As part of a design exercise, MEAN* (Middle East Architecture Network) has created three 3D-printed proposals for contemporary majlis, an Arabic architecture term that typically refers to the detached area of a home used as a front parlor for receiving and entertaining guests. Created to push the boundaries of 3D printing in concrete, MEAN*’s three majlis designs — the Capsule Pod, the Fluid Space and the Folded Walls — each explore different construction methods and architectural styles in response to the differing lifestyle needs of contemporary Emiratis.
Each 3D-printed majlis design emphasizes access to natural light, curvaceous forms and a fluid, open-plan interior with a foyer, a washroom, a small kitchenette and an open living area to accommodate anywhere from 18 to 25 seated guests. The majlis can also be developed as a freestanding structure or an attached annex to the existing home.
“With the advent of concrete 3D printing technologies, new modular strategies can be envisioned in-line with the challenges and potentials of these technologies to allow for faster, more spatially fluid inhabitations at an ecological and affordable rate,” the designers explained in a press statement. “MEAN* reimagines the spatial qualities of this typology with 3 options for the space depending on the requirements and lifestyle of its inhabitants.”
The 25-seat, minimalist Capsule Pod majlis proposal would be constructed with prefabricated concrete sections that would be hoisted into place with glazed gaps in between to allow natural light to filter through. In contrast, the 22-seat Fluid Space is an annex to the existing home and would include a 3D-printed shell and roof, each constructed separately. The interior is centered on an organically inspired, recessed seating area beneath a large roof skylight. The third majlis proposal, dubbed Folded Walls, features a variety of smooth and textured trapezoidal walls individually printed on-site.
Images via MEAN*