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.

“If you're an architect and you know it,  clap your hands.”

“If you're an architect and you know it, clap your hands.”

Architecture is the intersection of society.  Architecture can be creative beyond just the physical,  transcending the walls, to unite, bridge, and connect the threads of society that work towards solving meaningful problems.  To thoughtfully design a synergy that can exist between the social, political and economic realms of a community, city, country or globe.  This is the study of an Architect.  Defined below is a (1, 2, 3) methodology for an architect to make an impact by incorporating theses variegated facets associated with society.  

ONE

Be a person first.  Be an architect second.  Step into your life.  Don’t stand on the side lines, only as a observer.  You are the citizen and the leader.  The dweller and the house.  The thinker that can live with this uncertainty.  An active citizen amongst many, a leader amongst few.  The brave architect endeavors to be unnamed and uncategorized, not labeled, no limits….  strive to protect your anonymity,  it’s the most quiet space and the incubation of creative ideas.  Resort to a no-name attitude, just sort-of suspended in space,  and that forces you to make decisions that can impact the greater part of humanity.  Define, distinguish and analyze needs and desires of the inhabitants that surround you.  Observe them closely, you will find your inspiration for real innovation in the questions that appear through the immediate environment.  Make your choices, make your decisions that will impact design on both a physical and intangible way.  Let recognition come from your ability to surrender to our collective greater good.  Nobody can recognize you as an architect.  We are all architects the moment we are born.  Creating shelter is a primal instinct.  We know it innately.  Making a home for ourselves, establishing urban proximity to our social and professional lives.  We chart, analyze and implement the trajectory of our futures as a program to live out our needs and desires.  People are the architects of their lives.  This is a deep architectural practice.   

TWO

Own your three dimensional mind.  Experiment with architectural tools and a diverse vernacular as two elements that are synchronized to create architectural concepts.  Own it with your hands, your eye and mind.  Be versatile, flexible and critical.  Be firm and courageous in the creative process.  An understanding to construct within the ambiguity and uncertainty of fluid space.  Develop a critical mind for both making and reading drawings, models and analysis to direct the impact of use and it’s inhabitants.  Form is inevitably a result of any 3-dimensional project, but never obsess.  Take architecture beyond objectification.  Recognize the important threads of architecture that impact the fabric of society.  Know that this world is always seeking and never finite in the pursuit of creating architecture.  Architecture gives a special generative power while moving from concept to realization.  Go beyond the physical, beyond the learned, beyond the present moment.  Buildings are not an end in themselves, they are a means to an end.

Above:   Architecture Thesis presented in 2001.  An Architectural Alice in Wonderland.  A study of the effects of variated scales on the narrative of a person discovering purpose.  

THREE

You have to build something.   You have to get up pick up a shovel or tool and dig for your ideas, literally.  Dig, dig, dig and learn it through your muscles, your body, your sweat, your breath and heart beating in your chest.  You have to put your body into it.  It’s a critical internal measure.  It’s a different learned knowledge and it is mandatory.  This is a one to one experience.  This is the optimal scale of the architect.  It is where the questions of design, implementation and construction reveal themselves. You must be physically in touch with your body because there is a critical transfer of intuitive knowledge that is released that is stored in our bodies.  Test materials with theconnection to your own body.  Innately know the strength of materiality, steel, wood, concrete, stone, the array of engineered products, and the way it acts with gravity, climate, earth, and context.   You have to spend time doing it and build relationships with the present people making the building.  It’s not just the thought process, the intellectualizing, it is, equally, about how to execute physically demanding work.  You are understanding on-the-ground methodologies so that you can innovate with knowledge, respect, efficiency and responsibly to integrate construction into the design process.  Ultimately, building a symbiotic bridge between design and implementation. 

 

Above:  (Left to Right)  1. Field inspection of metal truss.  2.  Steel plate fabrication to study the kinematics of the structure.   3.  Hands in space testing limits and functions.  4.  Mockup of earth construction, testing mix, methodology, strength, concrete lintels. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How war and greed has decimated vernacular architecture in Afghanistan.

How war and greed has decimated vernacular architecture in Afghanistan.

No. No. No. Norman

No. No. No. Norman