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Compromises is a porfolio of architectural work Promises is a book of poetry


Promises is a porfolio of architectural work Compromises is a book of poetry

The book is a series of architecture projects which display the capacity for architecture to deal with dual motives, embedded agendas, and multiplicities. It is an exercise in creating nonbuildings. At the same time, the book is a multiplicty within itself, in which a project is framed within the larger associations, poetic or prosaic around which agendas and desires are formed. This book is a series of architectural promises, and compromises.

Critical Multiplicities The book is a series of poems, notes, and stories that emphasize the possibilities for embedding reality into , well, reality. The poems riff off of architectural drawings, processes, and fragments. This book is a series of poetic promises, desires for text to imply a new reality. But this book is also a series of compromises, colored architectural.



1 Lock Project

2 Campus Plan

3 Modular Mosque

pg 3

pg 9

pg 15

4 Greenhouse

5 Caravanserai

6 Misc. + Resume

pg 21

pg 27

pg 33


The project called for a building which moves with the locks on which it sited. The proposal is for a Maritime Museum , in which the boats passing through the lock become part of the exhibit, turning the space of the lock into that of stage and theatre. The three museum buildings move as the locks move, allowing for new configurations of galleries and processions though connected and disconnected museum space.

Ma r it ime Museum Jeffrey sat down beside me, after final review, and explained everything. He said, “The point is to learn to deal with frustration in architecture. Frustration as not only a hinderance, it is not, but as a motivator for creativity. Frustration with the form, with the client, with the contractor, with your entire cosmology. There is no blue sky. There are no hands tied. There is only the back and forth rocking, of your cradle under the stars.” I’m paraphrasing of course, but that was the jist of it all.



Instructor : Jeffry Burchard Site : Boston GSD Fall 2012

Model photo

The site is both museum and functional lock , as the boats pass through the lock, the buildings move creating new galleries and new adjacencies within the channel. One the boat is in the lock, it is on display, a new feature in the museum , temporary but didactic. As the galleries move once more, the boat leaves, and escapes the exhibit ; the galleries shift once-more and new museums are created, new exhibits are prepared.


Mechanism study mode

Mechanism study on site

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Interior Render


Rendered axonometric of Museum components

Sometimes when I’m lying in bed and the streetlight paints my room a burning orange I thank god that you’re just a woman and not an ocean. Hearts are far easier to mend than ships.


Section perspective of the three stages


The proposal is for a sinuous infrastructure, a building that can act as cartilage while also creating public spaces and amphitheaters. Current models for campus centers call for landmark buildings, that bankrupt the institutions that build them but only add a single building to the campus itself. This project suggests a non-existent campus center that connects the campus but disappears soon after.

Campus Center Any hallway followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Ascend the stair a little bit to test its a stair. From the top of the building, you cannot see the building.



Instructor : John Hong Site : N/A GSD Spring 2013

Site Model

The scheme was built off of connecting a campus center to several buildings and beginning to create a new center via the stringing of circulation spaces together. The site strategy begins with the negotiation of landform, creating a new landscape for the site, which begins to create the


central public space. The building itself becomes general program, as well as circulatory space within and on top, it becomes part of the new landscape, defining it but diving into it. At the same time the building respects the flows of pedestrians through the campus, shifting out of the way to make a path , or slipping away out of view

Lit up site model

Transverse Section

Longitudinal Section


Interior Render

All the buildings in the world Sound a little like this one Like a long hall And a night that drags me to someone else’s schedule.


In searching I find nothing In longing I leave nothing It is only this building That remains.

Second floor program and walkable roof

Second floor ramp Ground floor program


Generated topography and connections


Underlying Grid

Exterior Render


The project is an investigation of modular systems. The proposal is for a religious center which is built partially below grade and composed of two modules. Girih Tiles and Islamic vaulting were combined and reinterpreted to create a mosque which expresses both the self-similar fractal quasicrystalline tiling as well as the muqarnas and ceilings of traditional mosques.

Modular Mosque

Perhaps your generation has become disillusioned with the infinite. They turn their backs on the explosions of universes within universes. “Trust us”, they say, “infinity is no place for a generation to lay their heads”. The grains of sand cannot sleep amidst the sound of waves crashing on the beach. They shrug, the cosmos yawns.



Instructor : John Hong Site : N/A GSD Spring 2013

Section Model

Beginning with two modules, the fundamental parts of the Girih tiles, different methods of aggregating and composing the elements to generate vaults, corridors, rooms, and then a hierarchy of space were tested and aggregated.

Model of rooms and circulation


Tiling studies

Moving towards 3D moduel

Vault modules

Spatial Organization



Ground Floor Plan

Site Plan


Interior Render

One day Yasoda took her child on her lap and suckled Him. She kissed her son again and again. Just at that time the child yawned. When he opened His mouth, the mother saw the whole universe within it. She saw the sky, the space between the earth

and the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the four quarters, fire, air, oceans, continents, mountains, rivers, forests, islands, and all things in the universe, animate and inanimate. Yasoda who saw the whole universe within the mouth of her own son, shuddered

and closed her eyes immediately in great fear. She was struck with wonder. This very moment, she requested Lord to be her son alone and never ever show her this form of almighty. - Story of Krishna


The project called for the insertion of a greenhouse into the landscape of the Wellesley Campus. The proposal combines an urban form derived from the campus itself with the morphology of connected ecosystems. The result is something between the urban and pastoral, a greenhouse and a trace of a city, an ecosystem and a street.


We must use man as a constructive ecological force, teaching them ecological literacy. We must use man as a constructive ecological force - inserting adapted terraform life : a plant here, an animal there, a man in that place - to transform the water cycle, to build a new kind of landscape. Its aim is simple: to maintain and produce coordinated patterns of greater and greater diversity. - Frank Herbert



Instructor : John Hong Site : Wellesley Campus, MA GSD Spring 2013

Greenhouse Section Model

The exercise began as a series of urban transformations, applications, and explorations of the site. After generating a morphology appropriate for the Wellseley campus, the section, and plan were calibrated to allow for different ecosystems to co-exist and to shift into each other. Through the use of different shading, different heights, water amounts, and windflow the building becomes urban-scape and eco-scape. Site Model


Second Floor Plan

Ground Floor Plan


Exterior Render

What can be said when the day comes and they build their homes on your tired shoulders ? What can I say when they sow exhaustion into your body or plant sadness in your chest what can I say to you ? Do I cry for you ? Do I cry for me ?

Section Model Interior


Exploded Site Layers

Urban Proposals and Analysis



The project is a skyscraper in Dubai which makes use of the caravanserai typology to begin to interlace the hotel and non-hotel program to create new communities and encourage strange and spontaneous cohabitaiton. By changing the skyscraper type to one with three atria, or three courtyards - a gym, a spa, and entertainment/hotel - with rooms populated throughout, the hotel can begin to cause friction that the society itself avoids. This lack of friction and intermingling is something a caravanserai can bring back into the culture that discarded it.

Caravanserai “The notion of movement is therefore central to an understanding of the relations between peoples. Identity, seen from a long-term perspective, cannot be viewed as a ghetto or an enclosure, but as the result of a whole process of synthesis and encounter between peoples and cultures.� - Excerpt from The Silk Road



Instructor : Eric Howeler Site : Dubai GSD Spring 2013

Process Models

Caravanserai Type

Delineating adjacencies


Relationships across Gulf

Establishing network of Caravanserai

Converting network to programmatic relationships

Decoupling program

Vertical Stacking

Redefining program allocations


Circulation Diagram

Pool Render






Vertical Circulation

Exterior Render Floor Slabs

On site

The Caravenserai Tower is a combination of Hotel, Gym, Spa, sited along the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. The tower begins as three courtyard buildings which mix hotel rooms with the gym, spa, and hotel program. After the initial mixing, the forms contort to site and environmental pressures, as well as the desires of the individual program. The building shifts to reveal the courtyard, but veils itself in louvres and skews to hide itself from the desert sun.


Pool Floor Plan

Section Model

Hotel Rooms Plan

Model Photo - Rear


Gym Floor Plan

Transverse Section

Longitudinal Section

Life is a caravanserai that has two doors, I came in one, I went out the other - Emine Ozdamar


M I S C.

Detailing Exercise


Paris - Decontrole Urbain Installation


Exterior Render

GSD Nettemp Installation


EDUCATION 2012-2016 | Harvard Graduate School of Design | M.Arch 1 | Boston, USA 2014 | China GSD Trip | Participant | China and Taiwan 2007-2011 | Georgia Institute of Technology | College of Architecture | Atlanta, USA Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture | 3.78 GPA | Highest Honors International Plan Participant Minor in History Minor in Architectural History Certificate in City Planning Study Abroad Experience 2010-2011 | Paris Program | ENSAPLV | France 2008 | Barcelona Program | UB | Spain 2006 | Bahrain Bayan School | International Baccalaureate Diploma | Bahrain EMPLOYMENT June 2013 - August 2013 | Gulf House Engineering| Bahrain Detailing, and on-site supervision of Riffa Housing Project August 2011 - June 2012 | ELEMENTAL / Alejandro Aravena Architects | Chile Design development and construction documents for CAA project i April 2011 - May 2011 | Est-ce Ainsi | France Model making, 3D renders, diagrams, orthographics. May 2009- August 2009 | Gulf House Engineering | Bahrain On site - shadowing on ‘Riffa Mall’ construction Office of Metropolitan Architecture - ‘Elaf Bank Competition’ July 2006-September 2006 | Gulf House Engineering | Bahrain ‘Grand Mosque’ proposal AWARDS 2014 | GSD Platform 6 Exhibition | Project Featured 2012 | GSD Pavilion Competition | Featured at Exhibition 2011 | Georgia Tech Dean’s Award | Honorable Mention 2010 | Georgia Tech Scholarship | Dominique Bonnamour Lloyd Paris Award 2010 | Competition | 10UP Competition - Top 15 Several semesters | Georgia Tech - GPA | Dean’s List and Faculty Honors INVOLVEMENT 2014 | GSD Student Forum | Student Forum President 2014 | Harvard Arab Weekend | Conference Co-organizer 2013 | GSD Student Forum | Academic Chair 2013 | Harvard Arab Weekend | GSD Chair 2013 | Club Medina | President 2013 | HarvardxDesign | Organizing Member 2012 | GSD Design Thinking Club | Member 2010 | Decontrole Urbain Presentation | France 2010 | Archigraph 2 Exhibition | France 2010 | Career Discovery Program in Architecture | Juror 2010 | John Portman Documentary | Guest Commentary 2007-2008 | International Soccer Team for GT Intramurals | Captain SKILLS Languages

Arabic English French Spanish


Sketchup Rhino Adobe CS 6 Revit

Maxwell Render Kerkythea AutoCAD MS Office

REFERENCES Dr.Suheil El-Masri | Gulf House Engineering | Director of Architectural Design Victor Oddo | ELEMENTAL | Communications Manager Libero Andreotti | Georgia Tech. | Studio Instructor


Profile for Ali Karimi

[Compromises/Promises] - Architecture Portfolio  

Harvard GSD - M.Arch 2016 Instagram @AiKarimi

[Compromises/Promises] - Architecture Portfolio  

Harvard GSD - M.Arch 2016 Instagram @AiKarimi

Profile for sogkarimi

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