Venue: Public space, Corner of Bertalan Lajos utca and Műegyetem rakpart
Constructions use too much energy; both concrete and brick are produced at high temperatures, which, too, contributed to reversing the balance between nature and mankind. Is there a building technology with more harmonic relationship between fire, water, and air? With air and moisture flowing in the structure’s walls, and with less fire necessary for its production? Thus came the title, Breeze. Wind has many names in Arabic; this describes the breeze bringing physical and spiritual relief in a desert.
I began to draw my Syrian grandmother’s spacious and high, ancient adobe dome, the way I remembered it from my childhood.
I’ve been involved with earth and adobe buildings since 2012. Last year, December was very cold, yet, people were accommodated in Turkish and Lebanese refugee camps in tents, and children were dressed in summer clothes. I began to spread my drawings among international relief organizations, asking them to build economical shelters from local materials, instead of tents and metal containers. Meanwhile, I discovered my grandmother’s old house in a research done by a Californian architect, who presented it as the miracle natural air conditioning, keeping temperature at 25 degrees during summer owing to its round shape and the moderate fluctuation of moisture inside the adobe.
For years, I relentlessly pursued relief organizations and architects with my proposal. I hardly got an answer. In 2015, I received a photo depicting 200 rectangular adobe houses built by the Qatar Red Crescent Society for relocated refugees—yet, that could have been a coincidence.
Outside Syria, the lack of building permissions was one of the major obstacles. Tents and containers remained standing.
Finally in 2015, it was museums that accepted my project, resulting in rather symbolic buildings, structures, and building fragments. In most cases, I studied local materials and traditions; in Hungary, I visited villages with my family, mostly along the Tisza River, where Roma craftsmen prepared adobe. Along the Dutch-Belgian-French Meuse, we created a transparent wall and gate from adobe, evoking the coffered timber structures of the old northern Fachwerk. In Novi Sad, the tent-like house, a symbol of fleeing and looking for a home, was built of rush. The complexity of the refugee crisis makes the project difficult to understand, even for me. As far as form is concerned, it strives for a harmonic synthesis of Modernity, environment-friendly architecture, and different cultures. It doesn’t differentiate between memory and utopia, between fire, water, and air, or physical and spiritual. It aims to avoid becoming limited, concluded.
I hope it has an impact on reality as well, replacing war images with the gentleness of simple forms and materials.
Special thanks to: Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design