Shahira Hammad is an architect who graduated from Arab Academy for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Egypt, and then she followed her studies with a master degree from Institute of Architecture, University of Applied Arts, Vienna. Shahira’s work usually inspired from both Nature and Social Culture. Find more about her thesis project below.
Project Description From the Architect:
This project represents my thesis for the “Excessive” Post-Graduate program at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, 2012. We were asked to envision a new train station for Vienna, one that would either modify or replace the existing Westbahnhof train station.
I chose to keep the existing building, but to contaminate it with structures that would express a complexity that now is missing. My intervention was inspired both from Nature and Culture, and beyond its polemical characteristics it does intend to bring back what in science is called: Spontaneous Order. This is not disorder in the common sense, although it could have this appearance.
It is, evidently, a reaction against excessive rationalism and rationalizations. Yes, it is excessive, but essentially it tries nothing else but to bring the complexities present in Nature into the urban fabric. In a way my “project” is not really a “project,” since I let what I envisioned come into being “naturally,” almost by itself, expressing not only outer realities, but also inner ones. We could say that maybe this is an Epimethean work, as opposed to being Promethean, that is, a work in which thought comes afterwards… so the relationship between cause and effect is circular, not linear.
All in all this is an architectural meditation on Time as well, since the structures I envisioned do reflect metamorphosis, the passage of Time, change, ephemerality and even decay… themes, again, neglected by conventional architectures. To what extent society would be open to live in such an architecture, I do not know. It is possible that there would be a resistance, since this is not a comfortable architecture. But I feel that true art, and maybe even architecture, should abstain from making too many concessions to comfort.Otherwise, how would the unexpected ever have a chance to emerge…?!
But the New is often also the Old… this is why, in a way, my work looks both towards the future and towards the past… Time is inherent in its physical manifestation, much as Time is present in the manifestations of Nature. I was hoping for a fusion of both, an alliance that all too often, at present, is neglected.
If chaos is deprived of its negative connotations maybe we will have again the chance to reach the positive aspects of what is called “spontaneous order.”
Courtesy of Shahira Hammad