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Research: Design Interventions at Al Azraq Camp

Client: Civic
Year: June 2020
Team: Liyan Al Jabi, Sara Yaseen, Sarah Hejazin, Jafar Al Jabi

Refugee camps present challenging living conditions where basic survival needs can become the overriding focus for families within, which affect the efforts needed for a healthy development of the community in general and children in specific. It is estimated that vast numbers of children living in camps have significant psychological difficulties, exacerbated by the numerous adversities they can potentially experience which are associated with forced migration.

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Recognition of the need for research-based design and urban interventions to help to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian responses has been increasing. Also, interventions in environments that are more easily accessed by children and families are becoming more relevant for distressed populations in refugee camps.

These diagrams are part of a report that represents the comprehensive research conducted by Arini in Al Azraq Camp to understand and analyze the current living conditions of the camp residents, their pastime activities and social relationships. It presents the on-site and off-site studies, observations, interviews, and data collection on Al Azraq region and Al Azraq Camp. In addition to analyzing the existing research, relevant projects, case studies and reports in order to draw holistic and cohesive conclusions and recommendations for design interventions which cater to the families and children of the camp.

The research was concluded under four categories in order to provide a comprehensive design brief to carry the upcoming design process forward:

Location | Scale | Program | Material

Study of Housing Mock-up Building in Ras Al Ayn

Analysis & recommendations

Client: UNDP Jordan

Project: Heart of Amman

Commission: Research and analysis of Housing Mock-Up building

Team: Mohammad Al Jabi, Sara Yaseen

Images: Arini

A comprehensive analytical and architectural study of the housing mock-up building in Ras Al Ayn Park was carried out in January 2020 as part of the ‘Heart of Amman’ project by UNDP. It was a part of a second phase after the rejection of the initial site (Habib Zyoudi) via GAM’s assessment. This analysis included drawings and images of the house in addition to data from its surrounding environment.

The study was conducted in two scales: within a 500m radius range,  in addition to the building itself on a micro-scale. The analysis was followed up with design recommendations for optimizing the space as a location for consultation and receiving professional advice (Incubation hub).

Year built: 2016

Footprint: 146 sqm

Total area:  210 sqm

Current condition (2020): poor; needs maintenance and repair. Non-functioning utility.

The history of the house

The house was constructed as part of “As Sakan Al Muyassar”, a competition launched in February 2015 by UN-Habitat. It aimed to serve the greater goal of providing 30K small housing units for Jordanian families earning a middle income. This mock-up typology served as a live demonstration for these families and investors alike.

Macro analysis

The house is rather introverted in position, situated on a lower level and surrounded by high-crowning vegetation, making the views from the building outwards and vice versa more than partially obstructed. The footprint of the building it significantly smaller The site is part of the cultural district near GAM. There is a high concentration of commercial and industrial activities to the south of the building and a medium to high concentration of residential units on the northern side. The building may be accessed on foot through two entrances from the southern side. These may all be valuable points of potential consideration for activating the park together with the program adapting to the building.

Workshop: Design interventions at Al-Azraq Refugee Camp

Client: Civic

Year: June 2020

Team: Liyan Al Jabi, Sara Yaseen, Sarah Hejazin, Jafar Al Jabi

This workshop was part of a research on Al Azraq Refugee Camp to co-design interventions in public spaces across the camp. The workshop sessions created informal discussions around the participants’ memories of play and play areas in their hometowns in Syria. They reflected on the different perceptions of play and the definitions of the tools used for playtime and games. The participants were asked questions on what they used to play with growing up and where they played, all while shedding light on how playing in cities (via playgrounds and play areas) is different than playing in rural areas, with the latter depending on natural landscapes and open spaces.

The participants were encouraged to reflect their childhood memories of play on their current environments using accessible resources, materials and tools. They were also asked to share their thoughts on the existing playgrounds, childcare services and play tools at the camp.

Remote workshop

The original intentions of conducting a live workshop at the camp were revoked upon the COVID-19 outbreak and the strict lock-down that followed. A remote workshop that used WhatsApp as a communication medium was selected as an alternative. The workshop material was revised and optimized for distant communication. It was transformed to prints, stickers, mapping games, game cards and colors. 10 participants were chosen from three villages at the camp.


The team prepared 7 videos to be shared with the participants in order to explain the assignment and the instructions for completing the attached sheets.


Thirty kits were packaged and shipped to 30 different Syrian families at the camp. Each kit contained eight different media sets:

  • Introductory Brochure
  • Social Status Questionnaire
  • The Neighbourhood kit
  • Gamecards
  • Satisfaction Questionnaire
  • Storyboard
  • Children’s board game
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Analysis and Case Studies for Habib Zyoodi House and the neighboring area

Client: UNDP Jordan

Project: Heart of Amman

Commission: Research and analysis of Habibi Zyoudi (Poetry House) and for the possibility of having a successful and ethical adaptive reuse project.

Team: Mohammad Aljabi, Sara Yassin, Zainab Ishaqat, Sarah Hejazin, Muna Alaikash.

Images: Arini, Greater Amman Municipality and the Architect's archive


The Habib Zeyoud House is a true gem in almost all aspects, starting from the house’s history that predates the modern Kingdom of Jordan, to its inhabitants and its unique location and architectural language. The house stood witness to the birth of Amman governorate and the

The aim of this study is to investigate the site and to unlock its potential to support the neighboring community by developing a comprehensive plan that contains permanent and temporary functions that can span throughout the year.

Furthermore, the report will explore the notions of ethical adaptive reuse processes and how it should be carried out correctly while balancing between ethics and aesthetics.

Keywords: Heritage, adaptive reuse, interim program, urban interventions

House Typology

The definition of the typology of this house was based on an interview with Dr. Rami Daher and the research of Janset Shawah regarding the houses of Amman during that era.

The house is defined as an Ammani House which is the combination of a Lebanese 3-bay house that was modernised with a flat roof and distinguished elements.

Fawwaz pioneered this style and it is considered a unique style that defined the architecture during the British mandate.

Dr. Daher considered this style to be the start of modernity in Jordan.

According to Shawah, there is no longer a storey division into ground floor and noble level. Each storey forms an independent household, and individual houses are usually single-storied. The entrance is usually through the front elevation that also holds the most distinguished element of the Ammani house: the triplet opening topped with flat-arch lintels – an heirloom of the British mandate. Another element strikes a standardized note in this model of houses: the front entrance porch covered with a protrusion resting on two columns1.

“Another feature of this model is the general absence of any delicate ornament to decorate the façades. The general air emitted by the elevations is one of plainness. They still abide by the general lines of the three-bay Renaissance residue, yet there is a certain modern abstraction to the lines of these crisp façades” (Shawash, 2003)

Construction Phases

1- Original layout: Based on the drawings of the architect, the house didn’t have a basement and had a horse stable.

2- The house extension: based on the sudden change in the tiling used in the house. It is evident that the extension and the basement were added at a later stage.

3- The GAM intervention: In order to transform the house into a public building, the municipality added the Habib Zyood Library building to host the library and the administrative staff. They also added the canteen and the storage building with a public toilet on the lower level.

The report included a detailed history of the house and the architect which is important to propose an ethical adaptive reuse strategy.


What’s next

1- Urban scale

- 5 Thematic topics were provided as potential interventions. These topics were based on the built environment of the area and its unique topography while tackling the social and demographic aspects of the area.
- The themes aim to re-energize the area’s economy by redirecting the traffic from the Roman Amphitheatre to the mountain by suggesting supporting activities and attractions.
- The themes also aim for finding innovative approaches to transform the built environment and promote long term sustainability through green infrastructures.

2- Poetry House adaptive reuse

- Ethical adaptive reuse methodology is suggested to carry out the physical intervention in the house.
- A comprehensive program was suggested in order to include the women and refugees according to their skill-sets and successful cases from around the kingdom.
- The program aims to utilize the outdoor spaces for interim use as a mean to economically support the area and sustain the project.

Proposal for Outdoor Areas (Overview)

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Outdoor area and program

From the study of the house, its landscape and ratio of built area to open spaces, the outdoor area makes up a big part of the site (80%) and the following is a suggestion of the program for the activation and use of the outdoor area of the site, to its full potential, in line with the proposed functions of the buildings.

Image and approach of the outdoor spaces:

Employing neighborhood residents, especially women, through the interim market and the food produced in the community kitchen, while generating income for the families and footfall to the site.

Encouraging the involvement of all age groups in the neighborhood, especially students of nearby schools, through the Learning Gardens principle, which also promotes a healthy lifestyle, by allocating parts of the soft landscape (e.g. the green plot by the security building) as planters, whose products could be used in the community kitchen and the outdoor market.

Interim outdoor market stalls of simple construction. The stalls could be designed in a way that would make them double as benches when not in use.
Permanent year-round seating area on the platform next to the house, serving the community kitchen and the poetry house.

Self-sustaining approach: some of the seats in the seating area could be made of recycled materials or waste from the houses in the neighborhood, and assembled in the workshop. The food prepared in the community kitchen could be made from the plants grown in the learning garden on the site.

The outdoor areas:

The lower terrace:

Observation/lookout point: based on statistics of tourists visiting the Roman Theatre and Hashemite plaza, in addition to personal observations during site visits, a good number of tourists visit the Roman theatre and its adjacent museums, and some even take the trip up to the poetry house to get another view of Amman. With the improvement of the walkways leading to the site, the project is expected to receive more footfall from the Roman Theatre visitors. Thus the lower terrace would still be functional as an open platform for tourists and locals alike. The terrace was also used for events conducted by the poetry house in its active years, so it could also serve as an additional activity space for the house.

Seasonal/temporary market: Based on the local case studies of Souk Jara, Baraka destinations, and Iraq al-Amir, their success and ability to empower women and involve them in the economic and social growth of the society, the proposed outdoor intervention in the lower terrace is an interim market for the crafts produced in the workshop and the food prepared in the community kitchen. The temporal character of the market while alternating with the terrace as an interaction platform and observatory creates a dynamic and refreshing atmosphere in the site and ensures that the outdoor spaces are active year-round.

Terrace on house level next to the house:

Outdoor seating area that serves the visitors of the community kitchen. A ramp for the disabled could be accommodated in the path directly adjacent to the house. To increase the community’s involvement, some of the seats could be made by the women and/or teens in the workshop. This terrace could also accommodate events related to the cultural agenda of the poetry house.

Cantine terrace:

Outdoor seating area for the community kitchen.

Incubator terrace:

Additional outdoor activity space and seating area that serves the incubator. The terrace is well-shaded throughout the day (given the shadows cast by the residential buildings in the southern side of the site), connects to the community kitchen, and overlooks the entire site.

Green area next to the police station:

This area could be used as a planter, following the concept of “learning gardens”, to encourage the participation of teens and children of the neighborhood in the growth of the project, given the high rate of teens and children from the nearby schools. The area would also include the ramp for the disabled leading to the incubators.

The potential benefit of the interim market

Temporary interventions definition: Bishop and Williams conclude that the concept of “temporary” cannot be “based on the nature of use, or whether rent is paid, or whether the use is formal or informal, or even the scale, longevity or endurance of temporary use, but rather the intention of the user, developer, or planners that the use should be temporary.” (Peter Bishop and Lesley Williams. 2012. The Temporary City, London: Routledge, 5). The experimentation and reversibility afforded by such temporary use practices can encourage a multi-layered approach to space use. The local community can also benefit from temporary use projects, as they typically empower marginalized communities by “instilling in them a sense of participation in the creation of a ‘place.’”(Németh and Langhorst, 6). By encouraging public participation in the planning stages of temporary use projects, initiators can catalyze communities around common goals that serve local needs and create tangible outcomes.

Following the conclusions from the case studies, as well as the local case studies of Souk Jara and Iraq al-Amir, an interim market in the lower terrace would make for a successful project that uplifts the neighborhood and its inhabitants. In addition, the provision of retail facilities in the area – for example, the vacant stores on Algeria St. And by the Roman Theatre – would be encouraged if the interim market proved to be successful. An existing unplanned spontaneous market is often a good indicator that an area is in need of permanent market facilities.

Food as a growth factor: the community kitchen and food market

Much of the resurgence of the food economy in cities is made possible by the adaptive reuse of existing infrastructure. The millennial food revolution comes back to the abandoned infrastructure or buildings, benefits from their centrality while strengthening urbanity, and builds upon their history and the character they still hold in their architecture. Part of the proposed program employs food, as food revolution is an inherently relational urban process: food is about producers and consumers sharing a common passion; it is inclusive because everybody eats, all cultures have their own food, and no specific training is needed to prepare food; it’s also scalable and accessible: a successful food business can start with a food truck or shared space in a larger facility, but can easily cluster or grow to occupy thousands of square meters. The small-scale commercial activity generated in the site through the market and kitchen could encourage private enterprises to occupy the vacant stores along Algeria St. And turn them into restaurants or small businesses.

© maani ventures

Primary and Middle Years Program Extension Building 2019

for Al Mashrek International School

Design by Arini
Construction by Maani Ventures

© maani ventures

© maani ventures

Arini designed flexible learning spaces to promote a sense of wellbeing and creativity.

The interactive open-plan design supports the MYP teaching methods conceived the multifunctional spaces/classrooms that allow pupils to decide what to learn, how to learn, and who to learn with. 


Sensory Space

Music Room


© maani ventures

Several elements are spread across different levels with various steps and sloping surfaces that all together form a miniature landscape for children to explore during lessons.

© maani ventures

© maani ventures

Several elements are spread across different levels with various steps and sloping surfaces that all together form a miniature landscape for children to explore during lessons.

Rihla fi Al Hiraf Exhibition

for Amman Design Week 2019

Commissioned by Amman Design Week

Curation, design, and construction by Arini

Site construction manager : Esam Aljabi

Photography by Jenna Masoud , Amman Design Week, and Edmund Sumner

©  Arini

Featuring shops and installations from:

Turquoise Mountain
lrth Collective
Petra National Trust
Safi Crafts
Iraq Al-Amir's Women's Co-Op

Through a journey of discovery into the crafts and materials of Bilad Al-Sham, this showcase offers a different understanding of craft, in which tradition is seen as a sum of the available resources and materials from which we can craft possible futures.

At the level of Omar Bin Al-Khattab Street, Rihla fi Al-Hiraf features crafts from across Jordan; from its northern region to its eastern Badiya, and down to the southern Jordan valley.

The journey starts with the collective craft practices and live-installation of Syrian and Jordanian artisans in Turquoise Mountain's wehda, and moves to the northern region of Azraq and Umm EI-Jimal, featuring basalt stone and desert cosmetics, as well as soaps from Zarqa and textiles from Ajloun in lrth Collective.

Produced in collaboration with Petra National Trust, Siq offers a spatial experience focused on our perception of a journey rather than the final destination.

Following a display of ceramics, clay, and paper recycling produced by the Iraq Al-Amir's Women's Co-Op, the journey ends in the south with the natural dyes extracted by the women of Ghor Al-Safi at Safi Crafts. 

©  Arini

Min Ilā Exhibition

for Amman Design Week 2019

Commissioned by Amman Design Week

Curated and designed by Arini

Construction manager: Esam Aljabi

Photography by Jenna Masoud , Amman Design Week, and Edmund Sumner

Featuring work from:

Reshaping the Vessel by Sama El Saket
aleia & nisf by Najla’a
Fish Tail Lamps by Omar Qubain and Hussein Beydoun
Pattern Play by Lena Kassicieh
Nostalgia by Kaarim Design District
Collection 2019 by in doi
Sakeb by Raghad Saqfalhait & Mariam Dahabreh
Mojahara by Fadi Zumot
Diskur by Paola Farran
Stereomono by Andre Mcheileh
rawe’e by Safieh Hatough
Turabi by Inas Halabi

Material Invoation Room:

Twelve Degrees
Sama Shahrouri
Annette Fauvel
Katja Lonzeck
Lisa Schreiber
Christin Mannewitz

Min Ilā

Min Ilā, meaning “from…to”, references the journeys of materials: min (from) the natural ilā (to) composite states, min (from) raw material ilā (to) crafted form.


Material journeys, “min…ila” offer an experience of the ever-changing nature of crafts and crafted materials of Bilād Al- Shām. The journey “min…ila” is presented in the natural forms on display, the exhibited techniques of transformation, the plasticity or rigidity of new practices, and the materiality of their construction, disfiguration and reconfiguration. The exhibition showcases the changing states and mediums of materials through the multiple and dynamic crafting methods applied; from manual, virtual and computation alteration to digital fabrication.

Kabariti Village

The Crafts District for Amman Design Week 2019

Commissioned by Amman Design Week

Curation, design, and construction by Arini

Site construction manager : Esam Aljabi

Photography by Jenna Masoud , Amman Design Week, and Edmund Sumner

Kabariti Village includes:

100 Boxes
Min Ilā Exhibition
Rihla fi Al Hiraf Exhibition

Commissioned designers:

Ruba Asi
Yazeed Balkar



The Crafts District

ح ر ف
‎ِح ْر َف ة /   إِ ْح تَ َر َف /  َح َّر َف


The Arabic word Hirfa (ِح ْرَفة ) is derived from the root h-r-f and means occupation, trade, handicraft. It is also shown to relate to labor as a source of livelihood sustained through practice, habit, and repetition (إِ ْحتَ َر َف); with connotations of processes of change and alteration (حَرَّفَ).


We move away from the notion of craft and tradition as authentic, singular and frozen to the notion of craft as alive and evolving, ever-changing forms of labor producing objects and transforming oneself. Through a journey of discovery of crafts and materials of the Levant, we aim to a different understanding of craftsmanship, hereby tradition is a sum of resources and materials gathered to craft possible futures.

By combining maps and storytelling with walking and performance, we feature artisan and training workshops, installations in-the-making and shops where products are sold.


Material journeys are showcased through techniques of transformation from natural to composite states and from raw materials to crafted forms.


Visitors, artisans, and designers are taken on a journey through the multiple, dynamic and ever-changing crafts of Jordan’s Badia and Ghor region to the versatility of Levantine materials, as well as, their alteration with digital fabrication and computational design.

Commissioned instalations


Design by Daniel + Qusai

This modular public interactive installation has different compositions of typical seating elements, designed to create a setting that will provoke and encourage social interactions. 

Stitches in Space

Design by Ruba Asi

Stitches in Space is a blown-up play experience for children inspired by the fiber arts that also highlights Amman's 60 year old rattan furniture craft. The installation, which is comprised of four stitching screens and equipped with jute ropes and giant wooden needles is a polemic against the “watching” culture brought about by the pervasiveness of digital screens in the psyche of the modern child.

Reciprocal Frame Tensegrity Pavilion

Design by Yazeed Balqar

A reciprocal frame is a self-supporting structure made of three or more beams arranged in a closed circuit. This pavilion takes reciprocal frames a step further by adding tensegrity to the structure, which is a combination of strut weight and cable tension. 

© Arini


for Amman Design Week 2019

Commissioned by Amman Design Week

Design and construction by Arini

Construction manager: Esam Aljabi

Photography by Jenna Masoud , Amman Design Week, and Edmund Sumner

Nīla served as a prelude to the journey of discovery in innovative craftsmanship at this year’s Crafts District.

© Arini

The installation canopy was made by women in Ghor El Safi (Safi Crafts) using traditional techniques in cultivating indigo and creating dyes, which are then transferred to modern applications in design.

© Arini

© Arini

© Arini

100 Boxes

for Amman Design Week 2019

Commissioned by Amman Design Week

Design and construction by Arini

Construction manager: Esam Aljabi

Photography by Jenna Masoud , Amman Design Week, and Edmund Sumner

100 Gabion Baskets made from wire mesh were filled with limestone to construct the stage for "the Crafts District" exhibition during Amman Design Week 2019.

© Arini

The installation was designed as a module, leaving room for growth depending on the crowds. Multiple levels are created to open more room for interaction.

The limestone gravel was inspired by the landscape done on the site.

© Arini

© Arini

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