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Generative Sandscape: Siwa Oasis New Habitat, Egypt by Hossam Badr / DARS Studio

Hossam Badr
Dessau International Architecture | Anhalt Hochschule
Sina Mostafavi, Manuel Kretzer
Tools used:
Autodesk 3ds Max, V-ray, Rhinoceros 3D, Grasshopper
Project name:
Generative Sandscape: Siwa Oasis New Habitat
Design year:
Siwa Oasis, Egypt
Built area:
25,000 m²
Site area:
400,000 m²
Unbuilt thesis graduation project
Hospitality, Health
DARS Studio [Design, Architectural Robotics & Systems]: The research discusses building new communities in the desert. Siwa Oasis in Egypt was selected as the project location because of its historical background and how the Siwa inhabitants adapted with the desert using local material to build efficient architecture. Building in the desert has many challenges (environmental, physical, and philosophical). As the main cause for desertification is sand shifting, the research focuses on studying the behaviour of sand shifting to use it as the potential for building with sand as a building material.

Video editing credits:  Ahmed Hesham

The design approach is to learn from the process through which nature is formed through millions of years by studying the cycle of erosion and sand shifting. The research has gone through many phases of study, simulation and generative design experiments on many levels, starting from urban through architecture to fabrication and materialization.

Siwa Oasis desert in Egypt Render by Mohamed Mansour        

During the research part and while defining the challenges that the Egyptian government faces in building new communities in the desert -as arid areas- the focus was to learn from nature and to generate the solution out of the problem, by studying the cycle of sand solidification and erosion. The procedure involved learning from Siwian people traditional building techniques and material usage to build efficient architecture in the desert.

a futuristic building in desert Render by Mohamed Mansour        

The urban studies on the selected site addressed the possibilities of new urban growth in Siwa. The study introduced the “Sand Travel Diagram STD” which records the movement of sand particles under the effect of wind and gravity through time intervals. The STD was applied on three topography alternatives and the result was analyzed to get to understand how the sand movement reacts to that difference.

weird architecture building Render by Mohamed Mansour        

The design proposal involved dividing the proposed site in two zones taking in consideration the results from the ‘STD’, and drainage water simulations. The first zone is composed of sand rock hills and the second one contains the sand dunes.

-For sand rock hills (zone 1), the generative design process used ‘STD’ and drainage water simulations to simulate the effect of erosion (happening on the micro level in rocks) which is then applied on the urban fabric of zone 1.

-For sand dunes (zone 2), generative design process used ‘STD’ and sand dune field simulator to define the site boundaries and as an input for the structural analysis for the building.

underground building Render by Mohamed Mansour      

organic architecture forms of interior Render by Mohamed Mansour   

Generative Sandscape: Siwa Oasis New Habitat, Egypt by Hossam Badr / DARS Studio     Render by Mohamed Mansour         

3d model of the building Image © Hossam Badr  

architectural model Image © Hossam Badr   

3d printed architecture model Image © Hossam Badr   

maquette Image © Hossam Badr   

architecture model Image © Hossam Badr   

3d printer machine Image © Hossam Badr   

3d printing robot Image © Hossam Badr    

Ground Floor Plan Ground Floor Plan 

First Floor Plan First Floor Plan 

Second Floor Plan Second Floor Plan 

Exploded Axonometric DRAWING Exploded Axonometric 

Section A-ASection A-A

Section B-B drawing Section B-B

architecture section drawing Section B-B

Top view drawing Top View

Generative Process Diagram Generative Process

architecture diagram Diagram 

Design Process diagramDesign Process 

Zones Diagram Zones 

Iterative Design ProcessIterative Design Process

Siwa Site Siwa Site 

Siwa Urban Growth Siwa Urban Growth 

Erosion vs Solidification Erosion vs Solidification 

Sand Life Cycle Sand Life Cycle  

The invisible flight patterns of birds The invisible flight patterns of birds 

Sand Travel Diagram Sand Travel Diagram 

Sand Travel Diagram Sand Travel Diagram 

Sand Travel Diagram Sand Travel Diagram 

Connect with the DARS Studio [Design, Architectural Robotics & Systems]

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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