaces.
1. During phase 1, the shape folds into a life jacket, which hooks around the body. The triangular component of the jacket is unzipped and inflated, acting as the buoyancy element. It is the only zone of the material in colour, as it must be seen from far away. Waterproof pockets are located on the inside of the jacket for important documents and devices, as well as a whistle and light.
2. The material can then be folded into a regular jacket for when the individual is on land. Electricity is generated through friction by using a triboelectric nanogenerator material, as well as through a solar fabric. The electricity accumulated is stored in a small generator, which individuals can plug their phones into. A tiny antenna for Wi-Fi is embedded into the clothing, allowing for a 3-5 meter range of Wi-Fi around each jacket.
3. The shape also folds into a sleeping bag or blanket, with zippers to ensure maximum temperature control. The top triangular part is once again unzipped and inflated, this time to perform as a pillow or seat.
4. Along the seams of the shape are inflatable ribs, which perform as structure when the Life Jacket aggregates. The jackets are connected in hexagonal shapes by zipping the units along the edges. Inside the ribs are LED lights which are powered by excess electricity generated, which can provide light during night-time. The top triangular parts of the jackets can be unzipped, as they are not necessary for the structure and form of many aggregations. They can then be inflated and utilized as seats.
Entry for Abu Dhabi Flamingo Observation Tower, Bee Breeders, 2019
In collaboration with Marwan Omar
Intended as a new architectural landmark for the wetlands, the competition called for a platform will supplement the reserve’s existing visitor experience center, network of trails, and a bird hide. Being considerate to what the birds would see and their sensititvity to the ultraviolet range, the tower adopt a natural palette of wood, rope, and insulated light-painted steel.
With the aim to celebrate Abu Dhabi’s ancient Bedoin weaving craft, the tower incorporates an abstracted and purposeful weave that wraps around the tower’s beam structure. The ropes are purposefully placed to provide shading and enhance the air and thermal quality of the tower in parallel with consideration for the open view corridors, achieved through facade radiation analysis.
Masterplan with Flamingo Migration paths
Path to Tower Connection
Qasr al-Hosn - Borrowed Dimensions
With the aim to celebrate Abu Dhabi’s first permanent structure, the Observatory Tower uses Qasr al-Hosn’s proportions.
The ropes are purposefully placed to provide shading and enhance the air and thermal quality of the tower in parallel with consideration for the open view corridors, achieved through facade radiation analysis.
Four different forms for the roof were examined for their shading potential. The Shadow Analysis was simulated between 8am-4pm in the Summer Solstice - the cylinder provided the most self-shading to the staircase and decks beneath.
Location: Mykonos, Greece
Private Commission, 2019
Architectural Designers: Laura-India Garinois + Liam Martin
Villa Ela is located at the hilltop of Agios Lazaros, the panorama sweeping across the Aegean sea.
Originally built in 2003 by ISD Architects, the renovation of the villa focuses on three main points: sun, shade, and nature. The exterior decking and pool area, bathrooms, and kitchen are reconfigured to optimize circulation flow, activities, and a welcome ambiance. Nature is brought into the indoors through entirely new finishes and interiors throughout the villa, blurring the lines between the outside and inside. A hand-picked selection of designer furniture spills into the outdoor area, providing a sense of elegance and well-being.
Location: Amazonia, Brazil
Cornell University studio Frontier Urbanities/Amazonia led by Paulo Tavares + Tao DuFour
In collaboration with Liam Martin
Dido is a program comprised of various infrastructural, botanical, and ecological information systems which aim to provide autonomous communication channels in the Amazon rainforest, providing a new way of utilizing the content of the forest to produce research, protective tools for the forest, and ecological empathy. By thematizing the air of the canopy in the rainforest as an infrastructure and as an architecture of the internet, Dido mediates between the shifting forest canopy, the terrain, and its inhabitants.
Radio and wi-fi access are not ordinarily treated as architectural problems, building materials, or environmental conditions. The architecture itself becomes less clear, and acts as a fertilizer. It enables spaces to become more mobile, as the connectivity of the internet is an inherently expansive medium. The ephemerality of different conditions in the forest - biodiversity, deforestation, ecological practices, river fluctuations - suggest motifs of nature versus human activity and culture. A binary condition that, in the end, is a tool to rethink relationships, to rethink how one works with modernity in a perpetual temporal condition.
Dido provides a scalable and autonomous broadband communication network solution for protected territories and indigenous communities in the Tapajos National Forest to enable the transaction of decolonized information between communities and territories, strengthening social organization and broadening access to internet-enabled devices within the forest. The program is also comprised of an app, which introduces a new typology of botanical museum in the forest by layering geo-referenced, researcher cross-analyzed information within the RF propagation space of the territory, extending the grasp of multidisciplinary research, while remaining materially unobtrusive.
By using science as a mode of truth-telling, we can discover the various truths of the forest and understand our perception of the forest as consumers, tourists, residents, researchers, etc. The apparent truth of a place often belies the temporal conditions layered within the territory, and that in reality there are multiple truths which can be revealed and learned from. Our new occupation of places has the potential to be not only respectful of a particular past(s), but can illuminate and inform future use and take a key role in the design of protective tools for that environment and the people who dwell there.
Dido consists of:
- High-speed connected Backhauls in Santarem and Aveiro (25 mi radius) these gateways serve as the central point of broadcast of internet data, and can also be pavilions or hubs to store network components and perform as social spaces that encourage connectivity.
- Relays (15 mi radius) - smaller relay points at the scale of the community - create the community scale wifi network access to smaller devices and individual homes
- Community Node (2 mi radius) - extends the network access to an isolated point - this could be an area of more focused research or an individual home
- Home/Research Sub-node - the matrix of connected devices under the mesh gateway - enables VoIP phone service, WIFI, and individual home LANs.
The program is comprised of an app within the intranet system. The app has three kinds of players; local forest residents, eco-tourists, and researchers, with researchers being the key mediator between the others. Researchers would be able to input, monitor and analyze content from the forest - species diversity, migration patterns, etc. and relay that content to the other users. Residents of the forest might utilize the app to monitor their territory for intrusions, illegal logging activity, or to respond to emergencies. Eco-tourists who find themselves in the forest can similarly log and track their movement and interaction with other species - all of these features are contained within the interface of the app.
Over-Under challenges the typical understanding of a public bench by turning inward.
Not only is additional seating and bike storage created, the orientation of the seating dramatizes the ordinary, the mundane dialogue between the street and the sidewalk, creating new opportunities for connectivity and conversation.
A simple, welded structure made of circular and square steel sections support ten plywood steps, en face, while a translucent, acrylic screen anchors and embraces the whole.
All materials for The Bench were repurposed and recycled after its disassembly.
Render of proposed installation
Elevation and plan
Exploded axonometric of material components
Section + Tensile structure
Number of components needed for construction
Location: Rome, Italy
Cornell University studio led by Andrea Simitch
Located above the pre-existing railway ring in Rome, the Zipper is a city within a city; a self-sufficient microcosm that supports varying speeds of living for the locals. There is an urgent need for a new kind of city: one that is strong enough to let go of its civilization’s past - that celebrates the rituals of the now.
The inhabitable grid, held up by two circulation walls, has urban farming and private housing plugged into it, whilst leaving some slots void for light and ventilation conditions.
The citizens no longer feel the need to cling to the past, as the new city zips together the periphery and city center, allowing the cultivation of new rituals and interactions that would eventually leak beyond the walls and transform the rest of the Rome altogether.
Cornell University studio Water Cities II led by Kunlé Adeyemi + Suzanne Lettieri
Lagos, the economic and industrial hub of Nigeria with a population exceeding 20 million inhabitants, is severely affected by climate and ecosystem changes. The city is experiencing rapid industrialization at an unsustainable rate that is creating a deficit of formal infrastructure and igniting dangerous environmental impacts. With the lagoon water contaminated by fecal and organic waste, regular heavy flooding, and no sewage or drainage infrastructures implemented in the city, only 60% of Lagosians have access to potable water sources and 99% are not connected to a formal sewage system.
This floating rainwater harvesting system - located in Makoko, a predominantly water-based community in the city - uses existing infrastructures to collect, filter, store, and re-distribute potable water. The water is collected from the roofs with gutters, connected to a piping system which brings water to a filtration zone.
At an urban scale, one water filter provides potable water 137 people, allowing for maximum effect in community betterment with a minimally invasive intervention. The plug-in water filters are located in void-like plaza conditions in Makoko, a predominantly water-based community in Lagos. The orientation of the base varies according to household configurations, providing a congestion-free zone of activity.
In collaboration with Anders Izumi Evenson, Liam Martin, Timothee Ryan
- UPDATED DRAWINGS COMING SOON -
Within the world’s largest metropolis, the need for an efficient and respectful cemetery typology is severe. This vertical cemetery reaches downward, accommodating the deceased with efficacy and privacy.
Using the retrieved earth, a liminal mass is formed around the buried columbarium, softening the noise of trains and itinerants above, whilst dipping toward primary circulations to invite visitors inside.
Remains are stored in funerary pins – thin, horizontal rods inscribed with the names of the dead, embedded in the walls of the columbarium. Up to 100,000 pins reside in the necropolis below, accessible via five visitation rooms descending from its surface.
Elevation and columbarium section
Elevator pods in the midst of sound-isolating topographies
Visitation room + elevation pod detail
Five pods for varying sized groups operated by a hydraulic elevation. A key card activates a robotic arm which retrieves a respective funerary pin at will.
Composed of upcycled oil barrels from Dutch refineries, Sprouts is a floating structure located in a central pond in Vondelpark. As spring arrives and flowers begin to bloom, visitors are invited to stride onto the pavilion, where a variety of flowers, grasses and small shrubs create a soft, labyrinthian experience for a walk, a spot to contemplate or listen to music, or a place for a picnic with friends. Inspired by houseboats in the Amsterdam Canals, Sprouts extends the usable square footage of the park by placing the pavilion on water, dissolving the boundaries between the natural and built environment. The pavilion is modular, flexible, and adaptable to other environments. Disused oil barrels are given a new life outside their industrial origin and are assembled on the water, creating a platform that provides buoyancy for the pavilion, and carry the Dutch tradition of occupying and coexisting with water to a new expression.
ASAKUSA CULTURE & TOURISM CENTER
Location: Asakusa, Japan
Cornell University Structures II
In collaboration with Evan Rawn
Structural model of the Asakusa Culture + Tourism Center by Kengo Kuma
The model includes: 554 scale wooden I-beams, 729 laser-cut wooden louvers, 8 water-jet cut steel sheets, and a CNC milled walnut base.
Cornell University Independent Study with George Hascup
In collaboration with Lucia Marquez + Laura Stargala
Location: London, UK
In collaboration with Liam Martin
A London apartment is de-compartmentalized with a corridor kitchen and brightened with new finishes and fixtures.
The new kitchen is created by the removal of an East-facing wall, and the truncation of the adjacent WC near the entry stair. Finishes throughout the apartment are replaced with simpler, minimal surfaces and a new, polished parquet floor.
Los Angeles is a city of vibrations. Through its many cultures and expressions, there is always a sense of movement. The entertainment and sense of play trickles from the studios and stadiums, to the coastline and highways that weave through its diverse neighborhoods, each with their own identity. It is in its many gestures that we see Los Angeles not as a flat system of gentrified grids, but rather a movement of intersections and confluences. Vibrations is derived from the convergence of the varying topographies in LA.
Project: FAO Poster (left)
In collaboration with: Lucia Marquez, Liam Martin, Timothée Ryan
Poster/Tri-fold leaflet for Cornell University Architecture studio trip to Amazonia, Brazil. The cover is a topological map of the forest canopy density and discontinuity in the Tapajós. The other side of the poster contains information such as local maps and itineraries. The poster folds into a 4” x 4” square, making it convenient to carry around during the field trip.
UAE Venice Pavillion at the Venice Biennale Poster (below)
In collaboration with: Lucia Marquez, Liam Martin
Poster completed for the 2017 United Arab Emirates (UAE) Pavilion for the exhibition Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play. The poster illustrates the informal spaces of ‘play’ in six neighbourhoods in Dubai, highlighting the various elements that are used to facilitate gameplay through specific body movements.
Project: Ithaca Welcomes Refugees Transportation Pamphlet (below, final image)
Pamphlet for Transportation Tips for incoming refugees in Ithaca, NY
Photos taken during Cornell in Rome Photography course
Entry for Bees Breeders competition, Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion, 2016
In collaboration with Liam Martin
This competition followed the Charlie Hebdo shooting, which sparked a global debate on how the parameters of free speech ought to be defined.
P² is a portable pavilion which can be easily moved to accommodate the cultural milieu of any city, but will begin in Paris as a prototype monument. It will occupy a total of six prominent cultural sites for two weeks at a time, between the months of June and August.
The pavilion is composed of a forest of vertical plotting-columns that continuously print and feed recycled paper from one column to another, eventually enclosing and forming a public space.
Users of P² can send images and articles they wish to see printed to a cloud-based feed. Slim rolls of paper infill the columns, providing a limited stream of paper to be slowly printed during the day. The paper will also serve as canvases for visitors to express themselves with various art supplies provided. As the paper accumulates, it is compressed and recycled into bricks by users, which are then used in the following site for enclosure and seating. By creating a minimal structural system, the papers scrolls will overpower and eventually consume the entirety of the space.
Our intent is to globalize a new form of a historical document. With the invitation for collaboration in this archive, we ask the users to express their sentiments in tangible written or artistic form. Such an archive could later form a larger exhibition for testimonial collection of free expression. In the temporality of this pavilion, the record will be of the present rather than a retrospective. By celebrating free speech and democratizing the process of documentation, we educate and begin to regain the progressive momentum of universalizing free speech.
6 chosen sites in Paris
Gare Paris St-Lazare, Le Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Le Grande Mosquée de Paris, La Synagogue Darke Haim, 500m from 50+ embassies, Le Square du Bataclan
Pavilion expanding in plan
Pavilion expanding in elevation
Gare Paris St-Lazare
Gare Paris St-Lazare
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
Grande Mosquée de Paris
Grande Mosquée de Paris
Synagogue Darke Haim
La Synagogue Darke Haim
Bois de Boulogne - 500m from 50 + embassies
Bois de Boulogne - 500m from 50 + embassies
Square du Bataclan
Square du Bataclan
Location: Berlin, Germany
In collaboration with Liam Martin. Renders by Liam Martin.
A conceptual installation of a fiber-optic relief of Berlin becomes an analytic tool for designers and citizens alike to aid in the understanding of how immigrants and asylum seekers were critical to the formation and later influence of the human and built environment in Berlin.
The transformation of Berlin appears as a gradually expanding constellation above. Nodes within the city become more or less distinct over the city’s condensed 2000-year history as the movement of people into the city fills space.
The geopolitical climate in which architects now intervene demands that immigration and refugee strongholds such as Berlin be deconstructed and showcased from their inception; proving the promise and viability of openness, acceptance, and empathy.
The variety of data that can be projected is infinite, and this medium can be utilised for any European city, cultivating interventions to combat xenophobia in the city.
Entry for Innosite competition, Community Space, June 2015.
In collaboration with I-San Hseuh and Liam Martin
Whirlbarrels envisions a flexible and community-driven area that maximises the capacity of the urban space and creates an open platform for interaction and activity.
Two perforated pavilions comprise the primary space, varying in size for either large gathering spaces or more intimate program. The pavilions are equipped with pivoting semi opaque plexiglas panels, which open or close off of inhabitable nooks depending on the weather outside.
Numerous tables and chairs compose the space surrounding the pavilions, forming a dynamic public space for students, professors, children, employees, visitors, and residents.