Tradition + Identity


Director: Omid Kamvari

Tutor: Kasper Ax

Students: Roshanak Ghezelbash, Navid Shockravi, Ronak Roshan, Romina Aghande, Anahita Dehlavi, Kiana Mousavi,

The studio will base its research around continuous materials and invent design opportunities on the boundary between liquid and solid. The notion of continuous materials is certainly not a new phenomenon in construction. We know that, where other ancient building methods, such as the Greek temple, were utilizing processes of carving, i.e. subtraction from existing material to create practical building components, parts of the regional heritage of Iran is highly depending on the chemical processes that happen when a material goes from a state of liquid to a state of solid- as in the compression and solidification of moulded mud turning into bricks and adobes. However, with more recent technological additions and advances available for the building industry, such as programmable 3D printing and robotic arms, our conception of continuous materials must be tested, challenged and pushed to the extreme.

Our material systems will consist of two main parts which we will develop in parallel: The primary material which may be a mixed, liquid substance with the ability to solidify. And the form-work that enables the primary material to obtain a spatial versatile configuration. We will test and develop our material systems and their capabilities with the ambition of going far beyond conventional casting methods. We will establish alternative ideas of mixing and connecting materials and textures through emulsions, adherings, temperature changes, aggregations, conjugations, hybrids, pigmentations etc. The intention will be to obtain material properties that match the sophistication of the regional heritage, but with the ability to responds to actual, current and future requirements such as structure, environment, function, circulation, porosity, atmospherics etc.
In order to understand the very essence of the regional architecture, its history and heritage, we will turn our attention towards one of its most dominant geometric elements- the dome. Not for the sake of reproducing or imitating it, rather to examine it and understand the centuries of knowledge embedded within it. We will break it into fragments to discover any logic that reveals itself in traditional patterns, textures, structures and architectural elements in order to enable new ideas for spatiality.

When traditional architectural layouts were often based on pure forms, symmetry and stability they suggested organizational principles and inhabitation that was subordinate to these- on the urban as well as the building scale. For our final proposals we will analyse existing urban patterns and respond to them critically, in order to contextualize our designs by inserting them and making them functional in the public domain. Each group will identify and analyse an existing site fully accessible by the public with the aim of transforming it into an enhanced, contemporary version of itself. This will be done mainly by re-strategizing the circulation paths on and around the chosen site and thereby activating their design on 1:1 scale.








Director: Omid Kamvari

Tutor: Riyad Joucka

Students : Amir Keshavarazian, Anna Hajishahmohamadi, Bahar Vakili, Elmira Abbasi, Hanif Haghtalab, Korush Mohammadi, Negin Imani

This unit will investigate the use of composite shells as means to facilitate the construction of complex fractal tessellations found in traditional Persian architecture. We will take a radical approach to materiality, reimagining modes of production, to generate a novel vernacular. The outcomes will aspire to speak for the ambitions of the young generation for global recognition, where tradition and identity are at the backdrop of rigorous scientific architectural experimentation, allowing for unprecedented forms to emerge.

The core of the process will investigate the hybridization of tensile structural systems with compressive materials as a method for developing building blocks of spatial fractal tessellations. The unit will look at designing formwork framing systems, processes and material layers, in combination with digital methods for simulation and fabrication. The designer becomes the assembler in order to achieve the intricacy and finesse of traditional craftsmanship while allowing for with the lightness and efficiency of contemporary fabrication practice to play a role in the process.

Starting with digital geometry simulations, we will constantly alternate between quantative digital models, which will be full of useful data, to enable us to rationalize the complex geometries of our precedents. Students will learn to combine their understanding of geometry with qualitative physical tests, to refine the outcome utilising digital fabrication to produce reusable tensioning apparatus. Digital simulation processes will then act as a means to re-inform these qualitative physical processes. This method will operate in feedback, constantly adapting to new discoveries noted by our team members.We will look at fabric formwork as means to facilitate casting doubly curved surfaces with minimum material waste. We will work with exerting forces onto our material to shape it: through stretching, pushing and pulling to form our cast blocks, amalgamating form and formwork. The team will operate subsequently to test several approaches. Iterating between these to present an evolutionary process, ending with the fittest formal result as a design-base.

The outcomes will respond to the workshop’s theme of ‘Tradition and Identity’ by proposing an installation that computes simple geometry as the building block to three-dimensional physical complexity. Our team will design the process as well as a shell at full scale. Our shell will inhibit the public domain as a free-standing, doubly curved surface.
The function of our intervention will be informed by the results of the tests carried out during the workshop. Primarily, our intervention will aim to encourage public interaction and intellectual stimulation, through challenging recognizable traditional geometries into the contemporary design practice.



The Third Place-Urban Machines


Tutor: Sara Sheikh Akbari

Director: Omid Kamvari

The lack of culturally and socially appropriate urban space has meant that it no longer caries the same value as before. Images of square and open plazas where people congregated to socialize, exchange ideas and trade have almost all disappeared from the current city scape, leading to empty and soulless urban spaces.

This year we will be returning to examine the quality of public spaces. Students will be encouraged to engage with the city to understand real constraints and needs which will be documented and analysed using a range of tools, such as drawings, diagrams, mapping, video and photographs.

We will further explore the notion of Machines, as devices capable of improving the quality of spaces through adaptable material system investigations and will study material behaviour and use this as means of exploring systematic advantages which will allow us to augment, challenge and create better environments for occupation within the public realm.

This studio will concentrate on the systematic exploration, production and assembly logics of components; through the assumption that the intelligence of the smallest unit contributes to the intelligence of the overall system. The concept of component in design and production has historically related to material constraints of a region and its social and environmental conditions; we will explore this notion in parallel to our systems in order to create component systems related to local craft and material intelligence.

The objective is to build a large scale architectural prototype responding to specific site conditions.
By looking into issues such as scale, structure, geometry, connectivity and though the implementation of simple analougue design approach, rules and low-tech assemblage techniques the gap between design conception and realisation is blurred. The studio seeks to push the boundaries beyond what has already been achieved with component systems, which may result in hybrid systems being created, where advantages from one could be combined with another.



Tutor: Carles Sala

Director: Omid Kamvari

The studio will explore the basic properties of elastoplasticity embedded in materials. The students will push the materials to the extreme, in order to understand material limits and at the point at which materials cease being elastic and start plasticizing.
Understanding this limitation will allow us to take advantage to this and behaviour at each stage.

By staying within the elastic limits, the materials offer a reversible behaviour, capable of responding to certain conditions over time and returning to their original state. In contrast, once these limits have been passed, materials plasticize and their morphological state is irreversible.

Students will therefore be looking at the materials in regards with elastoplastic properties, intense investigation will allow them to understand and extract logics which will allow them to look at this material behaviour within a systematic design approach.

By introducing geometrical and scale conditions, students will immediately start incorporating behavioural complexity, so as to discover the potential intrinsic properties and performance of their design research. This will open a range of strong opportunities which will be developed in regards to specific site conditions resulting in Urban machines being created. For instance, a specific input may get a spontaneous response from the system (elastic response), which when repeated begins to plasticize and therefor results in a permanent imprint.

Students will start looking at the site to investigate the relationship between the intrinsic properties of the system and its possible extrinsic stimuli, in order to orient their design research towards its users and/or according to its environmental conditions.

Systems will be now be referring to a site, and therefore they will start pursuing a real target by engaging with its users or responding to the environment.
Students will end up developing 1:1 prototypes that encompass the research during the 2 week workshop.














































Unit 01 – ‘Computing the Anatomy of Tehran’

Tutors: Djordje Stojanovic & Milutin Cerovic

Tehran, Iran’s capital will be used as a testing ground within the framework of the design based research into the continually changing anatomy of the present day cities. The problem in Tehran, like in other fast growing cities, is that processes of urban growth are difficult to control and take their toll on the environment through air and water pollution, accompanied with the loss of arable land and public realm. The question raised is what role architecture can play in remedying current situation in the city, and how to help steer change of the built environment which is fueled with the myriad of economic, cultural, social and other influences. This workshop will explore ways to research, understand and control simultaneous and interconnected processes of urban growth which are escaping traditional planning methodology and often developing their own mechanisms of self-regulation.

The study will be based on several key aspects of the changing city-landscape, such as: Traffic, pollution, waste management, water supply, demography, public space and built density. The research will be based on the data available on the internet and information gathered through on site observation. We will begin with the production of schematic drawings to capture causal and parametric relationships between the observed phenomena. We will then proceed with the production of abstract physical models to further develop understanding of the related processes of physical change.

Design experiments will be conducted with an aim to investigate a specific architectural workflow based on the use of prototypical models in structuring and organizing different aspects of the built environment. The departing point of the study is grounded in the historic work of three American based female artists, Gertrude Goldschmidt Gego, Eva Hesse and Mira Schendel, working almost coincidentally on abstract spatial compositions which all demonstrate high degree of spatial adaptability, interconnectedness of the environment and human activities, and the capacity of structural self-regulation. The knowledge acquired will be used to discuss the development of speculative tools for studying and designing highly complex spatial problems through computation.


Aida Montazeran, Anahita Modrek, Marmar Davoodzadeh, Shiva Raissi, Hamideh Rimaz, Hoda Barzegar Ganji, Hirbod Norouzianpour, Navid Niazkar, Mohammad Masih Yarahmadi, Mahan Motamedi, Marjan Mostavi, Rozita Sarraf, Maryam Altaf, Behzad Vossoughi, Masoud Saeedian, Amir Khalili, Asad Delsouz Khaki, Hoda Farazandeh, Melika Banijamali, Mostafa Akbari z, Parnia Foroutan, Nahal Mohtashemi


Unit 02 – ‘Funism – The Future is not all grey’

Tutors: Omid Kamvari & Ashkan Sadeghi

Funism is anything that can inspire joy or playfulness in the lives of others. It’s about trying to make the world a happier place. It’s an ideology. It’s a philosophy. Funism is like alcoholism, except you don’t have to have a hangover when it’s over. It’s cheaper than anti-depressants and has better side effects.

We will be deploying this tactic to create new and better spaces for the city of Tehran.
The Expansion of Sadr highway will give us the best opportunity to seek dead and dilapidated spaces and activate them to bring back into the City.
Our tools will be Humour, Irony, Joy, Memories, Playfullness, exct.

The units activity will be split into 2 weeks, the first week we will attempt to create through simple mean in situ installation which respond to conditions on site, this could be anything ranging from, sunshine, airflow, view, to the way the site is occupied by rubble or rubbish. The aim here is to make a statement about the site and its present conditions.

These installation will serve as the basis for proposal which will challenge the monofunctionality of Infrastructure, we will draw upon 100 of years of experience and some extraordinary proposal to propose changes to the current approach.
The aim as always is to stimulate conversation in regards to such projects.


Sepideh Azin, Ghaflan Abadi, Ramtin Taherian, Amirreza Azadeh, Yalda Amin-Shahidi, Abolhasan Karimi, Amir Pourmohammad, Ladan Firouzbakht Sani, Arghavan Shahrokhi, Narges Rowshanzamir, Roxana Bakhshayesh Karam, Alireza Shojakhani, Yasamin Fathi, Oveis Shahnae, Sara Rashighi, Arash nikfarjam, Aida Sarboland, Negar Mansouri Asl, Raheleh Rahimi, Behrang Khosravi


2011 Exhibition
2011 Lectures


2010 Exhibition
2010 Workshops
2010 Student work