Parametric-Cities Studio Travels to Amman Lab


During the fall 2010 semester twelve advanced architectural design students led by Professor Mario Gooden traveled to Amman to conduct field research and to meet with Jordanian officials regarding the redevelopment of downtown Amman. The students conducted site research and reconnaissance for their studio project which entailed the redevelopment of a site in the heart of downtown Amman that is a steep slope starting from the flat floor of the downtown commercial urban space and climbing up until it reaches the residential fabric of Al-Jofeh hill.

While in Amman, the studio met with officials of the Amman Institute including Hania Maraqa - Vice President for Research & Outreach; Abeer Saheb - Director of Planning Projects; and Jerry Post – Founder and General Manager of the Amman Institute. Additionally, the studio met with local architect Ammar Khammash and held a design studio digital pin-up at the GSAAP Amman Lab.

The site for the studio project is the location of landslide in the 1980’s that resulted in a visible gap been in the urban landscape of the city and maintained by a geological collapse in the rocks beneath--- a loose strata of flint and soft limestone. The site now remains as scar, a wound that refuses to heal, and for this reason it remains as a gap in a very dense fabric, and in the minds of Ammanites yet an immense opportunity for redevelopment in the midst of high architectural density.

The site involves the very fundamental aspects of older Amman: geology, topography, urban/commercial areas, residential areas, heritage, road/pedestrian lines, and landscaping issues. The design studio used parametric design tools to reformulate the values between architecture, landscape, and urbanism as well as to research economic and socio-cultural relationships in downtown Amman. 

Student Projects & Recollections of Amman

Ji-Hye Ham

In understanding the larger context of the area, research into the current zoning system of the Greater Amman Municipality was conducted to deduce implications of the socio-economic distribution along with possible patterns of informal program infiltration.

Rodrigo Zamora


Light and shadow, the chosen data set, were analyzed for their capacity to transform space over time through decay (studied at Petra), to expand/contract spaces through heat (studied at our assigned site in Amman), to influence the way humans move through spaces (analyzed in the way people move through Amman), and to be used by individuals as ways of negotiating different social relationships (catalogued in Downtown Amman).

Stefana Simic


The strict Islamic garden typology of axial walkways and central pavilions is well suited for flat terrain but in this proposal it is parametrically adapted and re-conceptualized to make compromises between public pathways and private walkways, what is shielded and what is exposed, what is wall and what is pavilion, what is reinforced and what will soon become hill-side once again.

Adam Gerber


After taking a few photos and dribbling a basketball with children near our site, they suddenly shepherded me into a neighboring apartment building. I met the father of one of the children, he wondered why I was taking so many photos and if he could help me. Over the next few hours, we pointed out the sites of Amman from the roof of his apartment building.

Mark Paz


My semester’s project investigated the informal settlements that have cropped up in Eastern Amman and the broad range of reasons behind their growth, organization and size.

Jose Palacios


After noticing that the bird market had no infrastructure whatsoever, it reminded me of the gipsy caravans that moved from place to place in Europe.

Rebecca Caillouet


Informal markets will serve as an interface between the informal and formal sector.

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