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Extreme + Connective Hub; Guyana

Part 1 Project 2010
Marwan Elkhashab
Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport - Cairo Campus | Egypt
Kaieteur Falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world; distinct by its unique combination of great height and larges water volume. Known as the “largest single drop” waterfall, it lies on Potaro River and crosses the Amazon rainforests in Central Guyana.
The main objective of the project was to create a connective hub in this extreme environment to allow scholars and researchers a unique and safe on-site facility to help their scientific investigations in the area. In turn, this would facilitate delivering information regarding this haven to the whole world and offer a condensed, thorough look on various aspects relating to the location both historical and scientific; an opportunity any visitor could not have grasped if they had wondering upon this location on their own.
In the first phase, the main goal was to discover features of the environment, investigating various spatial aspects that could be represented in a dynamic, architectural concept.
This concept celebrates the environmental system, constituting of the waterfall and its surrounding Amazonian evergreen forests. As a candidate of one of the new seven wonders of nature, Kaieteur Falls encompasses more than half of the rainforests in the world and is the most species-rich of its kind, thereby acting as a generator for 20% of the earth’s oxygen and a carbon sink for more than 10% of carbon in ecosystems.
Acting as a battery for planet earth, charged by sustainability and integration of its biodiversity, it was targeted to illustrate the environment through integration and exposure of interior spaces that exhibit a unique perspective of this dynamic natural world. In parallel, it was necessary to maximize the functionality of a productive workplace, guaranteeing durability in such a resilient location and increase global awareness on the importance of this region.
The structure consists of research facilities including labs and archives, a communication center with broadcasting studios and an exposition that is meant to communicate knowledge about the surrounding environment to its visitors.

Marwan Elkhashab

Hypothetically, an environmentally active, international institute wants to build a connective hub in one of the extreme environments on earth. Here, students have the opportunity to ascend human environmental awareness.
Divergent approaches and scenarios that students adapt to attain this goal are achieved through choosing locations on earth that will best serve the concept. Distinctive features of the proposed site help students achieve their design statement. The design proposes a distinguished visual scenario for outdoor and indoor spaces and a distinctive special experience.
An off-grid building has its challenges regarding energy, power, water and waste. These issues are subdued but not neglected (maximizing benefits of the inside-out design approach), and will be dealt with comprehensively in the next design course.
Main components:
o The Exposition spaces introduce visitors to all aspects of the environment and anthropology.
o The Research Center spaces are laboratories and scholar’s accommodation.
o The Communication spaces allow visitors and residents to interact and communicate with the world.

In the process of developing the project, students’ experience, visualize, perceive and learn to create different types of spaces, gaining deep understanding of their relationship. The exercise introduces a unique technique using physical model and photomontage method, challenging students to design from the inside-out. Students design the attained special experience, then building form, with appreciation to the visual experience whilst learning that architectural space is a tool in materializing environmental/human issues, whilst housing it expressively and undyingly. Furthermore, students learn ergonomics/human factors and how our environment conforms to needs, dimensions and dynamic range in spaces.
Marwan Elkhashab chooses Kaieteur Falls to locate his project. The exquisite environment drove him to develop his structure that merges unwittingly within the Amazon Forest. Marawan’s ability to create a series of spaces that takes the visitor through a journey introducing nature, anthropology and organic life is outstanding. His ability to express his ideas through presentation and verbal communication was an asset to the final delivery of this unique project.

Dr Ayman Wanas
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