How can cultural heritage remain relevant within a globalised society?

Front view of the suspended self-structuring tapestry at the Amman Design Week’s Ras Al Ain Hangar Exhibition, 2019. Photography: Courtesy of Amman Design Week & © Edmund Sumner, 2019

Meeting Points, 2019

an ongoing development of reconfigurable material systems, a call for collaboration towards new models for communal well-being.

The Bedouin Tent or Beit-al-Shaar has been the subject of much reverence for its beauty and for the poetry of its construction; a process that has evolved through a continuing heritage and activity of women, to whom the construction and erection of these structures has been traditionally tasked. Yet the legacies of its cumulative and communal design ingenuity continue to be disregarded within the contemporary canon of design knowledge in Jordan, and are instead marginalized as architectures without architects. A product of a humanized process, the Bedouin Tent is a responsive archetype and performative architecture which should be asserted as a composite material structural design, and attributed to the lineage of Women who have communally and intuitively engineered it. 

Women push their bodies through fatigue and pain as they process goat hair into yarn. Photography: © Abeer Seikaly, 2019

How can we revive traditional knowledge systems to innovate new material technologies?

Through each connection, each meeting point intuitively felt by those anonymous weaving hands evolved my own tensility and equilibrium of wood and fiber. A prototype that is self-structuring, both at the scale of its dynamic lattice structure and the pliable hand-knitted geometric pattern which lends it additional mechanical properties. The collaborative and cumulative quality of the Bedouin Tent becomes a significant drive for Meeting Points to establish an understanding of architecture as a process rather than a purely material outcome; the formulation of an adaptable creative-cultural form that explores the meeting points between material and structure, between nature and designed space, and between designer and community.

A communal effort of 58 Rural and Bedouin community members from various governorates across the Kingdom (40 of which were women), this first iteration has already helped foster new opportunities for individuals to contribute to and benefit from the social, cultural and economic development within their respective communities.
Photography: © Tanya Marar, 2019
The pre-stressed panels form hexagonal unit cells. The matrix creates a stable self-structuring material system. Photography: © Abeer Seikaly, 2019

The three dimensional lattice membrane structure creates varried patterns and tessellations as one moves around it. 
Photography: © David Walters, 2019
This structural and spatial exploration is an interplay of materials, construction techniques, and delicate and precise design processes.

Meeting points, as an ongoing communal architecture program aims to become a flagship for how architecture and design processes can act as instruments for social change. It is an imperative response and space for collaboration with a lineage of invisible architects, only made possible through a new consciousness attributed to not only what we design and build, but how we choose to design and build.