Dina Haddadin and Rasem Kamal, architects and multidisciplinary visual artists designed the Nomad Pavilion located in the Deserts of Jordan; a fifty square meter pavilion that operates as a shelter and water collecting tower. Inspired by the local Bedouin Tents and geometry that emerges from Black Iris (the national flower of Jordan), the Nomad Pavilion springs as a hybrid sanctuary.
With circular planning, the structure descends from the study of numerous wild plants of Jordan’s environment. The design philosophy behind the fabrication was plain and simple – to create a Bedouin Tent with an unusual perception because it has been amongst the earliest havens that protected individuals from harsh desert circumstances.
The Nomad Pavilion encompasses an intriguing structure that attracts the travellers, simultaneously blending within its environment. According to the architects, the pavilion is a bridge between nature’s architecture and synthetic or man-made elements, designed to provide shade in summers, warmth in winters, and a self-sustained drinking-water supply.
Philosophy and Theories behind the Planning
The form of the pavilion originates from mother nature itself and the visual connectivity, and spatial characteristics stem from the four pillars of Quadrivium or “the universal symbol of creation.” The twelve columns or petals that form the structure reflect the most primitive shapes of formation in nature, i.e., the pyramid. These petals are a manifestation of the “seed of life,” an ancient pattern, known for its geometries, rhythms, and specific numbers.
Here, the pillars replicate at an angle of thirty degrees (30̊) to generate the circular layout. The overlapping of these columns constructs multiple layers, preventing the interiors from overheating. This remarkable phenomenon emerges from the cooling ribs of a wild cactus that acts as a self-shading device of the Jordanian Deserts.
The radial planning formed implements harmony, a balance between the spaces inside and nature outside. Towards the centre of the pavilion, the spatial organization is in the form of an iris. This inclusive flower-like circle is the Oasis of the Nomads Pavilion, representing the elements of nature, namely, fire, water, earth, sky, and light. The overlapped triangular pillars also converge at the top to shape an open to sky orifice, allowing the visitor to establish a relationship between the skies, the earth, and himself.
The skylight above is covered with a dense fibre, preventing air inside to escape during harsh summers and traps rainwater. Concepts entwined with the spatial planning depict a correlation between the architecture, the built environment, and the visitor, formulating a tranquil space for hospitality.
Structure and Materiality of the Nomad Pavilion
Knotted with the use of natural ropes, the Nomad Pavilion embodies 96 Corten steel pipes. The unique combination of Corten steel pipes and natural ropes joining together in triangular units makes the structure durable and flexible in severe climatic conditions such as extreme winds or heavy snowfalls. The Corten steel pipes multiply at points of intersection along the periphery in triangle form because this shape is one of the most stable configurations in nature.
All the triangular columns are held by a central ring when gathered at the top, which adheres to the complete structure in compression. The entwined Corten steel pipes disperse the tension or load towards the submerged-underground base. The pavilion has a concrete-free footing, wherein the pillars are attached to the ground with the help of steel plates and combined with welding. Large stones, along with rammed soil and earth, weigh the steel pipes down, making the structure strengthen from the base.
Natively, the Bedouin tents used goat or camel hair as their covering materials. Correspondingly, the Nomad Pavilion uses uncouthly woven goat hair to envelope the Corten steel pipes. A black surface forms above the layer of knit goat hair, beneficial for shading purposes, and the coarse weaves allow filtered sunlight inside, giving the space a sense of illumination.
To provide a three-dimensional experience to the skin, the architects applied various textile manipulation techniques, such as traditional smocking, local Bedouin patterns, and Islamic geometries. Smocking techniques have a basis on grids of points wherein, two points group together to create a diamond pattern. The diamond pattern generates a passive cooling effect and insulates during precipitation or snowfall. With the application of goat hair as a construction material, the petals act as a living-breathing surface.
Characteristics and Techniques used that follow Sustainability
The structure for the Nomad Pavilion is a paradigm of Sustainability in its rights. The use of locally available material and concepts applied from the study of wild vegetation of the Jordanian Desert help the structure become environmentally resolute. As discussed above, the interlaced goat hair creates a passive cooling effect due to its substantial properties. Let us see how it works.
The heat of the dark-black fabric from the sun causes the hot air to rise above the pavilion, letting the air bound within to flow in the heightened edifice. A cool breeze floats in the interior during the day time because of this phenomenon.
During night time, the substance discharges the gained heat keeping the interiors warm, at a thermally comfortable temperature. During rain or snowfall, the tiny holes of the fabric swell and close, tightening the sewn goatskin material, making it impossible for the water to penetrate.
According to the architects, smocking is a unique technique well-known by the artisans of Jordan. The designers make an intimate cycle of existence because they empower the local community, providing them with a sense of partnership and splendour for the architecture.
Another advancement that makes the Nomad Pavilion environment cautious and sustainable is a self-sustained drinking fountain. It receives water from a collecting cone made from a cloth that has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic attributes. This cone harvests fresh drinking water collected due to rain and fog that then drains down towards the vessel below.
The accumulated drops travel through a set of hollow pipes, connected to an underground water tank. The entire water fountain is raised on a plinth of stone blocks, surrounded by natural stones acting as seating spaces. The same dish also operates as a fire pit, warming the tent during winters.
With this additional feature, the Nomad Pavilion becomes a welcoming oasis, self-preserving at every step. Not only that, but the water fountain also functions as a cooling surface for the hot air circulating within, making the entire structure a wind tower that eventually reduces the temperature within.
A paradigm of geometric forms found in nature; the Nomad Pavilion is indeed a structure that resonates with different elements fusing. The mould, structural apprehensions, and materials used to build the Nomad Pavilion formulate a balance with its natural surroundings, achieving a zero-carbon footprint.
The use of five elements of nature with locally available substances manifests the atmosphere with an opportunity to heal, refurbish, and blend in with the habitat. The Nomad Pavilion is absolutely an example of the symbiotic connection between architecture and the natural environment.