From Home to an Institution

After designing a childhood home for my family, we moved forward by approximately ten years. My siblings and I have left home and my parents are currently the only occupants of the house. It is now necessary to convert the building on the ground floor into a public institution as the house is getting too big for just my parents.
I thought about the different possible institutions that would suit my neighbourhood in Sharjah. I was not able to come up with anything at first because when I thought about something, I would recall that an institution was already present in my neighbourhood, such as a restaurant or a cultural centre. I remembered that the one thing missing from my neighbourhood was a library. I loved reading when I was younger but the nearest public library was too far for me to walk to. Hence, I decided to choose a library as my institution. The space was designed primarily for students who’d rather study and read at a library by themselves or with their friends than at home. 

Initially, I had a small cafe and a children’s section on the ground floor. The house and library did not have separate entrances at this stage. The top floor was the main library space. In the next iteration I decided to dedicate the entire ground floor to the cafe and not have the children’s space. The house and library now have different entrances with the entrance to the house being away from the road and hidden. I allowed the dining space in the cafe to open to the outside. 

Since residential areas in Sharjah exhibit an extreme lack of vegetation, I aimed at adding lots of it so it seems appealing while contrasting with the dull atmosphere of my neighbourhood in Al Qasimia. I decided to plant Sidr trees (which is native to UAE) along the side that was not as protected by buildings as the other sides are.  The library is on the +3.0lvl and there are courtyards on this level. 

While my first iterations had a flat roof, the restriction of not having more than 30% flat roof made me change it to three vaults. This time the roof cannot be accessed, but I want to try and make it accessible in the next iterations.  

The first two iterations were represented as an exploded axonometric model and orthographic drawings.

The latest iteration was represented as a 1:75 model made out of cardboard. The process is something I really enjoy but after every model I am left with a bitter taste of regret as I feel I could have made my model a lot better.

A form model showing the institution and its  immediate context at the scale of 1:200 was also made. While I theoretically knew that the residential buildings neighbouring my institution ranged from 12-24 floors, I did not realise how small my institution would look like when placed near them till I made the form model. Before putting the residential buildings and the institution together on an A4 sized cardboard, I had to recheck if I had taken the right measurements because I was extremely sure I had miscalculated somewhere. After completing the form model, I was able to see how different my institution would look from the giant masses of buildings all around it. To be honest, I found it quite adorable. 

On the completion of my model, I had to review my peers’ works. I started with Eyals. I felt that her 1:75 model was good, but her form model could be improved. I failed to get a sense of the neighbourhood and was not able to spot the institution at first glance. Maybe using a different material for the institution would help. I felt that in both models she could have shown the vegetation better as they seem very flat at this point. 

Next, I reviewed Simran’s work. Her form model looked pretty good at first sight because I was able to understand which part was the road, pavement, etc., although the institution itself was missing. 

Both Simran and Eyal could have added human figures in their models to give a better understanding of scale and a sense of inhabitation.

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