This is my first project in architecture school: Modular Me – Hookah Bar. The project was focused on the students’ personal ergonomics and each student used measurements to create a space or object that could be put on campus to improve student life.
I wanted to create a space for students to relax and be used everyday of the week as the campus was somewhat dead late at night. With the passing of a smoking ban for the entire city, I decided to create a shelter that could function as a smoking area, while adding a space for broad student interaction. I designed a hookah bar, as smoking from a hookah is a multi-person activity and would add to the student interaction and an increased capacity for socializing. For my concept I looked back to my favorite childhood story: Alice and Wonderland – The Caterpillar. The Caterpillar caused Alice to question, I wanted to create a space that would allow students to do the same. I believe are institutions have focused on memorization and left-brain functioning, while our ability to create and use our right brain has been suppressed. Through the contrasting of object and location (a black glass tube that lights up at night in the middle of a grass field surrounded by typical red brick collegiate buildings) I created a context that would start students down the path of questioning and discovery.
After spending many sleepless nights and then finally catching up on sleep and feeling my brain bounce back (along with reading articles on the correlation between sleep and learning) I was left with what you see, an easily accessible relaxation space.
Were I to rework this project today, I would create a totally different design that is more eco-conscious and mixes better with the university campus instead of creating such a contrast. I would create ripples or waves of grass within the campus’ existing green spaces. These would function not only as a beautifully unique aesthetic addition to the natural environment, but the ripples would provide an adequate ledge for varied postures for students wishing to use the green space from studying to napping. Within these ripples, I would place small sculptures that would be sun capturing devices, providing the areas with solar-powered lighting after dark. This project will have to wait for another day.
(photo courtesy of Mahmoud, we’ll start posting flickr albums or something soon)