The GEN Z Series travels from Sudan, the African continent to the Western Asian nation Lebanon to meet a recently graduated architecture student Christine Daaboul from Beirut. She graduated with a B. Arch degree from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Jounieh, Lebanon. A creative soul from her early childhood, Christine was very active in drawing, painting and sculpture during her growing up years. She even honed her creativity by taking up lessons as Christine was growing up.
During her High School days, Christine Daaboul was even clueless about architecture. Her philosophical mind was wondering during her teenage years. However, when the time came to pursue a particular field after High School, Christine discussed with her family elders. She researched various fields that would satiate her creative mind and soul. Curiosity about architecture became the ultimate choice. Like a fish takes to water, Christine’s creative inclination adapted to architecture course with great interest and passion.
Christine Daaboul reveals, “I believe architecture has allowed me to engage the two sides of my personality – one that is creative and the other that is scientific (smiles). The anticipation to explore how science and technology can improve the performance of a building, both functional and aesthetic aspects of the design is being put into value through architecture.”
Christine Daaboul interacts with Johnny D and elaborates her exploration in the field of architecture.
Your childhood ambition, did you always wanted to become an architect?
I have always been captivated by art and design. I loved drawing, painting and sculpture and even took some art classes at a young age. As I grew up, my interests shifted to some philosophical ways of thinking. Throughout High School, I was not completely sure which field to specialize in, but chose architecture after asking around, doing a little bit of research, and just going with the flow and pressure. Once I entered the program, I utterly fell in love with architecture. It is the perfect combination of design and philosophy.
Briefly describe your project.
In response to various limitations and functional requirements, different strategies of renovation have been adapted in my project ‘Collective Living Space’. The main objective of the project was how to reactivate an old industrial site, without a rich heritage or specificity to its space? In the foreground, the overall project opens towards the factory giving it importance. The volume is also limited by its surroundings on either side. The tram projected from the station to the west gave us the opportunity to create a framework in our own land, where it will be inserted different spaces following the same module.
To unify the already present old factory in the site and the new created volume, while having a rather heavy program, 250 apartments, a character of pixels was adapted throughout the project. This aspect gave the project a lighter and more translucent aspect. The same style of pixels has been adapted on the factory, as well as glass insertion to accentuate the modernization intervention. The factory will be now serving as use for students by renovating its interior areas – creating exhibition halls, common spaces, but most importantly, a vast library and study areas.
What does architecture means to you?
I think architecture is an ever-growing field that holds a lot of yet unexplored potential. I believe that by conducting studies, adapting with surroundings, creating patterns and landmarks or even revalorizing a built area, architects can enhance a person or even the entire areas’ quality of life and everyday mood. An architect can change whole atmospheres by embodying a simple vision created in their minds and making it a reality.
How has it influenced your life as an architecture student?
As an architecture student, the Course is known to be heavily packed. Not only it takes physical and mental perseverance for an individual, but also it becomes a lifestyle as one progress in life. We learn some of the ways one can approach a design problem and provide architectural solutions to it. We then create our own philosophical way of approaching things to create designs to benefit the society at large.
Which National or International architect has influenced you? Please specify as to why?
My answer would definitely change every once in a while, but one of the architects that have influenced me the most through the past years would be Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Other than his attention to detail, Zumthor’s way of giving cinematic feel to architecture is incomparable. I find his way of leading a person through the project is quite poetic. The quality of his structures seems to be timeless!
How can architects of the present times overcome the ‘Climatic Catastrophes’ to safeguard the community at large for the safe future of the coming generations?
Climate change has been a serious topic haunting the world lately. As buildings are a major element in global warming, there are ways to help with this matter as an architect. The obvious way would be the use of renewable energy, which can be easily included in every project. Another way would be to adapt with the existing buildings and their surroundings using smart sustainable materials. For buildings that are already in place, specific strategies would be implemented to each unique building working towards its needs and what it could provide. That could be, for example, lowering carbon emissions. Another way, I would like to add would be following the SDGs according to each building’s environment.
Briefly write about your University and Course.
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik holds an amazing diverse students life on campus, where I got to make a lot of connections. During my undergraduate study, I got to work with brilliant minds that gave me the opportunity to develop my skills and grow my ways of thinking as an architect. The main design studio is the most important course that consists of a given site with a specific problematic, and it is for each student to solve the issues and create their projects from A to Z. So by the end of the semester, each and every student would be providing a unique project answering the same problems that were haunting the same site. This course led me to realize how diverse architecture really is and how our minds work in very different yet exclusive ways.
Which significant aspects of the global platform www.zerobeyond.com did you liked the most, and why?
The articles on the website are not only informative and educational, but also work as some sort of ‘call for action’, precisely, the articles concerning ‘World Architects on the Climate Crisis’. It is a daily reminder for our true purpose as architects of today to create a better environment, while being careful of any damage that could be ruining our earth.
Another feature that makes this website exclusive is the opportunity given to GEN Z to express themselves as young students and architects around the globe. I find this exchange between the elder and the younger communities very effective and somewhat powerful, as each can learn from the other.
Image Courtesy: Christine Daaboul