Creating a place of contemplation for visitors, the installation reinterpreted the iconic wind towers (Barjeel) of Dubai through geometric abstraction, the use of readily available materials and its performative environmental qualities.

In the predominantly horizontal native landscape of the Gulf, the verticality of the traditional wind towers of Dubai (Barjeel) can be considered as an architectural characteristic that finely meanders the dichotomy between pure functionality and pure symbolism. With first examples dating back to 3100 BC, the wind tower emerged through the necessity of funnelling cool high winds to and exhausting hot air from, urban habitations.

Over time, it became a highly prominent feature of the urban landscape, much more articulate and symbolic in its expression. As a result, the Barjeel was simultaneously an artefact of the attempt to create a sustainable coexistence with one’s natural habitat and the aspiration to surpass its limitations through symbolic meaning.

Through its geometric abstraction, use of readily available materials, and performative environmental qualities, Barjeel sought to exploit the rich spatial qualities of the vernacular typology while making tangible its performative relationship to natural elements on a personal scale. As such, in response to contemporary urban form-making, largely generated through the characteristic of verticality, the installation aimed to offer a standpoint where architecture can be considered neither as mere utility nor pure ornament, but as a synthesis that has the potential to instrumentalize both.

About MAS Architecture Studio

MAS is an architecture and design practice based in Istanbul. Through an iterative, concept-driven approach, the studio engages in projects of various scales and media ranging from custom-made furniture design to large-scale urban transformations. Guided by the specific needs and desires of each project, the studio works with an open design process that explores new spatial potentials, and hold a firm commitment to translating those ideas into reality. Kerim Miskavi is the founder and design lead of MAS. Kerim received his education from Rice University in Houston and gained over 5 years of professional experience at award-winning international architecture offices such as SO-IL and Mitchell|Giurgola Architects in New York, USA and Herzog & De Meuron in Basel, Switzerland. Kerim’s work as a part of SO-IL has been exhibited in the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum Triennale (2015) and published by the New York Times (2015).