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T19-15 Architect and Sustainable Cultural Designs

Transformations with Dianne Shaver and her guest, on-air from Aril 9th

How Art Combined With Function Can Solve Problems for Refugees and The Homeless

In this Interview with Abeer  Seikaly where we discuss the intersection of architecture, art and function for solving world problems of refugees and the homeless.  Her background with a mother who came from a nomadic tribe and her father who came from Syria inspired her to use her degree in architecture to create beautiful woven houses that can be easily collapsed and transported.  The design keeps out wind, rain, sand, heat and cold.  The interview takes place in Jordan. To test the viability of her design, Abeer spent the night in one of them on Mt. Everest.





Abeer Seikaly is a young Jordanian architect who has been featured on several global and local media platforms because of her innovation “Weaving a Home” that was shortlisted for the 2012 Lexus Design Award.

She is an architect, artist, designer and cultural producer. And received her Bachelor of Architecture and Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002. Over the span of 10 years, she has built a foundation of interdisciplinary skills that span architecture, design, art, fashion, textile design, and curation. She joined Villa Moda, a lifestyle and luxury retail concept in Kuwait and the Gulf as a senior architect and project manager in 2005 and directed the first contemporary art fair in Jordan in 2010. In addition to her independent practice, Abeer is also the production manager for Adel Abidin, the internationally recognized Iraqi/Finnish video artist. In 2012, Abeer’s design, “The Chandelier,” was selected as the winner of The Rug Company’s Wallhanging Design Competition and she was selected as a winner for the Lexus Design Award for her work, “Weaving a Home”.

According to Abeer Seikaly, architecture is not about the building itself but more about getting into it and experiencing its metaphysical nature with time. “Ordinary architects nowadays are inclined to use computer software to design buildings while sitting in closed offices. This is only dragging them away from people and nature. A real architect needs to be out there to feel, interact and test their designs”, says Seikaly. “Creating is about the process and not about the outcome.”

Participating in the Lexus Design Award was part of engaging fabric with people and nature.  Disaster shelters have been made from a wide range of materials, but Abeer turned to the solar-absorbing fabric as her material of choice in creating woven shelters that are powered by the sun and inspired by nomadic culture.


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