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Transformative Teaching

Focus on Pedagogy 2022
Adaptive Design By Making
K. Musfy et al.
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Adaptive reuse refers to the process of redesigning, converting and reappropriating existing spaces to functions different than the one they are being used for (Caves, 2004). The proposed paper is a case study showing an alternative to this notion by flipping it around and readapt site specific interiors pieces to new programmatic functions in the design learning studio. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, like every other airline in the world, must constantly replace interior fittings for their passenger planes. These parts are kept for a particular period as a statuary requirement. Once the planes are declared outdated, the pieces are discarded as waste. The authors show how a collaboration between the industry and a design school can find possible alternatives to interior airplane waste by introducing the model of ‘adaptive interiority’ into the design learning environment. The proposed paper charters the journey of the authors for developing a teaching model to comply with major design outcomes and at the same time provide an environment for the application of ‘design by making’ approach. A teaching model was devised, tested, and applied within the design curriculum. The approach was to build a 1:1 scale adaptive space by means of technology, flexibility, materiality, reuse, recyclability, and connectivity. Students were arranged into groups and came up with different proposals exploring adaptive ephemeral interiority by adopting the Etihad Airways items as part Zayed University’s campus such as storage, workstations, coffee bar, lounge, food canteen, library, infirmary, and others.


Karim Musfy is a professional and professor with over 20 years experience in academia, consultancy, and development. An Assistant Professor at Zayed University, Karim worked with several consultancy firms and developers including Eisenman Architects, SOM and Perkins & Will managing large projects. Karim managed his own practice while teaching at both the American University of Beirut and Sharjah. Karim holds a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University. His work was referenced and published in numerous publications including Interiority, A+U, El Croquis, and others.

Lina Ahmad is an Assistant Chair at Zayed University. She holds a Master of Architecture from the Architectural Association in London. She has over 10 years of professional experience as an architect. Ahmad’s work has been extensively exhibited including Venice Biennale 2014 and 2019. Ahmad published a book presenting an investigation into the realm of algorithmic architectural design. Ahmad work has been published and presented at various international conference. Ahmad has a passion for recording and highlighting the importance of modern architectural heritage in the UAE, digital fabrication technology, and the concept of “design by making” in the design studio.

Marco Sosa is a RIBA registered Architect and Chair of Design at Zayed University. He holds an MA in Architecture from the London Metropolitan University. Sosa published a photography book about the oldest functional mosque in the UAE. Sosa has also designed, participated and curated exhibitions, nationally and internationally. Marco was appointed part of the curatorial team for the UAE National Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition and catalog featured his work. Sosa is interested in Modern Architectural heritage, materials, their presence as space forming materiality to a ‘place’ and how to integrate digital fabrication in design learning.