FADAA uses bio-concrete screens to shade D/O Aqaba retail space


Crushed shells were used to form the bio-brick partitions at this store for a decor brand in Aqaba, Jordan, by architecture studio FADAA.

Designed by the Jordanian studio for Decoration One, the D/O Aqaba retail space is a flexible showcase for the local brand’s craft-focused homeware and ornaments.

Objects on display in the D/O Aqaba store
Bricks made from crushed shells act as sun shades and spatial dividers in the D/O Aqaba store

To protect the interior from the harsh south sun, the studio implemented partitions of stacked hollow rectangular bricks based on the traditional mashrabiya screens found in Islamic architecture.

These bricks are made from the shells of oysters, mussels and clams left over as waste from the coastal city’s seafood restaurants.

Bio-brick screens used as spatial dividers
The bio-bricks are stacked into gridded screens

The shells were crushed and used as aggregate for a bio-based concrete that sequesters the carbon from the molluscs’ protective calcium carbonate coverings.

This material is pressed into a mould to form the brick shapes, dried to harden, and finally assembled into the gridded screens.

Store interior with furniture and displays

As well as shading the shop, the partitions help to divide the boutique and guide customers around the interior.

“Working alongside Decoration One’s craftspeople, a materiality-driven approach created the concept of a flexible retail store that embraces craft and low-carbon materials,” said the FADAA team, led by architect Bisher Tabbaa.

Sales counter clad in blue tiles
Colour is introduced through blue zellige ceramic tiles cladding the sales counter

Lime-plastered walls and native plant species also feature in the store to create a “healthy indoor environment”.

To accommodate Decoration One’s ever-changing collections, modular oak tables and sheer curtains can be moved and rearranged to organise the space as desired.

More tables, made from hand-chiselled local basalt and limestone, contrast the wood furniture and offer alternative ways to display the products.

A splash of colour is introduced by the zellige ceramic tiles that clad the curved sales counter.

Crushed shells form an aggregate for a bio concrete that is moulded into bricks
The bio-bricks are formed in moulds and feature hollow centres

“Embracing the craft nature of the project as well as economically supporting local industries, materials such as zellige and mother of pearl inlaying were used throughout the design,” FADAA said.

D/O Aqaba is shortlisted in the Sustainable Interior category for this year’s Dezeen Awards, along with projects including a restaurant in London and an office in Tokyo.

The bricks offer a sustainable alternative
The crushed shells form aggregate for the bricks and are visible across the surfaces

Bio-bricks are growing in popularity as a sustainable building material and a variety of compositions have been trialled over the past few years.

Bricks made from mushroom mycelium, sugar cane, charcoal and even human urine have all been put forward as environmentally friendly options.

The photography is by Bisher Tabbaa.

Project credits:

Team: Bisher Tabbaa, Sarah Hejazin, Qussai Yousef


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