In 2019, DARS Studio (Design, Architectural Robotics & Systems) started planning to build new communities in a desert environment. Due to the historical background of the Siwa people’s building efficient structures in the desert, Siwa Oasis in Egypt became the ideal location for the project. However, building a generative sandscape in the desert had several environmental and physical challenges. The main problem was the sand shifting. So, the research focused on studying the cycle of sand shifting and erosion to use sand as a potential building material.
The design procedure of this generative sandscape involved learning traditional building techniques and material usage from the Siwian people to build durable architecture in the desert. After that, the researchers experimented with simulations and generative designs on multiple levels, starting from urban architecture to fabrication.
The urban studies on the selected site indicated the possibility of new urban growth in Siwa. The study introduced the “Sand Travel Diagram STD” which records the behavior of sand particles with the wind and gravity in time intervals. The sand movement on three selected topography was recorded and the result was analyzed to see how the sand movement differs.
Based on the results from the STD and drainage water simulations, the design proposal involved dividing the project site into two zones. The first zone consists of sand rock hills and the second one contains dunes. The STD and drainage water simulations simulate the effect of erosion in the first zone while they define the boundaries of the site and analyze the topography for construction in the second.