Project Credit: Mohamed Sharif

Mohamed Sharif | Visiting Graduate Architecture Critic

The Knowlton School welcomes Mohamed Sharif as visiting critic in the G3 Architecture Design Studio, Cool Urban Archipelago: Chilling out in Terra Therma, with studio instructor Anastasia Congdon.

Studio Abstract

The year is 2040, and the city-state of Chicago is but a few decades away from experiencing peak radical temperature rise rendering its climate profile identical to that of Atlanta's. In anticipation of this change, new Chicagoans enact an ordinance mandating that all new and adapted urban fabric be both internally and adjacently self-cooling.

The inaugural project is a large-scale recasting of Mies van der Rohe's Federal Center which transforms the decommissioned government complex into a municipal pool archipelago, comprising at least 3 frigidaria (small, medium, large) and ancillary functions. However, this is not just a place in which citizens escape extreme heat and humidity, willfully chase shadows to cool off and jump into freezing lagoons to chill out. For it is also a massive refrigerating apparatus and positive microclimatic catalyst. Once a poster-project for the type of architecture that accelerated climate change, the recommissioned ensemble of ferrovitreous skeletal figures and their unifying plaza becomes a climatic modifier. It is an archipelago of coolth that tempers the world around it.

In this studio, students will work in a think-tank mode and in teams to conjure designs that synthesize selective demolition and reconstitution with scientifically informed conjectures.  Appropriating Rem Koolhaas's appropriation of Salvador Dali's Paranoiac Critical Method, environmental principles and related machinic logics will be instrumentalized into architecturally-scaled diagrams. Agile avoidance of the sun and looming atmospheric moisture will be our paranoia, and new atmospheres will be our relief. Dramatized engagements between environmental science, ground, sun, shade, and water will produce architectural manners, passive, aggressive, or both.


Mohamed Sharif

Sharif is a founding partner of Sharif, Lynch: Architecture and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Director of Summer Programs in the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Winner of the Chicago Architecture Club’s 2011 Burnham Prize, Sharif has also garnered awards for projects from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Boston Society of Architects.

Sharif’s essays and reviews have been published in journals and periodicals including 306090, arq, Constructs, JAE and Log. He served on the editorial board of arq (Cambridge University Press) from 2006 to 2016 and currently serves on the advisory board of the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, where he was President from 2007 to 2009.

Sharif earned a B.Sc. (Honors) in Architecture and MS in Advanced Architectural Studies from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture in Aberdeen, Scotland and received the James B. Johnston Thesis Prize. His undergraduate dissertation “On Venturi and Scott Brown” was awarded a RIBA Butterworth-Heinemann prize and was retained in its permanent collection in 1993.

As part of Loose Talks, Sharif will lecture at the Knowlton Hall Big Stairs at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11.