The Nomad Pavilion, A Water harvesting sanctuary for Arid Weather

Dina Haddadin
Rasem Kamal

The Nomad pavilion is inspired by the local Bedouin tent, one of the earliest shelters to protect from harsh conditions.

The vision is to create a new interpretation of the authentic tent, blending with its surrounding yet standing out as a sanctuary for visitors; to become a shaded oasis, a gathering rest spot and a source of fresh drinking water.

The pavilion’s geometry was derived from the Black Iris; the national flower of Jordan, which adapts to the desert’s dry environment, harsh sun and strong wind. Furthermore, referencing the wild cactus, the pavilion is designed using multiple layers that overlap to avoid an overheated interior space.

The form is constructed upon the four pillars of Quadrivium, the universal symbol of creation. It is an embodiment of the “seed of life” pattern where the echoed petals rotate to create a space within.

The structure consists of 96 Corten steel pipes, connected with knots for the pavilion to be flexible and strong in severe weather conditions. The central ring at the top holds the structure in compression, whereas the interconnected tension in the structure goes to the ground holding it strongly together.

The skin

Similar to the materials used in Bedouin tents, the structure will be covered with a living breathing skin from coarsely woven goat hair.

The dark surfaces create deep shade, while the coarse weave filters sunlight for an illuminated space. Using textile manipulation techniques, such as traditional smocking, the skin gets a three-dimensional structure, allowing to have a self-shading effect on the micro level, just like a cactus, and the air trapped within the skin’s diamonds will act as an extra insulating layer.


  • The Black Iris

Conceptual models

Additionally, a passive cooling effect will be created as the sun heats the dark fabric, hot air rises above the tent and air from inside will be drawn up towards the high ceiling structure, causing a cooling breeze.

Tthe fabric releases the heat that was gained during the day at night, keeping the inside in a warm comfortable temperature. When it rains or snows, the woven fibers swell, the tiny holes in the fabric close and the skin becomes tighter. The handcrafted smoking technique is a unique tool to empower the local community of the sites selected in Jordan.

A self-sustained drinking fountain will contain all the clean water which will be harvested from dew and fog in the center. A collecting cone at the top of the structure, made from natural fabrics with hydrophilic and hydrophobic qualities, will attract water drops and shed it down the vessel.

  • Elevation

The Nomad Pavilion is an ensemble of geometrical forms, an orchestrated one that reflects the fusion of opposite elements to achieve harmony. It is a permeable space serving as a monument that blends with nature in its form and materiality. As a result of using local natural materials, water collection and energy efficient space, the pavilion attempts to create a closed loop of existence – one that leaves no footprint, one that gives nature time to heal, to regrow, and to flourish.

Project info

Architects: Dina Haddadin, Rasem Kamal
Location: Desert of Jordan
Year: 2018
Area: 50 sq.m
Structure: Asas Engineering Bureau
M.E.P: W&I MEP Consulting
Materials Study: Mira Suradi
Renderings: Pixel Visualization

Project’s diagrams

Water Diagram

Structural diagram

Structural model

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