Tutors: Nasser Golzari and Yara Sharif
Nasser Golzari and Yara Sharif are award-winning architects and academics with an interest in design as a means to create resilient communities. Combining research with design, their work runs parallel between their architectural practice, NG Architects, their research team, PART, and their Design Studio, DS22, at the University of Westminster. Golzari and Sharif have won a number of prestigious awards including the 2013 Agha Khan Award, 2014 Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction, and 2013 & 2016 RIBA President’s Award for Research.
The way they run the studio is very similar to how they run the practice, with a combination of design, drawings, testing and making.
Revealing the Wonders of the Walled Garden
In DS22, we continue our interest in social and environmental ecology and in decolonising the landscape – physically and culturally – to draw attention to invisible communities whose voice is left unheard.
This year, DS22 interrogated the notion of the Walled Garden as a symbolic space for collective acts with its social and environmental wonders.The students explored different architectural prototypes for the garden, focusing their attentions at the coastal edges of the Mediterranean.
Using a hybrid of drawings and conceptual models, the students ‘undressed’ and ‘reassembled’ the landscape to expose its hidden potentials. The garden was then proposed in its different forms to offer a space of care, production, collective act and experimentation.
The projects this year varied in their scope and location. The Mediterranean coastal cities with their charm and contradictions formed the basis of our investigation. The projects covered Napoli, Alexandria, Jaffa/Tel Aviv, Beirut and also looking at Przemysl/Poland and Gherdeal/ Transylvania.
All projects offered a social commentary on environmental, social and political inequalities. While celebrating the wonders of the unfamiliar, the garden became a tool to combine technical innovation with poetic narration. Tomatoes Mafia, Women’s Paradise, A Room of Her Own, Suspended Landscape, an Underwater Garden, reclaiming archaeological remains and Cultivating Architecture are some of the themes explored by the students while blurring boundaries between the scale of the city and the scale of the room.