As an architect, I have been on the constant quest to diversify my knowledge - challenging myself to view the world from a different perspective and to understand the challenges facing the world today and tomorow. The internet became my gateway to the world and a crucial means of reaching out to culturally aware and knowledgeable individuals everywhere. As a knowledge exchange centre my aim is to create an interrelation with academicians, students and professionals by giving them a different perspective of the world around us. This is so to encourage the exploration of the planet, while conserving its natural and cultural resources. And, it is an opportunity to keep track of every creative impulse across the globe. Along the way, I have gained a valuable understanding of how the world operates, cities advance, humanity evolves and the complexities of societies with their defying cultural barriers and physical frontiers. Making a platform which will emotionally connect with a global audience has always been the way I communicate information which I can not otherwise put into words. I have waited a long time for the opportunity to express what captivates my thoughts and feelings; humanity and the environment. I grew up with a deep passion to be an author, a filmmaker, or a visionary going back to childhood. But, it is as an adult that I learned to struggle, cope with setbacks, and fight hard to make myself heard. One of the key ingredients which sums up the work and effort I put into developing 'The Neural House' is the long term commitment to be a responsible member of society, and to give back to the communities we inhabit.


It wasn’t until 2004 when finally something clicked. I started paying attention to expressions like global warming, climate change, carbon neutral and sustainable urban development. I watched with horror when the Indian Ocean earthquake unleashed a series of killer waves, which sped across the seafloor at the speed of a jet airliner. By the end of the day on the 26th December, 150,000 people were dead or missing and million more were homeless in eleven countries - making it the most destructive tsunami in the history of mankind. Seeing people sucked out to sea and the shear scale of the catastrophe from Asia to Africa, instated a deep sense of urgency to think of the reality of our world today. The reality is, it took a natural disaster to make everyone realise the shear scale of catastrophes to expect if humanity continues to disrupt the balance of the planet established by nearly four billion years of evolution. The question is: How to balance the fertility of the earth, against the ferocious demands of civilisation, and a world in constant motion? When did this mass destruction of the earth begin? And, how do we slow it down?

Then came Al Gore’s documentary - An Inconvenient Truth - drawing a broader perspective on the issue of climate change and warning of the dire consequences if we don’t stand up, and do something now.  At the time, I spoke to a few architects to try and build an idea of their thoughts and feelings on the issue of green solutions in architecture.  In the end, the building industry is guilty of shifting millions of tonnes of earth around the globe, the consumption of huge volumes of water, and the release of carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases into the atmosphere.  And, architects are the visionaries dictating the design of buildings, and developing entire cities around the clock around the globe.  But, when it came to understanding sustainability everyone was as confused as I was.  Finally, I was convinced of all the challenges we face addressing environmental responsibility was going to be the hardest to achieve. Individual and business activities, the trends of a society built on a consumption-oriented lifestyle, a disregarding corporate culture, a lack of focus on the long term, and a lack of awareness, and unwillingness to understand inhibit our ability to impact change.  Nevertheless, I decided to go on a personal journey of discovery.  Soon, I understood the profound connections ancient civilisations had with nature, as expressed by the way they built their houses, organised their grid cities, and lived a harmonious life.  I instinctively new I must continue to dig deeper to unravel the ingenious solutions the ancient world employed to live in harmony with nature.  Thus, to make The Neural House a fantastic story telling, an exact account and a compelling narrative, I use a wealth of resources like inspiring architecture, photography, film as well as taking a contemporary look at inspiring solutions to today’s challenges, and drawing parallels with recent history.

Azza Hassan (LOZA)

Founder I Creative Director