Naga Studio Architecture



Architecture must be placed within a broader philosophical milieu. Architects can no longer afford to lag behind and linger in the post-industrial, post-classical mechanistic models. The Bergsonian attitude towards philosophy that : it "cannot and must not accept the relation established by pure intellectualism between the theory of knowledge and the theory of the known, between metaphysics and science", provides an appropriate philosophical model for architecture today. Deleuze and Guattari, invoking similar disposition, consider Nous and Physis, (metaphysics and physics), the two facets of the plane of immanence of concepts, the planomenon. Henri Bergson stated that "[…] form is essentially extended, inseparable as it is from the extensity of the becoming which has materialized it in the course of its flow. Every form thus occupies space as it occupies time." Bergson's statement sums up the two fundamental principles that inform the basic tenets in my experimentation in architecture : the state of becoming and the flow. Architectonic and topological manifestations follow different behavioral patterns of becoming in response to the forces and flows inherent within, metaphorically or typologically. They both have internal codes of behavior "esoteric attributes" and external codes of influence, "exoteric attributes". Their rules of engagement are interdependent : A topological continuum may "gravitationally" cause the unfoldment, twisting, or bending of planes or volumes. Conversely, the flow within emergent architectonics may rupture, warp, or deform a continuous membrane. Fixity and stasis may occur only at a thresholding instance (a point of suspension) where flows are moving in opposing vectors : A subversive counter-state to the point of inflection in a topological continuum. Would Deleuze's concept of inflection (a state of ambiguity and weightlessness) allow for an instance of meta-stasis, a reversal of vectorial purpose and desire, at a point of intersection ? A point of turbulence. Architectonic volumes (imploding or exploding) that intersect with topological conditions, effectively become turbulences in the flow of continuous surfaces. Within this philosophical paradigm, morphological concepts (topological or architectonic) cannot be adequately generated within the framework of Cartesian coordinates. An alternative spatio-temporal coordinate system suitable for simultaneous unfoldment of space and time, becomes an inevitable evolutionary step. [We are currently developing a coordinate system, Tetra-Vectors ©, that employs the four vectors of a tetrahedral system as basic vectorial coordinates (Vt1, Vt2, Vt3, Vtn). In this system, spatio-temporal Vt values are imputed to each of the four vectors. Thus each point in space falls within a particular tetra-quadrant. The fourth vector carries an intrinsic potential (t) value for that point to vibrate, to become activated into motion (i.e. Vt1, Vt2, Vt3, Vtn º Vt1, Vt2, Vt3, Vtn+X) (fig. 1)] Within those Vt vectors, a planomenon of architectonic fragments or topological continuums are imbued with a projective becoming. An inherent instability and fragile equilibrium permeates the behavior of space. This architecture aspires to creating space that is simultaneously emergent and convergent, imploding and exploding. Space that is physically and metaphysically charged with the desire to transform, transmutate, and transfold itself.

Tarek Naga



ESK House
(House of Emergent Suspensions)
Le Caire, Egypte, 2000

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naga studio
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naga studio

Three states of suspension, defining aspects of the client's life, constitute and define the morphologies and spatial behavior of the house : first, as a Filmmaker (suspensions of disbelief) ; secondly, as a Satellite Engineer (non-gravitational suspensions) ; thirdly, as a Water Polo Player (physical suspension in water). Metaphorically, the suspensions are the Primordial, Ontological, and Cosmological conditions. Their spaces emerge around an "Axis of Ascent" in an upward trajectory. Thus, gazing onto celestial bodies originates at a symbolic primordial point of "emergence from water". The domestic spaces are arcing along an "Axis of Descent", overlapping, but not intersecting, with the axis of ascent. It is a descending arc connecting the sleeping quarters with the living area pointing towards the lower plateau of the land. A vessel membrane contains and carries the house components. It is suspended on the hillside to provoke a sense of instability on one side, while it is cradled by the continuous contours, on the other, to evoke a sense of comfort and stability.


Marina International Hotel
Marina del Rey, Los Angeles, USA, 1998

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naga studio

This project is intended to function as a dramatic landmark for the Marina. The vertical tower component consists of two slabs that hinge at the corner. The edge condition created is a smooth knife-like shard that moves both upward and downward. A smooth elliptical volume floats horizontally over the inner court level, sliding and carving the negative void into the tower base. The intersecting forces of both vortices (vertical and horizontal) carve out the special public restaurant entry. On the narrow edge of the split tower slabs, a folded plate climbs up wrapping the sides and unfurls at the top creating a roof garden's shed. That event overlaps with a suspended bar-in-the-sky twist that cantilevers out. The top bar's twist marks the extensity of the force of the vertical vortex originating at the bottom corner. The narrow folded plates act as accelerators, while the curvilinear continuous membranes act as decelerators. The intended affect is to create a slow hovering motion at the base layer, and a forceful fast rushing upward motion.

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Sharm Safari Gate
Sharm el Sheikh, Sinaï, Egypte, 1997

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naga studio
naga studio

In Egyptian history and mythology, the Sinai desert is the quintessential condition of wilderness and nomadism. A facility that is designed for the exploration of such a rich locale has to take its clues from its natural and symbolic complexity. Mentally and physically, the Sinai explorers cross from the realities and trappings of this century, onto an unknown world of the primordial wilderness of biblical historical time. This became the basis for a narrative of five pods that, metaphorically, are themselves wanderers. In a search for the mystery of the place, they group and regroup, evolve and morph into different entities. One of the pods metamorphosed into an intelligent entity that became their guide. A membrane that hovered above now shielded them. Extended tentacles tenuously attached down. In an act of defiance, the "pod of flight" penetrates the shield and nestles above the folded plates. It's so desired to witness flight, the very act of its raison d'être. A place for nomadic explorers is itself conceived by a nomadic myth. The architecture is imbued by the very function that it is assumed to perform.

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The Red Sea Resort
Hôtel et Villas (prototypes I, II et III)
Hurghada, Mer Rouge, Egypte, 1993-94

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naga studio

The overall configuration of the landmass extends out in two armatures embracing the seashore. Breaking into smaller fragments, and filtering into the sea, it creates the illusion that the tranquil water had the power to cause such an event. At the point where the base breaks apart, the horizontally bound architectonic shards of the hotel and the public functions seem to have spawned the more delicate and fragile structures of the villas. Emerging from the lagoon, is a sweeping arc of the glass. An animated "tidal clock" glides on its arc, with the rhythmic cycle of the tidal condition. The interstitial spaces captured between the aquarium's upward arcing movement and the flow of the shifting and folding hotel volumes, epitomize a paradox that is inherent in the genius loci of the Red Sea region. In Prototype III (a cluster of 6 villas), the architectonic elements have a tenuous relationship to their base. The outer shell of each unit is composed of jointed folded plates (shields) that allow them to twist, bend, or rotate in an assemblages that differ according to their shifting orientations. The grouping behaves in a repetitive motion that appears "chronophotographic" in nature.


Tarek Naga (1953)

1985/1982 — Ph.D. Candidate, Doctoral Program in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphie
1982 — Master of Architecture, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
1977 — Graduate Diploma of Urban Planning, Aim Shams University, Le Caire
1975 — Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Aim Shams University, Le Caire
1991 — Création de Naga Studio en 1991 à Venice, Californie


1999/1998 — SCI-Arc, Los Angeles, Californie
1999/1998 — Cal Poly Pomona, Department of Architecture, Pomona, Californie
1998/1991 — Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Californie — Boston Architectural Center (87/89) ; University of Pennsylvania (82/84) ; University of Minnesota (79/81) ; Aims Shams University (75/79)

Principaux projets et réalisations

2000 — "Pavillon Egyptien" Biennale de Venise (en cours) ; "House of Emergent Suspensions" (Esk House), Le Caire (projet)
1998 — "Marina International Hotel" Los Angeles, Californie (en cours) ; "Korekosmu" théâtre expérimental et film, Los Angeles
1997 — "The Heritage House" Rochester, Minnesota ; "Sharm Safari Gate" équipements touristiques, Sinaï, Egypte (en cours)
1996/97 — "The Sharm Retreat" Sharm el Sheikh, Sinaï ; "The Malibu Retreat" Malibu, Californie
1995 — "The Raslan's Residence" Jeddah, Arabie Saoudite (projet) ; "The Scandar's Residence" Le Caire ; "Yokohama Port Terminal" Japon (concours)
1994/1993 — "Red Sea Resort" (Afras Village) Hurghada, Mer Rouge, Egypte (projet)
1993 — "Taba Tourist Resort" Taba, Sinai, Egypte (projet)
1992 — "Nara Cultural Complex" Japon (concours) "New horizon Elementary School" Pasadena, Californie (projet)
1991 — "The Mc Millan's House" Silver Lake, Los Angeles (projet)

Publication de Tarek Naga

2000 — "Domestication of Modernity" New Art Examiner, Chicago

Bibliographie sélective

2000 — Global Architecture, GA Houses, Project 2000 (vol.53) Tokyo
1997 — Global Architecture, GA Houses, Project 97 (vol.52) Tokyo
1996 — Surfaces, W.W. Norton & Company, New York ; Global Architecture, GA Houses, Project 96 (vol.48) Tokyo ; L'Architettura (vol.481) Milan
1995 — Global Architecture, GA Houses, Project 95 (vol.45) Tokyo ; Ryuko Tsushin (vol.385) Tokyo
1992 — UIA Conference Publication, UIA Work Group, Le Caire
1986 — "Drawing Towards Building" catalogue d'exposition, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphie ; Personal Choices, Foundation for Architecture, Philadelphie
1980 — Human Spaces, University of Minnesota, School of Architecture, Minneapolis