Adoul Jibrel

Architecture Through A Traveler’s Mind

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Have you ever had that feeling that you want to visit every building you read about in books? Or have you ever wondered how does it feel to experience such journey? For me it has always been more than that.

I live to travel and discover new stuff. And since my childhood, I was fortunate to travel a lot. It’s a passion that was developed throughout many years. Traveling is a desire to explore, and search for the hidden self within. It is an opportunity for an experience that is worth tying.

However, since I entered architecture school, my way of looking at traveling has changed. And the way my trips were organized and scheduled also changed. Consequently, this changed my perspective toward what surrounds me. It motivated me to sense the architecture in reality and trace the culture of the new place. Traveling started to mean to me more than just a trip and time that will be spent either solo or with friends and family. It starts to take shape as an experience and inspires my next design project. It is normal for architects or architecture students to have a gallery full of architecture photos. And it is more normal to plan your next trip based on where your favorite architect constructed his/her last building. But for ordinary people, they would consider it as a crazy move.

We read a lot about the accomplishments of starchitects such as Zaha Hadid, Jeon Novel, Bjarke Ingles, Daniel Libenskind and many more. They are always in the books or through the pages of magazines and architecture websites. But no matter how many diagrams, plans, sections and photos support the articles, it still won’t add the livability of the design and the feeling of the space. In a very good architecture piece even non-architects would understand and feel the spirit of the space.

Experiencing Details and Materials in La Biennale di Venezia

Architecture masterpieces are not framed within a time frame. They can be from the 2630 BC to our current time. They can be designed by one person, or a team of architects and construction engineers. Many places touched my heart and soul. And many others, made me pay attention to the smallest details within them. When you are an architect, every single detail would matter to you. Feeling materials and starring at ceilings or even floors become normal. You would memorize what is it like to touch mosaic, stone, marble or even fabric of all types.

Venice caught my deep interest from the first sight. It has been built a long time ago and has its shine and glory. Venice’s small alleys to plazas are unique and special. Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco or as commonly known as Basilica di San Marco in Venice was one of the most special places in the world. It took my breath away and captured my imagination. It is much more beautiful in the night than day. If you were there at night, the plaza would just take part of your heart, and cast a magical spell on you making you fall in love with the Italo-Byzantine architecture, which will make you love the city even more. To me, Venice is the most beautiful city of Europe!

Panoramic view of Venice

On the other hand, Louver museum in Abu Dhabi, UAE by Jeon Novel is another inspirational space from another form. It was an attractive space in and out. Maybe it is famous for its dome shape ceiling – the most expensive ceiling in the world in 2017- or maybe when you visit it you can feel how simple yet complicated space it has. You would notice how it is all about shadow, and light. Reflecting the peacefulness of the space from within. To be honest, when I was there I acted like a kid! Curious about every detail and feeling the need to learn everything about it, from the structure to its small screws. I was walking around feeling the podiums where art pieces were displayed to understand what the architect thought at the time of designing it.

The journey through the louver is interesting! No show-space looks like the other, each has its own unique materials of flooring, type of paint and variety of heights in ceilings. Not to mention the transitional spaces between showrooms that are so appealing and inviting. They give you a sneak peak to the exterior space yet hide it again like a hide and seek game. This makes you desire to finish the journey and reach to the courtyard where the dome is. Upon ending the journey inside the showrooms, the courtyard appears with its remarkable huge steel ceiling structure that is suspended on top of you. An extraordinary space to visit and by inspired by all along!

Moreover, experiencing the local culture adds to your architectural personality a lot more. Trying their food and knowing more about their habits is enjoyable and pleasant. Making you aware how a variety of mindsets can be out there, how they adapt certain traditions and how their civilization developed through the years. Similarities would be found too. Fascinating how human nature is connected despite being separated by immense distances.

Even though I explored some, but my bucket list is still going on. I don’t think I would be able to finish it because every year there is a work of art that is constructed or under construction. I think what I would add on my bucket list is to visit construction sites in different cities around the world to see how diverse we can be yet still have the fundamental rules and instructions we follow. Architecture is not only in design studios or on papers. Its with people, in the streets and all around you. You can find it in local people’s words or even in their culture.

Adoul Jibrel
Master student at the Frankfurt University of Applied Science

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