MEAN designed a 3D printed pavilion for welcoming visitors into the desert of Wadi Rum, south of Jordan.
Space serves as an oasis of rest and communal gathering. Drawn to its otherworldly beauty, The desert of Wadi Rum in the south of Jordan attracts visitors from all over the globe. The topography of Wadi Rum closely resembles that of Mars. This serene desert landscape had been a stage for many space-age movies such as ‘The Martian (2015)’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)’ and ‘The Last Days on Mars’.
Inspired by the ingenuity of the mobile architecture of the local Bedouins, the team was inclined to simulate a tent-form using the ‘Mesh Relaxation’ parametric strategy, which generates a digital Catenary mesh geometry, in equilibrium. By grounding the tent form as a ‘diagram of forces’ emitting various ‘charges’ that correspond to seating areas, the team looked at the phenomena of magnetic fields to unify those charges. We used the patterns emerging from the interaction of one space to another, to develop the floor plan of the pavilion. The physical phenomena of the magnetic force patterns between several nodes represent an opportunity for an interesting planning strategy.
A stepping topography of 3D printed concrete platform creates a transition from the sandy site to the interior. The mesh is anchored towards the periphery of the stepped platform, creating welcoming archways for entries. At night, linear lighting fixtures that are aligned along the force field patterns, create gentle ambient lighting within the interior.
The Desert Pavilion is the outcome of combining ideas from the site with current building technologies. The structure is designed to form a space of shade from the heat of the desert during the day, and a place of celebration, storytelling and rest at night. It serves as a welcoming hospitable shelter for today and a case study for inhabiting the arid landscapes of Mars in the future.