The case of Public buildings (New experience approach), Meghdad Sharif

Practical investigation in architecture offices & studios

Design pedagogy & design process with aspect of new user experience With the aim of technological & fiction based model for design

The case of Public buildings (New experience approach)

Researcher: Meghdad Sharif    DEC 2018



As a researcher I'm interested in practical researches that focus on development an intellectual frame work about design process that can sustain a life-long theoretical projects. Think the next generation of design pedagogy comes from the rapid changing of our life, environment and technology, this mood maybe a complex one moving forward in architecture, also we can work on a practical model of design process that based on space exploring and space documenting (in my case I would like to have cinematic-fiction approach to this documenting), generally I want to achieve a useful and functional model for design process in academic and professional studios. The outcome of this research brought about a broader question concerning the design model & tools that  help the designers and planners to empathize with the community for whom they are designing so this space exploring can be role of design in empowering today's undeveloped spaces or even communities.


What i want to do?

My interest, is in research and developing practical topics related to intellectual farme-works, with specific focus on design process with ability to sustain timeless theoretical projects. Having in mind the possibility if a new generation of design pedagogy arising from rapid changing life situations, environment, and technology, this design process could be an elevation force towards a move  forward in architecture. This approach leads us to work on a design process models based on "Space Hndlnq" and "Atmosphere Exploration". In case of this research, I would like to apply a fictional cinematic approach to document the process. My aim is to achieve a practical and imprical model for design process in academic studios and architecture offices.The outcome will bring about a broad range of solutions addressing design models & tools, enabling designers and planners to better empathize with users. The approach of "Space Finding"  can empower the role of design in underdeveloped communities.


For better reading see the chart in next page

rchitecture is spatial & time phenomena. A container for events of life intrinsically connected with human life. During lifespan of a human being, at least once he has been in a basic and simple architectural  environment in which has been impressed by the energy, spirit and aliveness of this environment. From the view point of architects this experience is sometimes sensory and tangible and sometimes intangible and palpable. This experience is because of events which has happened in the past or some happing at the present time. Event is and active phenomena related to active time and active space. (Kwinter, 5:2001) Space responds to events and transforms by events (Bressem 93, 2005) An event expresses itself both as the formation force of space and as a product of space. It has the  description of interaction of environment and its behaviors.

Architecture as applied art is in relation to people's lives and is realized in response to their needs, desires, wishes and dreams. However, the issue of life creation in space is often forgotten in the process of architectural  design, because the elements shaping it are mostly hidden, non-physical and are discussed in various levels and layers. Due to this reason, the purpose of this research seeks to identify effective components information  of events that can act as effective factors in giving life to the lived space, which can be useful in understanding the architectural space as the effective human environment and presents new dimensions of space. The main  question of this research is, what events are considered life-giving events and what are the efficient factors information of them. The results show that there are three levels of life-giving components, entitled:

(1 )Features include dependence on natural process of everyday life and its spatial freedom, diversity,


Chart of Research plan

Research Questions

Architecture as applied art is in relation to people's lives and is realized in response to their needs, desires, wishes and dreams. However, the issue of life creation in space is often forgotten in the process  of architectural design, because the elements shaping it are mostly hidden, non-physical and are discussed in various levels and layers. Due to this reason, the purpose of this research seeks to identify  effective components information of events that can act as effective factors in giving life to the lived space, which can be useful in understanding the architectural space as the effective human environment  and presents new dimensions of space.


The main questions of research listed here :

1.How we can reach to a design process model that based on new spatial experience in architecture spaces  and how with this model of design we can design many kind of experience and many kind of events in public spaces?

2.How we can categorize the atmospheric solutions of spaces and how its improve our design process?

3.which items help space of a building (public buildings) to reach its goal that planned by the architect?

4.How an Architecture can be successful in solving the problems or question of a project (public buildings)?

5.Can we create a platform encyclopedia of atmosphere in spaces with the aim of developing that we can set events in spaces during design process and what events are considered life-giving events and what are the efficient factors in formation of them?

7 .How can the architect make use of the actual physical experience of certain spaces or places and translate that to his/ her own design when designing architecture?

8.Why is learning architecture through physical experience is important?



his research can be categorized as empirical and theoretical research, Experimental design. Since it was hypothesized that the combination of two independent types of stimulus properties would basically  lead to some sort of superimposition, the overall number of effective factors was expected to be a sum of the individual ones. (Russell, 1988)  the idea of design research - based on experiences from this research and the applied research approach; Research-through design. This discussion links design research to a wider philosophy of science, discussing the impetus behind conducting research from an experimental design research perspective.  Research-through-design means to investigate a subject by applying creative design methodology and experimentation to the context and subject matter of study in order to gain knowledge - and, as importantly, to investigate possible futures and potentials of this subject. Design research in this form does not only report on how the world is or have been but inquires into how the world can become. for better reading about methodology of design please see the next chart of methodology ...


Methodology chart


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3. Brandtzceg, P.B., Heim, J., Kaare, B.H. Endestad, T. & Torgersen, L. Gender Differences  and The Digital Divide in Norway- ls there really a Gendered divide? Proc. of The International ConferenceChi/dhoods: Children and Youth in Emerging and Transforming  Societies, Oslo, Norway, 2005
4. Brynskov, M., Christensen, B.G., Ludvigsen, M., Collins, A.-M., Grenbeek, K. (2005)., How  children express their need for Nomadic Play: A case study of participatory design with children,poster presentation Proc. Interaction Design and Children, 2005 
5. Callois, R., Man, Play, and Games, Thames and Hudson, London UK, 1962.
6. Chang, M., Goodman, E. FIASCO: Game Interface for Location-Based Play, Proc. Designing  Interactive Systems 2004, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2004
7. Christensen B. G., Brodersen, C., Grenbzek K., Dindler, C., Sundararajah, B.; Web-based  educational applications: eBag: a ubiquitous Web infrastructure for nomadic learning; Proc. 14thinternational conference on World Wide Web, 2005 
8. Cunningham, J. Children's Humor. In: (26]. 93-109.
9. Digital Street Game: 
10. Garfield, R., Metagames, In Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Essays on Roleplaying, Jolly RogersGames, 2000Morris, J. 5., Frith, C., Perrett, D. t., Rowland, D., Young, A.,  Calder, A. J., & Dolan, R. J. (1996). A differential response in the human amygdala to fearful and happy expressions. Nature, 383, 812-815. 
11. (accessed Dec. 1 5, 2005) 
12. Lindley C. A., Game Taxonomies: A High Level Framework for Game Analysis and Design, Gamasutra feature article, 3 October 2003, .shtml
13.Morris, J. S., Frith, C., Perrett, D. I., Rowland, D., Young, A., Calder, A. J., &  Dolan, R. J. (1996). A differential response in the human amygdala to fearful and happy expressions. Nature, 383, 812-815. 
14.Naredi-Rainer, P. v. (1983). Architektur und Harmonie. Zahl, Ma8 und Proportion in der ebendisndiscben Baukunst. Cologne, Germany: DuMont-Dokumente. 
15.Nasar, J. L. ( 1988b). Perception and evaluation of residential street scenes. In Environmental. aesthetics: Theory, research, and application (pp. 275-289). New York: Cambridge University Press. 
16.0sgood, C., Suci, G., & Tannenbaum, P. (1957). The Measurement of Meaning. Urbana,IL: University of Illinois Press. 
17.0ya, H., Kawasaki, H., Howard, M.A., & Adolphs, R. (2002). Electrophysiological Responses in the Human Amygdala Discriminate Emotion Categories of  Complex Visual Stimul. The Journal of Neuroscience, 22, 9502 - 9512.
18.0ya, H., Kawasaki, H., Howard, M.A., & Adolphs, R. (2002). Electrophysiological Responses in the Human Amygdala Discriminate Emotion Categories of  Complex Visual Stimul. The Journal of Neuroscience, 22, 9502 - 9512.
19.Palladio, A. (1570). I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura [The Four Books of Architecture].  Venice, Italy: Dominico de'Franceschi. Online available at io/qli bri.html. 
20.Environments: What Differences Occur Between Helmet-Mounted and Desk- Top Displays?. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 8(2), 157-168. 
21.Shalloway, A. & Trott, J. R. (2001 ). Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design. Boston, MA: AddisonWesley. 
22.Shannon, C. E. (1948). A mathematical theory of communication. The Bell System Technical Journal, 27, 379-423. 
23.Shibata, S. & Suzuki, N. (2004). Effects of indoor plants on task performance and mood: A comparison between natural and imitated plants. In 8. Martens &  A. G. Keul (Eds.), Evaluation in progress - Strategies for environmental research and implementation (IAPS 18 conference proceedings on CD-ROM). 
25.Wilson, M. A. ( 1996). The socialization of architectural preference. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16(1 ), 33-44.
  26.Wlnslow, C. A. & Herrington, L. P. (1936). The influence of odor upon appetite. American Journal of Hygiene, 23, 143-156. 
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QIZ, Keller Easterling

Keller Easterling is an architect and writer from New York City. Her book, Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005) researches familiar spatial products that have landed in difficult or hyperbolic political situations around the world. A previous book Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America applies network theory to a discussion of American infrastructure and development formats. A forthcoming book, Extrastatecraft, examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Easterling has lectured and published widely in the United States and internationally. She is a professor at Yale University. 


Filmmaker Ursula Biemann has traveled to some of the most extreme and divergent places in the world to discover the same thing.  In Performing the Border, she shot valuable footage of young women employed in Maquiladoras on the US-Mexico border. They are seen going to work on foot or in a bus, carrying lunch boxes, talking and laughing. But for changes in costume, Biemann captures similar images in a segment of her new film, X-Mission titled The Refugee Industrial Complex.  Young Middle Eastern workers wearing jilbab and head scarves are employed in another sort of factory. They talk and laugh as they walk to work or wait for buses. They deftly sew nude colored girdles and racer-back sports bras in fluorescently lit factories that are part of a Qualifying Industrial Zones or QIZ. The zone—Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones or Special Economic Zones among scores of other zone variants—has evolved from a fenced in enclave for warehousing and manufacturing to a primary organ of global urbanism and world city paradigm. In 1934, the US legislated it first zone format, the Foreign Trade Zone, largely as a warehousing district. One of the most wide-spread forms of the zone, like the Export Processing Zone or EPZ, became popular beginning in the 1960s introduced manufacturing and therefore workers into the zone. Designed to operate as manageable economic instruments, or incentivized urbanism of the classic neoliberal cliché, they were promoted by intergovernmental organizations like UNIDO or The World Bank and touted among economists and global financial consultants as one means by which developing countries might enter the global marketplace and attract foreign direct investment. The basic EPZ template prescribes special infrastructures, business incentives like tax exemptions, foreign ownership of property, streamlined customs, cheap labor and relaxed labor or environmental regulations. Since an authority independent from the domestic sovereignty of its host state usually governs the zone enclave, the zone can become a parliament for independent global players. UNIDO as well as other independent business organizations gathered data on early EPZs like Kaohsiung or Shannon, using it to prove  economic efficacy and tutor the rest of the world in zone protocols.

Despite everything learned from EPZs in their first forty years of explosive growth—that they often exploit low-paying, largely female labor, that they often do not lead to technology transfers and often do not contribute to infrastructural assets outside of their discrete enclave—the zone continues to be treated as a durable economic instrument. Indeed, Some of the same experts who invented the zone have declared the zone to be a suboptimal instrument of economic growth, inferior to simple nation-building investment in new technologies and infrastructures.  Yet, in the meantime global business has become addicted to the incentives. Incentivized urbanism has become a permanent desire and a new service industry, of sorts. The independent authority of the zone has been given the freedom to perpetuate itself in global networks within which the zone may be anything from a tiny enclave to a world city on the Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong model.  In face, the zone is the model for most new global cities, and it is even adopted as the template for a doppelganger of the national capital or, indeed, the national capital itself.

In 1996, The United States Congress, once again, legislated a zone instrument, the QIZ, this time for both economic and political dividends. The QIZ can be established between Israel and Jordan or between Israel and Egypt, and they allow products from either Egypt or Jordan to be exported to the United States duty free as long as Israel has contributed a percentage of their value—8% for Israel-Jordan and 11.7% for Israel-Egypt.  Moreover 35% of the entire value of the product must be derived from work in the actual zone in either Egypt or Jordan. Portions of each zone must be in both partnering countries, but they need not be contiguous. Although there are other sectors in play, in most cases the QIZ protocol applies to industries that import fabric from Israel, often at a relatively high price within the global fabric market, and export garments to the United States. Many companies from all over the world might operate in the QIZ, and decide to take advantage of the protocol that allows for duty free access to the United States market. Biemann’s film turns the camera on anthropologist Orub El Abed, who, with only a flicker of restrained judgment, describes the way in which QIZ was created as a “gift” from the United States to Jordan and Israel, rewarding them for making a peace agreement. She explains that in the case of Jordan, the country was anxious to relieve unemployment and rehearse a broader range of technologies and industries. In the end, the most sophisticated technologies used in the manufacturing process remain on the Israeli side of the equation, while the largely unskilled repetitive tasks are out-sourced to Jordan. In 1998, Al-Hassan Industrial Estate in Irbid already established in 1991, was designated as the first QIZ1.

UNIDO and the World Bank originally conceived of the zone as a temporary condition that would successively roll out in the next poorest country waiting to enter the global market while the previous zone countries upgraded their technology and learned to leverage foreign direct investment with new nation-building enterprises. That was the idea. Countries like Taiwan have indeed upgraded their industries to include, for instance high tech, in part because of the EPZ in Kaohsiung were taking advantage of rather than propelling the mostly female labor that country contributed to the deal. Nevertheless, Taiwan has maintained the zone concept. Within the original economic formula wherein the countries lowest on the totem pole would provide the cheapest labor, the QIZ seem to indicate that it is time for the poorer areas of the Middle East to become the world’s Kaohsiung. This bizarre model of a globally ranked economy in which the most powerful devise a “helpful” economic instrument to exploit the less powerful countries becomes even more bizarre as the zone becomes a permanent condition. And in many zone networks of served and servants, a great deal of diplomatic effort is expended to maintain the servant in place. The Israel-Jordan and Israel-Egyptian zone relationship like the relationship between the US and Mexico or the relationship between the Emirates and some South Asian countries are perfect examples of these unequal partnerships. The Jordanian QIZ also demonstrated that while the zone has been both the hidden secret of the host state as well as the sparkling new city that it advertises to the world, it has also, given its juridical independence, simply become a more formalized instrument of the recent explosion of extraterritorial urbanism. The real cross-national network is no longer confined to the immediate region. Other countries can be stakeholders in the zone. And any component in the manufacturing process including the labor can be sourced from any part of the world. In the Al-Hassan Industrial Estate Chinese, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi manufacturers imported their own workers from their own home countries so that the workers dormitories were filled with young Chinese and South Asian women. In an added twist that surpasses irony, many of the factory owners and managers in Al-Hassan also hire young women from the nearby Palestinian refugee camps.  In Biemann’s interview, Orub El Abed describes the scenes in which these young refugee women are at once needed to bring income to a settlement with a limited economy and also often confronted at the bus stops by men from their camp who want to prevent them from contributing their labor to an Israeli economy. Biemann concludes that, “…the poorest and most marginalized segments of the population, the Palestinian refugees find themselves, ironically tied to into an economic agreement that normalizes the very relations that segregates them.”

As of 2010 the QIZs, sometimes called “specialized investment compounds,” that had been established in Jordan included the Al-Hussein Ibn Abdullah II Industrial Estate in Al Karak and the Aqaba Industrial International Estate in Aqaba, Al-Tajamouat Industrial City in Amman, Ad-Dulayl Industrial Park near Zarqa, Cyber City in Irbid, Al-Mushatta and Hallabat Industrial Park in Zarqa.2 Egypt did not enter the QIZ program until 2005, but has since, established 15 industrial sites for over 700 companies qualify for the QIZ treatment.  Egypt anticipates hundred of thousands of jobs, and while Jordan doubled its garment exports, Egypt expects to do even better. While the protocol as stated is to create an area devoted solely to export to the United States, Egyptian investment authorities state that the QIZ protocol does not have to be used for every product and that other non-QIZ investors may be sited in the same zone.3 An American observer is stationed in the zone, and the products are carefully monitored for the various percentages of production that must be met. For Jordan, imports have increased and while they also gained jobs, half of these jobs have been filled by workers from southern Asia. There have also been further allegations of sweatshop conditions and trafficking.

With over forty years of evidence about the performance of free zones, the QIZ that the US awarded to Jordan and Egypt appear to be a relatively transparent swindle. Still more difficult to understand is the consistent desire of states over the same forty year period for the zone. States negotiate for their women, cast as economic pawns, a chance to be laborers rather than a chance to receive an education. Zones have become many things—a wild urban mongrel that is impossible to classify. Still, from the earliest cases of EPZs in Kaohsiung to the more recent cases in the QIZs, the zone, in some of its incarnations, continues to function as a stable form of exploitation. It remains to be seen whether Jordan and Egypt leverage anything like the benefits that their partners receive from QIZ negotiation. Meanwhile in Biemann’s film, the young women in the factory wearing work smocks and head scarves, smile a bit because they are embarrassed to be filmed and hold up the finished product:  the nude-colored girdle for Victoria’s Secret stamped “Made in Israel.”

Published in 2A Magazine Issue #15
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Dr. Lindsay Bremner is Professor of Architecture at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.  She was formerly Chair of Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cape Town and Master of Architecture and Doctor of Science in Architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand.  Dr. Bremner is an award winning architect and has practiced, published, lectured and exhibited widely on the transformation of Johannesburg after the end of apartheid. This includes the Sans Souci Rebuilding Project in Soweto (with 26’10 South Architects),   Johannesburg: One City Colliding Worlds (Johannesburg: STE, 2004), Writing the City into Being: Essays on Johannesburg 1998-2008 (Johannesburg:Fourthwall Books, 2010) and contributions to the Rotterdam and Venice Architecture Biennales in 2005 and 2006.

Once upon a time the Mauritian archivist Auguste Toussant called the Indian Ocean the ‘Neglected Ocean’ (Toussant 1966). This is no longer the case. Today it has moved to the center stage of global politics as China, India and the United States compete to secure its strategic oil routes. It has become a privileged vantage point from which to view a changing world order (Hofmeyr n/d:2).


The Atlantic Ocean has long been a site of Euro-American scholarship and exchange. Paul Gilroy’s notion of the ‘Black Atlantic’ (Gilroy 1993) identified it as a space not specifically African, American, British or Caribbean, but all of these at once, and understood the Atlantic seaboard as the site where capitalist modernity took hold as a transnational system. The Pacific Ocean on the other hand embodies Anglo-American preoccupations, featuring as an “imaginary space of growth beyond stagnation and decline”(Moorthy and Jamal 2010:2). The Indian Ocean presents us with a different paradigm. It brings to light a rich repository, alternative histories and new ways of seeing emerging patterns of globalization, trans-nationalism and multi-polarism, owing to its 5000 history of such practices and strategic importance in the contemporary world. For spatial scholars and practitioners, it proffers new geographies of interconnectedness and new opportunities for spatial research, theory and in(ter)vention.

Folded Ocean (Fig. 1) The Indian Ocean is almost symmetrical about a north south axis running down the length of the Maldive Island archipelago.  If the ocean is folded about this axis, a number of cities map more or less onto one another, along the equator and the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Dubai folds onto Kolkata along the Tropic of Cancer, Mogadishu onto Kuala Lumpur along the equator, and Durban onto Perth along the Tropic of Capricorn. These cities mark the symbolic geographic extremities of the Indian Ocean. At its central point lies Diego Garcia, which, as Malta is to the Mediterranean, is equidistant from all points. This portrait of the Ocean as figure, not void, de-continentalizes territory and envisages the Ocean as a hyper-connected global region. In 1995, this interdependence was consolidated by the formation of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation, with  nineteen member states and five dialogue partners.

Anti-geography Geo-political research tends to be tied to national or continental boundaries as if these were static and immutable. In this project, this is resisted and space is read as part of an Indian Ocean world, an open-ended, de-continentalized space of licit and illicit circuits, crossings and inter-continental interactions and migrations. The Ocean is a vast region in flux, sloshing people, plants, goods, money, ideas, beliefs, information, cultural practices and longings around its shores, into its hinterlands and beyond. People have traveled around the Ocean to trade, peddle, propagate religious ideas, in search of work or to expand mercantile or financial empires for centuries. Some of this movement has chugged between local entrepots, while other has been truly transnational, setting up vast archipelagos of circulating Indian Ocean diasporas and interests. This project researches the sites, jurisdictions, nodes, circuits and routes of this anti-geography - its passages, lanes, routes, choke points, ports, docks, deposits and narratives, and, in doing so, raise questions about sovereignty, interconnectedness and the (in)discreteness of continental geographies in today’s world.

Creolization What is unique about the Indian Ocean is that for the past 5,000 years, it has been a vast contact zone for overlapping transnational systems and competing universalisms, none of which have ever established hegemony. Instead, these encounters have produced what Harvard anthropologist Engseng Ho describes as “tight embrace(s) of intimacy and treachery, mutually beneficial relations based on aversion and attraction, intersecting interests and encounters that have colluded to produce a world of epic transnational entanglement” (2004:2). This “historically deep archive of competing universalisms” (Hofmeyr n/d:4) has complicated binaries, muddled hierarchies and displaced oppositional logics. A rich legacy of ideas, technologies and cultural and religious practices have been stirred and diffused, producing creolized spatial forms and identities. Indian Ocean cities participate in multiple worlds, they are profoundly cosmopolitan sites. The project seeks to identify and map samples of the threading and thickening of these complex, layered entanglements by contemporary alliances. Liquidity The Indian Ocean is a warm ocean, its islands, coastlines and economies subjected to powerful climatic rhythms and cycles – currents, monsoons, trade winds, cyclones, etc. These have shaped the possibilities and limits of human circulation, settlement and livelihood around its shores for centuries. Today this ecology is being profoundly affected by economic pressures and climate change. Ocean based cultures are threatened by hyper-development and changes attributed to global warming are escalating (rise in water temperature, changes in Oceanic circulation, storm surges, increased cyclone and wave action, rising sea levels and droughts etc.) A country like Bangladesh for example faces almost certain catastrophe from a combination of coastal population growth, coastal subsidence, land-use changes and global climate change, and the Maldives has proposed to buy its way out of submersion as a territory and a nation by buying a new homeland in Sri Lanka, India or Australia. The project identifies and examines specific instances of contemporary ecological transmutation and its consequences. Sample 1: Mud (Fig. 2)

The Sundarbans region of West Bengal is a borderless and constantly mutating transition between land and sea, where the freshwater plumes of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers deposit their silt and mix with the saline water of the Bay of Bengal.  It has evolved over millennia through the natural deposition of upstream sediments and intertidal segregation, stabilized by the roots of the largest halophytic mangrove forest in the world. Neither liquid nor solid, the organization of this fluid archipelago, if one can call it that, is an anti-pattern: undifferentiated, oozy, squelchy, materializing and dematerializing in an ongoing process of deposition, accumulation, stabilization, erosion, ebb and flow. This very anti-pattern results in an economy, providing a sludgy protective barrier to the intensely cultivated and populated lands of Kolkata beyond. Amphibious, disposable and expedient, its muddy logics offer a state of the art strategy in a provisional world.

Sample 2: Scrap Yard (Fig. 3) Between the hills and the sea, under the protective nose of powerful Bangladesh military establishments, shipbreaking in Bangladesh has colonized what was once a luxuriant agricultural landscape just north of Chittagong. It has injecting it with seething ribbons of flotsam floating in waterways, seeping into ground water and fishing areas, stacked in yards and piled high along roads to optimize visibility and sales. Roads are clogged with old WW2 Bedford trucks, bicycles, taxis, tuk tuks, motorbikes, cars and all kinds of makeshift vehicles. Tightly guarded, highly concealed tracks lead to the ship breaking yards. Tropical jungle swallows the residential compounds where more than 100,000 workers who earn their livelihoods from the scrapping of vessels, mostly recruited from the villages of northern Bangladesh, live in makeshift shelters surrounded by residual farm lands and stagnant water ponds. In more than 400 steel mills, steel plate is smelted down, reformed, rerolled and resold. An air of frenetic energy, desperation and defiant optimism is everywhere.

Sample 3: Covert Antagonism (Figs. 4 - 6) Diego Garcia holds a particularly privileged position in the center of the Indian Ocean (7’20S, 72’25E). It is the largest and southernmost of the Chagos Archipelago, a narrow coral atoll nearly enclosing a lagoon, about 15 miles (24 km) in length, 7 miles (11 km) across and with a land area of about 17 square miles (44 square kms). Diego Garcia is part of British Indian Ocean Territory. In 1966 the British leased the island to the US fleet and armed forces and in 1971 agreed to the terms of its development as a US naval base. The same year United Nations Resolution 2832(XXVI) declared the Indian Ocean a Zone of Peace.  In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Diego Garcia was the only US Navy base that launched offensive air operations against Bagdad, and Coalition aircraft from Diego Garcia dropped more ordnance on Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan during the 2001-02 ‘war on terror’ than any other unit (Pearson 2003:283). A number of al-Qaeda suspects are thought to be held and interrogated on the island (although the U.S. military will not confirm this).

On the basis of this covert and duplicitous history, architecture students in the Tyler School of Art at Temple University undertook a design studio in the Spring of 2010. They proposed a more pragmatic, but no less optimistic idea for the Indian Ocean, as a critique of the UN’s Zone of Peace: to turn Diego Garcia into a Zone of Truce. They transformed the island into an ‘Institute of Extra-Continental Antagonisms’  which, by spatializing the inevitable and irresolvable antagonisms of contemporary geo-politics in the Ocean,  provided a symbolic space within which conflict could be played out and power relations provisionally adjusted

Published in 2A Magazine Issue #15

Gilroy, Paul. (1993). The Black Atlantic, Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press.  Ho, Engseng. (2004). “Empires Through Diasporic Eyes; A View from the Other Boat.” Comparative Study of Society and History 46(1):210-46. Hofmeyr, Isabel. (n/d). “Universalising the Indian Ocean.” Unpublished paper.  Moorthy, Shanti and Jamal, Ashraf. (2010). “Introduction: New Conjectures in Maritime Imaginaries,” In Indian Ocean Studies, edited by Shanti Moorthy and Ashraf Jamal, 1-31. London: Routledge.   Pearson, Michael. (2003). The Indian Ocean. London: Routledge. 

Toussant, Auguste. (1966). History of the Indian Ocean. Trans. June Guicharnaud. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 

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