Fall 08

History Theory and Design Practice

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Daniel Gorini

The Cosmopolitan and The Particular : Observations on Inhabitation, Culture, and Building-form at the Aga Khan University Hospital and Medical School in Karachi, Pakistan

Abstract

Physical attributes lie at the core of a true sense of place. These qualities span between universalities of human experience and particularities of culture or environment.

Escaping the uniformity demanded by the global culture of trans-national capital, some projects succeed without resorting to simulations of local reference. In doing so, they establish a reciprocal relationship between the cosmopolitan and the particular. In these projects an understanding of factors held in common (such as daylight and shade, materiality, and tectonic clarity) is woven with sensitivity to specifics of location (such as organization of building-form, access networks, privacy, and inhabitation), thereby achieving the compelling sense of memory and belonging that constitutes a quality of authenticity.

This notion will be presented through an architectural assessment of the Aga Khan University Hospital campus completed in 1985. The project will be placed in a perceived continuum of other works in the region - contemporary, historical, and vernacular: a continuum not of image or style, but of kindred spirits.

Biography

Daniel Gorini is an architect, artist, and photographer. He is currently a Project Architect at Payette in Boston, and is project co-leader for the design of the new Aga Khan University Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Karachi, Pakistan. He also leads on-going planning and design for the existing AKU Hospital and Medical School in Karachi.

Daniel graduated in 1981 from the Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture. He spent the next decade as an artist working and exhibiting in Boston. During this period he was concurrently a designer, furniture maker, and builder. His interest in materials and making, and his fascination with buildings, led him to architecture. In 1994 he graduated from MIT with a Master of Architecture. He has since been working in architecture, planning, and urban design. His focus has been on projects in education and urbanism.

Daniel has travelled extensively with a particular emphasis on cities, including in the Islamic World from North Africa to the Middle East and South Asia. Daniel has recently been awarded a grant to work on a technical and mapping study of the craft industry that decorates buses and lorries in Pakistan.


Adriana de Miranda

Renovation of Syrian Water Wheels in the Orontes Valley

Biography

Adriana de Miranda was born in Italy. She graduated with Masters degrees in Architectural Design from the Politecnico of Milan and in History of Islamic Art and Architecture at the Catholic University of Milan. She received her PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Adriana is an architect and art historian, with a special interest in the history of Mediterranean architecture. She has also worked as Teaching Assistant in "History of Architectural Technics" at the University of Bergamo. Her research   includes environmental and landscape design, indigenous building and design traditions, particularly focusing on Roman and Islamic architectural history. She has published several works on these topics.

Adriana received the Prigogine Lectures special diploma,   the Design & Nature Award, the BRISMES Research Award, the EUROFER European Architects Steel Design prize, the Barakat Trust Travel Grant and the IFPO research grant. She has participated in several conferences in Italy, Spain, Greece, England, Scotland, Syria, Egypt and China. In the last few months she has delivered lectures at the EXPO 2008 which was held in Zaragoza, at the Faculty of Engineering and at the National Museum in Damascus, at the council of Hama and at the Politecnico of Bari.

Adriana has recently published the book Water Architecture in the lands of Syria: the Water-Wheels (L' Erma di Bretschneider, Rome, 2007). It is a study of the water-raising wheels of western Syria from the aspects of sources, terminology, typology, origin, history, technology, architecture and conservation.

Presently she is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. She is working on a project of re-evaluation of the Syrian water-wheels on the Orontes valley in terms of historical and cultural heritage. She is also preparing a selected version of her book which will be translated into Arabic.