Kouki Mojadidi is a licensed Architect and an alumna of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.  Practicing architecture since 2000 in New York City and Afghanistan, every project, for Kouki, establishes the importance of creative conceptual thinking as a process essential for implementing socially conscious projects in areas of conflict, natural disaster, and reconstruction.  She has led complex design projects through all phases of development, from concept to implementation to create an inclusive architectural practice aiming to bridge implementing partners, builders with the community.  For Kouki, socially conscious design is taking architecture beyond objectification; recognizing architecture to be more than a static physical reality. She implements projects that not only strive for exceptional design and construction but endeavors to strengthen the weakened threads of architectural practice pivotal to the fabric of society.

The field of uncertainty

The field of uncertainty

Microcosm diagram of the mind.   Robertus de Fluctibus (1574 – 1637)

field

  1. an area on which a battle is fought.
  2. a place where a subject of scientific study or artistic representation can be observed in its natural context.
  3. an area of open land.

Wake up to uncertainty or let uncertainty wake you up. Architects - push your limitations, get dirty, don’t give up to that perfectly designed box…. and by box, I’m also referring to the four walls that define your office space.  Whether in an underdeveloped country or a developed country, we increase our impact on society when one gets out onto that unknown field and have experiences, with our site, community, institutions and possibly be surprised by something unexpected.  There is something different when you walk through a lumberyard, visit an industrial area, and talk with the local shops and businesses.  I don’t know?  Who knows, maybe you laugh, learn something new and discover an undiscovered trajectory?  No matter how much technology advances the design and construction industry, we will never lose the responsibility of understanding human needs at the most basic level. From a person needing a place to wash there hands to the impact of your building on the local labor market.  The responsibility of a three dimensional thinker is to incorporate the field into every stage of the design and construction process.  Architecture is simply the intersection of society, before the act of designing and building.   

The truth of the matter is that pure creative license of any architectural project is not owned by the architect.  It’s impacted by skill and labor, specialist, local community, national or international bureaucracy, political institutions, public opinion, economic fluidity, it never stands alone, although it’s what mainstream architectural publication would like you to believe.  Architecture exists on a landscape.  It needs to function at the most basic human level as well as transcending it’s immediate environment.  When we refer to being in the field it is acknowledging that the entire scope of impact is in collaboration with this creative process, from the people on the ground to our affluent clients. 

Existing today as the industry standard is four stages of design and construction: schematic design, design development, construction documents, and construction administration.  More and more our architectural industry has moved in the direction of building from a distance. The gap between design and community increasingly gets larger and larger until oceans have turned into puddles with the help of industry, internet and travel.   

If one day we make a 3-D printer big enough to plot an entire building from foundation to finish, we will still be dealing with the same forces at play during the time the first shelter was created.  Architecture is not just the production of buildings rather it is rooted in a response to our needs.  We will always come back to the essential needs of our physical, metal and emotional bodies.  In the trials and errors of our human existence, we will always comeback to the same question.  How do we create a life to understand our purpose?  

The architectural platform seems to be discussing more how social impact is integral to the process because we have fallen waste side to the desires to make money, build monuments, achieve bigger, better, faster.  We are obsessed with design expression.  Today, we are confronted with a general disregard to humanity.  One thing I have learned about building with a consciousness to humanity is that the known structure for architectural practice is always, always just a reference point.  The model for practicing always continually changes and adapts to the context, the people, the skill and labor level, the culture, the sense of security, the climate, the relationships… this list could go on and on.  The forces of both society and the fundamental principles of design guide this new conceptual architectural practice.  You start from the ground and work your way up.  You are not hovering over with a formulated architectural theory.  You must make a discovery in architectural concepts everyday.  Yes, every single day, that will be conducive for the people, the place and the future.  You always confront and step into uncertainty, confident and humbled by the world of unknowns.  It’s when you know your doing something right.  It is the essence of this creative work.

Stop.  Rewind.  Play.

Stop. Rewind. Play.

Coming up for air

Coming up for air