The Grid
First Place
2017 SkyCity Challenge 17
S0212    [ EGYPT ]
Ziad Zaki / Amr Auf / Mohamed Mamdouh 
“The Grid” is designed for Skycity courtyards and played by the building users, who collaborate together to build up their own designs. Those people use specific building elements, tailor made for the game, to create forms that suit their own needs, or even for having fun.

It is crucial to consider playing as an important stress relief in the design. Fun is a common language that all people speak. In the Grid people of different backgrounds, ages, genders, and nationalities are able to cooperate in physical activities; they will blend together while conceiving and implementing their unique designs; leaving their impact on the shared space. The Grid is a catalyst to break barriers between people by getting their creativity unleashed in a dynamic environment.

The Grid’s elements are simple, light and easy to use suiting different people capabilities and ergonomic standards. Despite the simplicity of design elements, there are no limitations to what these elements can create. They can create countless forms and functions like gathering areas, booths, exhibitions, workout activities, auditorium, games, bookshelves and reading areas, and much more. Building activities don’t have to be exhausting. People can join the courtyard to create a simple hammock to relax, or a seating to listen to their favourite music. Although the Grid brings people together and enhances social bonds, but it also keeps some room for privacy when needed. In many times, people will be using The Grid to create experimental or spontaneous designs. People are expected to act in a way similar to being on the beach where they build their own sand castles using simple tools. Similarly, they would use The Grid’s elements to create their designs in Skycity courtyard.

Skycity was designed and prefabricated on a modular grid to ease the process of building. As a result it was the fastest tower built around the world. Similarly, The Grid uses the same concept of prefabrication of fixed size elements to ease the process of building for Skycity users, and help them be creative by making their own structures adjustable to endless adaptations.

The Grid can host organized events like exhibitions and concerts, some of which can be a source of income to Skycity. This income can be used for elements’ maintenance or serving the rest of the building which makes The Grid financially sustainable. Skycity administration can organize periodic schedules to operate the Grid according to different needs and planned events. The schedule of the Grid can be managed through an interactive mobile app, designed to help people virtually conceive their designs before implementation, and check the structural safety as well before doing the physical work. Through the app they can also find
featured designs of former users of The Grid, and they can also make bookings of special events held in the court.

The Grid is constructed by installing a 1m*1m grid of steel skeleton to the courtyard’s ground. Fixed nodes are attached on top of the intersections of this skeleton, and an infill of 30cm thick rubber floor is placed between nodes to prevent the consequences of falling hazards. All elements used in The Grid are covered by a rubber layer as well to make sure that the whole court is user friendly responding to safety concerns. Elements are easily stacked for storage on the edge of the courtyard, with accessible heights of less than two meters. This storage volume is large enough to contain large number of all elements, yet it is a small slice that keeps the courtyard a spacious place.

A design is considered successful not only when it is beautiful, but when people love to use it, and have some sense of ownership or belonging to that particular space. Instead of creating a static feature in Skycity courtyards, which building inhabitants would get used to after a while, The Grid is always changing by new ideas, generated by unlimited imagination of people, leaving their own impact.
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