Tarkeeb Gate House and Garden focused on improving the lives of campus workers by providing space for reprieve, refreshment and spatial delight. Shade, seating and the provision of cool, clean drinking water serve as the primary program. Elevating the design and accommodation of these basic amenities conveys our respect and appreciation for the worker’s contribution to our community.
The design references and transforms regional vernaculars to mitigate solar gain through passive cooling strategies. Commonly understood as an architectural screen associated with privacy and shadows, the term mashrabiya derives from the original Arabic word mashrab, meaning a place to drink water. This project incorporates both meanings of the word to provide shade as well as a public water source, or mae sabeel.
A new exterior parasol composed of steel bar-grate and inspired by local mashrabiya precedent shades the air-conditioned interior while simultaneously creating a pair of shaded, exterior living spaces. On the north side the parasol shades an observation porch adjacent to the parking gate while providing the guard cross-ventilation and visual access. A second, larger, shaded garden space on the south provides respite and water for the often, under-appreciated members of the campus community, including the guards and landscape workers who toil long hours in the sun.
Fourteen of the eighteen students involved in the project are female, reflecting the 80% female-to-male student ratio in the architecture program at large. The immersive and diverse lessons these young women experienced during the design and construction process will have an out-sized impact beyond the immediate influence of the project. By demonstrating capability and confidence in design and actual fabrication, the students have challenged preconceptions and gender norms prevalent in the region. While firmly rooted in the discipline of architecture, this experience transcends professional boundaries to contribute to the transformation of a society.