MIT Mock-Up featured in DAVID K. ROSS Exhibit

Posted on August 26th, 2019 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: _MIT Site 4, Installations + Exhibitions

The Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Montréal will present, from August 28 – October 19, 2019, “ARCHETYPES” by David K. Ross, featuring new photographic works. There will be an artist reception Wednesday, August 28th at 5:30pm. More info HERE.

“The result of four years of research and exclusive access to construction sites around the globe, Ross’ photographs take us behind the scenes and over the hoardings to encounter these rarely-seen fragments from the world of architecture. Captured using flash photography on building sites locked down for the evening, the scale and location of these structures remain ambiguous.” – Patrick Mikhail Gallery

“Mock-ups carry something of the photographic within them. Both the mock-up — and its image — physically and indexically reference concepts and ideas that are in formation but are not viewable in their totality. Like photographs, mock-ups are framing devices that focus attention on specific elements taken out of context.” – David K. Ross 

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Posted on April 5th, 2019 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Events, Installations + Exhibitions

‘Manifest Pedagogies’, an exhibit of NADAAA’s three schools of architecture and design opened yesterday at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture. The exhibit also highlights the vision plan NADAAA has developed with the SoA for their Coral Gables campus. The work will be on view through April 18th in the Irvin Korach Gallery (open 8:30am – 8pm).

On April 8th Nader will join a round-table discussion entitled ‘Pedagogy in Question’ with the SoA’s Allan Shulman, Carie Penabad, Joel Lamere, Charlotte von Moos and Christopher Meyer. The round-table will be in the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building at 6:30pm.


Last chance to catch ‘Drawing Codes’ in NYC

Posted on February 20th, 2019 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Installations + Exhibitions, The Cooper Union

The Cooper Union show closes this coming Saturday, February 23rd. It will then travel to the University of Virginia, where it will open on March 18! (see poster below).

Photo: Lea Bertucci / The Cooper Union, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture

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Posted on November 14th, 2018 by Hannah Wang

Posted under: Installations + Exhibitions, Lectures

photo by Shenjie Li

The Tectonic Grain is a textual and visual array which draws from this experience of designing space for design. The exhibit’s unique layout acts as both model and statement. A lecture given by Nader of the same name on October 24th opened the exhibit and serves as a supplement to the exhibit. To read the corresponding essay, click HERE. To learn more about The Tectonic Grain and the Stubbins Gallery at the Georgia Tech College of Design click HERE.

exhibition connection detail; photo by Shenjie Li

NADAAA approaches architecture with an understanding of a shared ability between academia and its own buildings to teach and challenge the conventions of built space. NADAAA’s work includes three schools of architecture and design: The Hinman Building at Georgia Tech, the University of Melbourne School of Design, and the Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto. Consequently, NADAAA integrates within its practice an extensive understanding of design schools and the structural and circulatory factors that impact learning about design.

photo by Shenjie Li

In the Atlanta and Melbourne projects, research on suspension became a transformative pedagogical tool. At Georgia Tech, we used the gantry crane above to delicately suspend an entire studio space – “the crib” – in order to maintain the flexibility of the ground level. In the Melbourne School of Design, where there is no budgetary allocation for dedicated studio space, 22 meter LVL beams spanned the atrium and formed the structure for a totemic suspended structure that served as the only dedicated series of studio spaces. The structure is massive and volumetric at its top, extending down to the studio walls in a kind of bas-relief, and eventually thinning out to plywood veneers at its base, where the surface of the cladding serves to create a coffered acoustic ceiling that hovers above the great hall.

Melbourne hanging studio elevation; photo by Nader Tehrani

For the Daniels Building in Toronto, while the idea of suspension was not a motivating force, the integrative mandates and lessons of Atlanta and Melbourne projects became instrumental in the transformation of the design. When the concrete shell roof structure was challenged, the project was virtually brought to its knees in a moment of truth, as it were, effectively on the verge of compromising the building’s most salient feature. The question, for us, was whether this roof was a materially driven idea, or rather just about the integration of structural illumination, environmental, and hydrological performance, as the latter became to dominate our thinking, we redesigned the structure more economically in steel, while keeping its essential figure and performance intact. Composed of a layered system of parts, the steel I-beams with corrugated steel deck, covered with light gauge structs, gypsum board sheets with radiant panels, and a coating of paint. Thus, the paint shows no grain, as such, the most characteristic feature of the building resides in the morphological grain of the roof itself.

Toronto roof section; photo by Nader Tehrani

Curation and design: Nader Tehrani, Lisa LaCharité & Hannah Wang
NADAAA Installation: Hannah Wang & Luisel Zayas
Georgia Tech School of Architecture students: Shenjie Li & Rachel Cloyd
Photographs: Nader Tehrani & Shenjie Li

photo by Shenjie Li


‘The Tectonic Grain’ at Georgia Tech

Posted on October 21st, 2018 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Installations + Exhibitions, Lectures

NADAAA is curating an exhibit at the Georgia Tech School of Architecture to open October 24th in the Stubbins Gallery. In tandem, Nader will lecture on October 24th in the Reinsch-Pierce Family Auditorium at 4pm. To see Georgia Tech’s full line-up of fall lectures check HERE.

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‘Down to Earth, Looking up to the Heavens’

Posted on May 4th, 2018 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Academic, Installations + Exhibitions

NADAAA contributed a drawing to Tempietto Exemplum, an exhibit at the Yale School of Architecture curated by Amanda Iglesias this Spring. Below is the accompanying text.

See the drawing up close HERE.


St. Peter’s Inverted Crucifixion: Down to Earth, Looking up to the Heavens

Nader Tehrani, 2018

The altar of the Tempietto, located on axis with the entry into the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio, appears to be composed of monolithic pieces of marble. It is distinct from the conventional altar conceived as a free-standing piece of furniture. Encrypted into the logic of the building’s architecture, the altar is set against the outer wall, further thickening the mass of the load-bearing structure. Consistent with Robin Evans’s article “Perturbed Circles” in The Projective Cast, the position of the altar contributes to the effect of multiple centers achieved in this building, and its de-centering underlines the importance of this choice. Indeed, the altar is not only monolithic, but the inverse. It is composed of a series of thin marble slabs, behind which a cavity allows for a clerestory window into the crypt. The altar serves as the window’s frame, and thus the two are co-dependent.[1]

As partial as it may seem, the sectional detail of this altar reveals something about this building that not only subverts the conventions of its time, but also requires a form of representation beyond the normative techniques of drawing. Due to its curious spatial reciprocity, the figure-ground relationship between the space of the clerestory and the form of the altar is so tight that the building is exempted of the poché characteristic of the structures of this period. If the mass of a traditional wall is meant to provide structural support for a building, it is also the means by which ancillary spaces such as niches and other figural voids can be carved out. The Tempietto does away with this mass altogether, ingeniously conjoining the two functions by using one as the alibi for the other—the altar gives light, and the clerestory offers mass.

This telltale detail of the Tempietto also exposes the difficulty of drawing complex circumstances that require simultaneously looking up and down, if only to show two facets of something inextricably bound together. For this reason, this small structure offers the ideal opportunity with which to advance a form of representation whose purpose is not to illustrate what is already known but to expose the inner workings of something that can only be unearthed forensically. This drawing is the result of the “flip-flop” technique, coined by Daniel Castor in his 1996 book Drawing Berlage’s Exchange, where he demonstrates how this drawing type produces a beguiling form of visual ambiguity that enables the eye to invert the perception of foreground and background.[2] Not dissimilar to El Lissitzky’s Abstract Cabinet 1927 drawing, Castor’s isometric, constructed from a tri-fold 120-degree angle of projection, is distinct in its balanced bias towards the X, Y and Z axes all at once.

The architectural application of this technique resides in the latent alignment between the conventional bird’s eye and worm’s eye views, the latter often attributed to Auguste Choisy. If the bird’s eye view exposes the world of the roof, the worm’s eye reveals the inner workings of the dome, effectively two different symbolic realms.  Donato Bramante conceived of both the Tempietto and St. Peter’s Basilica a few years apart, making their conceptual connection somehow inevitable. The Tempietto, a martyrium dedicated to St. Peter, is a folly of sorts—at once a model, a mock-up and a miniature building in its own right with the gravitas of spatial, formal and linguistic tropes that advance the discourse of its time. In its crypt, a pit on center with the oculus, is purported to be the receptacle within which St. Peter’s cross would have been planted upside down, looking up at the dome as it were. In light of the eventual dual-shell construction technique adopted for St. Peter’s dome, one can understand the absolute necessity of looking up and down simultaneously, because the domes are not only symbolically divided but structurally semi-autonomous. By extension, even though the Tempietto is a single-shell structure, the flip-flop technique in this drawing demonstrates the instrumentality of also looking inside and outside simultaneously.

Within the vicissitudes of representational techniques through the centuries, we are beneficiaries of many conceptual advances in the arts that, when seen in tandem, help build a rich repertoire for an analysis of this kind. For instance, Charles de Wailly’s sectional perspectives show the connection between buildings and their urban context in full splendor, in effect bringing the city into the building. The graphic work of M.C. Escher also demonstrates how the latent connections between geometry, space and the construction of perception contribute to their hypnotizing architectural effect. We witness in Picasso’s cubism the desire to overcome the impossibility of seeing many facets at the same time—the front, the back and the sides. In this tradition, as an extension of Castor’s own work, this composite drawing looks up and down, inside and out, toggling back and forth, taking advantage of the isometric’s unique visual sleight of hand to reveal the anomalous alignments, correspondences and reciprocities that would otherwise remain lost in the seemingly pure and idealized form of the Tempietto.

[1] The complex relationship between the building’s oculus, connecting the chapel and crypt, as well as the crypt’s clerestory, diagonally drawing in light from the exterior, is lovingly depicted in Paolo Sorrentino’s 2013 La Grande Bellezza, effectively linking the multiple centers in one shot (,

[2] The Yves Alain Bois essay, ‘Metamorphosis of Axonometry’ makes reference to the Josef Albers painting Structural Constellation, wherein the visual symmetry of the drawing produces simultaneous depth and flatness. Accordingly, as the eye toggles back and forth between the two sides of the drawing, it can be seen to perceptually pop in or out.

CREDITS: Nader Tehrani, Katherine Faulkner, Lisa LaCharité, Mitch Mackowiak

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‘Tempietto Exemplum’ at Yale School of Architecture

Posted on April 10th, 2018 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Academic, Events, Installations + Exhibitions

A group of thirty firms including NADAAA has contributed original drawings to the Yale School of Architecture’s exhibit: ‘Tempietto Exemplum’.

All are invited to celebrate the opening this Thursday, April 12th at the Yale School of Architecture. Craig Buckley will be lecturing at 6:30pm in Hastings Hall, immediately followed by ‘Tempietto Exemplum”s opening reception.

On Friday, April 13th the School is hosting a Gallery Talk at 1pm. Please RSVP to Amanda Iglesias to attend this talk:

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Zhulang Huagai pavilion featured on designboom

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Installations + Exhibitions, Press

See the full article HERE.

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Zhulang Huagai: A Figure for the Nantou Urban Village

Posted on March 2nd, 2018 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Academic, Installations + Exhibitions, Press, The Cooper Union

NADAAA recently collaborated with students of The Cooper Union to design and realize a pavilion in Nantou Urban Village as part of the Shenzhen Biennale. The result is a permanent structure that will continue to serve the neighborhood and is already being used for a weekend marketplace. For more see Archdaily’s post HERE.

photo courtesy of UABB


photo courtesy of the UABB

photo courtesy of Jeremy Son

Special thanks to Margaux Wheelock-Shew, Jeremy Son, Mitch Mackowiak, Yujun Yin, and the Thornton Tomasetti team.


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Collaborating with Cooper

Posted on February 6th, 2018 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Installations + Exhibitions, The Cooper Union, Urban Design

NADAAA collaborated recently with two students from The Cooper Union to realize a new pavilion for the Shenzhen Biennale in the Nantou Urban Village of Shenzhen. The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at Cooper interviewed the students, Margaux Wheelock-Shew and Jeremy Son, on their experience of collaborating with a design office to complete a built project. Read the interview HERE.

The next big surprise: somebody over there decided it should be permanent, though it had originally been designed to be dismantled. So, the Chinese welded the joints and sank it into concrete. There is some irony to this because of all the designs the team came up with, the one they meant to be impermanent was the one with the scaffolding. “That thing is not going anywhere,” Margaux says. Tehrani added: “Moreover, it is an important recognition that such initiatives can be in service of a larger civic mission that contributes back to the community in which it is lodged.”

photo by Lea Bertucci, The Cooper Union

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