The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts in Aqaba, Jordan taps into natural light, sounds, and shadows to create a sensorily vivid learning experience for film students. Albeit minimalist and respectful of its environmental setting, RSICA can’t really sport much of an “eco” badge given its $38 million price tag. But the building by s y m b i o s i s design ltd. does do something else we at Green Prophet love to see: draws those who experience the place into visceral contact with its stark desert surroundings.
Architecture in this context is the learning tool. Certain concepts that may be difficult to teach or that are more effectively learned through experience include light play, shadow, and the faintest of nature’s sounds magnified. The s y m b i o s i s team deliberately set out to enhance what we so easily overlook while caught up in our cluttered, noisy lives.
To teach film students about light, s y m b i o s i s created floods of it in some places and only slices in other. Diffused it. Cut it. Swept it. They did the same with shadow, turning it into what they call “matter.”
The surrounding rock creates the element of mystique, the oases are “light wells,” while the institute’s pools reflect the sky above – all in order to keep the students’ eyes and ears from glossing over the desert landscape. In other words, the architecture helps the film school’s attendees see and hear in the same way they are then expected to direct film audiences through their movies.
Even sound is captured with a system of very simple pipes that channel footsteps, rain, wind, and water. This gives learners the same visceral sensation we experience while watching a creepy movie: the shiny black heels tapping on concrete, slowly and then more quickly advancing towards the stupid girl who didn’t make sure her solar flashlight was working before she head home in the dark!
And finally, dealing one last blow of svelte, the facade features film reels of several all-time movie classics. All this in one understated, tasteful, and cinematic design that almost makes me want to change my day job. But not quite.
:: Arch Daily
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