Project Description


Client: AUS, Office of Sustainability
Type: Office, Design-Build
Location: AUS Main Building
Area: 30 sqm
Role: Interior Designer
Contribution: Concept Design, Material Exploration, Budget Coordination, Detail Design & Documentation, Mock Up Build & Construction
Talk: Pecha Kucha

The Interior batch of 2018’s Design | Build Studio was aimed at refurbishing an existing office by rethinking how a normative office space in the American University of Sharjah (AUS) is built.

Main Building, AUS


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Through extensive research, various recycled & reusable materials were sourced from construction sites of buildings and thus led to the creation of a project from materials that have a second life. The final construction material percentage distribution was ‘60% Repurposed + 10% Recycled + 30% New’.
Acknowledging the material’s source and the patina that it had acquired in it’s former life; various prototypes were constructed to explore their structural capacity. Other groups in the studio focused on creating mechanical systems without external hardware. This initial experimentation led to multiple compelling directions to explore.
FINAL RESULT: Conventional single desks with file cabinets were replaced with a communal table. Additional working conditions were provided like a standing desk and a low seating majlis area next to the window. A new system was devised to house removable live planters next to the majlis. Storage was conceived with open shelves and integrated lighting for the communal table and shelving.
PROCESS: We had two main initial design approaches for the office:
1. an environmentally sustainable perspective &
2. a psychologically sustainable perspective
This was carried out by dividing the project into sub components. (Shelving / Flooring / Ceiling / Lighting etc.)

COMPONENTS: Wooden Shelving System




COMPONENTS: Paint & Color

COMPONENTS: Majlis Lounge Area

COMPONENTS: Communal Table

Modernity and sustainability are two concepts which often seem to be contradictory. However, with newer technology being developed and products entering the market which have reduced carbon footprint & are being manufactured ethically, it’s making the life of designer’s easier.
However, it is time to take a step back and reassess. It is time to prioritize sustainable value through lifestyle redesign.  For example – The raw, rustic finish of the office is the outcome of the fabrication decisions to minimize processing / treatment of the materials enough to supplement the actual construction while maintain the original form of the remaining material. This kind of a utilitarian – functional approach helped minimize the energy consumption on process which would otherwise have been executed for purely aesthetic and non-functional reasons.
The Team:

Assistant Professor – Danial Chavez

Students                        – Priyanka Soni, Melody Ghobrial, Leen ElMobbadr, Amira Al Zaiem, Noor AlSaqqa, Dalia AlDubaisy, Aysha Mohammed, Rima Chalha, Mariam Mansour, Hadeel Hisham, Samar Sharif, Jana Nassreddine, Nariman ElNaggar, Dina Safaa, Shaza Khalil (in this order respectively)


In November 2018, my colleague Rima & I learned about an opportunity to participate in the local Pecha Kucha talks being conducted at Al Serkal Avenue where the main topic was “Sustainability”. Grabbing the opportunity, we thus applied to present our senior year Design | Build project – “The Office of Sustainability”.
This was a wonderful opportunity to participate in a larger Design community platform alongside reputable names in the industry like Jason Carlow, Associate Professor at American University of Sharjah; Maja Kozel, Principal – Maja Kozel Design; Emanuela Corti, Founder Caravan Design Collective – Sense Wear; Agnes Koltay, Founder – Koltay Facades.