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Weaving Architecture

Part 1 Project 2014
Reema Abu Hassan
American University of Sharjah, UAE
There are many things that have become a part of our everyday lives, things that we don’t appreciate or ever take a second glance at. Despite the hard work and intricacy which goes into weaving an item, we seem to take it for granted.

Weaving is one of the most widespread and traditional crafts in the world. It has been employed to create shelters, baskets, containers and so much more. It has been practiced for thousands of years, and the wide variation of weaving is remarkable.

We were given the site and asked to design a workshop and a gallery for a chair designer in the densely woven, historical fabric of Sharjah’s heritage area, in the United Arab Emirates. I decided to explore the structural possibilities of weaving due to its relativity to the context. The UAE’s historical weaving traditions have been present for thousands of years. Locals employed the ancient craft to create many different items which they would use throughout their daily lives, particularly to store food, such as dates.

I employed the weaving throughout the project in order to create a spatial experience of ambient light and shadow. The different densities and tightness of the weave allowed for a change in the amount of light which enters the space, as well as the visibility through the surfaces, but throughout my explorations, I came across the problem of creating enclosure. The solution I found was to apply concrete onto a tightly woven surface, thus using the weaving as formwork which does not need to be disposed of. It becomes an integrated part of the architecture, rather than part of the process of creating the architecture.

As for the structure, three layers of beams, each layer going in a certain direction, are used. The woven surfaces are inserted between the top and second layer in order to shade the glass, which is placed between the two bottom layers.

Thus, the aim of this project was to explore the spatial and structural possibilities of weaving to create a novel yet regionally specific architectural condition.

Reema Abu Hassan

Faysal Tabbarah
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