The Center for Handy Skills
The Center for Handy Skills is based on Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf, South of Iran, a natural site that is becoming a favorable tourist destination even for foreigners. CHS is a two-story adaptable platform for educational initiatives aiming at hands-on learning of new practical skills, with a building spatially adaptable to future alterations and to the harsh climate. The Gulf is associated with petroleum and conflicts surrounding it, and residents of Hormuz are sitting on mines of “black gold” aka oil, but are economically deprived. With the new wave of tourism, they are hopeful about opportunities for their community, however, they feel the need for a new kind of know-how to orient themselves. This small project follows a bold global vision of sustainability. In a country with oil reserves, development heavily depends on revenues from crude oil and the import of goods, a process that has to change. Development needs to be endogenous, resulting from growth within communities. On a larger scale, this will reduce oil revenue dependency in developing countries, and increase oil prices globally, resulting in lower carbon emissions on the planet by reducing fossil fuel consumption. With this vision in mind, this center focuses on the empowerment of the Hormuz community for sustainable tourism. This is where education, planned in consonance with the city, takes place and educators are accommodated. It is a small vertical neighborhood of educational and accommodation spaces linked with paths and open spaces that empower Hormuzis. To be fully handy, the dimensions, positions, and relations of open and closed spaces can be modified to match unpredicted needs. This gives users the upper hand to adapt to unknown future conditions. Resilience towards change is attained architecturally by creating spaces that are non-dependent on structure, isolation layers, utilities, and access. The same connections between space and structural grid, utility shafts, or insulation layers that make a building usable, also render it invariable. In this building, a concrete structure that supports prefab concrete slabs bears the weight of different spatial units on a unified plane. Electrical and mechanical utility channels which are moveable, feed all spatial units through different side-streams. Spatial units can connect to these sources free of constraint, with options abundantly available. Scaffolding structures create adjustable independent access to each unit. Another scaffolding structure supports a canopy roof over the whole building that protects the spatial units from precipitation, and empty spaces between units create corridors for ventilation. Together they reduce the average temperature by up to 14C in the harsh climate of the Island, resulting in a 35% cut in energy consumption. The appearance of the building adopts construction methods common on the island. They are colored in varied ways and organically connect to utilities without any obsession for order and tidiness. Embracing this unsolicited appearance welcomes future changes. It is an aesthetic that delights the user by serving her, and so it seeks to make a practice of the architectural discipline welcomed by the patrons.
AwardsGrand Prix du Design | 2021 | Silver Winner
Architizer A+Awards | 2021 | Finalist
NewsSilver Winner – Commercial Building – Mixed – Use Building – GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 14e edition
Finalist – Architecture + Low Cost Design – Architizer A+AWARDS 2021