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AKPIA@MIT ALUMNI ( 1981 - present )

Name

Degree

Year

Thesis

Abstract

Biography

Abbas, Yasmine
MIT
SMArchS
2001
E M B O D I M E N T : mental and physical geographies of the neo-nomad
E M B O D I M E N T : mental and physical geographies of the neo-nomad

Globalization is today significantly debated. The ineluctable phenomenon has led to homogenization, hybridization, cultural confusion, and social disorders. The resulting chaos has been translated by a loss of landmarks, which has consequently engendered mental and physical displacements.
New species, hybrids, have emerged from these various cultural encounters. Displaced, these populations of the border, the 'third' space, have developed their adaptation skills, including choice and negotiation, in order to assert a sense of belonging. Among the plethora of today's nomads such as refugees, global workers, and immigrants for example, hybrids are species that have mutated. They have become something detached from established orders, and not attached to any specific place. Like nomads, they move and adapt. Neo-nomads, then, in their effort to adapt and build a sense of belonging not bound to place, reminds us of the traditional nomads.
By analyzing the hybrid, the ensuing spatiality, skins, and geographies of the neo nomad, this thesis offers an open-ended discussion about mobility, connectivity and space. These observations lead to the conclusion that nomads we were, nomads we are, and nomads we will be, always.

 

Abed, Jamal Hicham
MIT
SMArchS
1988
Traditional building trades and crafts in changing socio-economic realities and present aesthetic values: Case studies in Syria
Traditional building trades and crafts in changing socio-economic realities and present aesthetic values: Case studies in Syria

Traditional building trades and crafts made a major contribution to the quality and the character of architecture in the past. The advent of industrialization in the name of modernization eclipsed these building trades and crafts and caused rapid changes of the urban character as well as of the architectural components, resulting in an alienation of the society from the contemporary environment.
Basing the thesis on my study in Syria, I have looked at how the technological development in the region, changes in the socio- economic conditions and the present aesthetic attitudes are affecting favorably or unfavorably these traditional building trades and crafts in all three levels-- men, processes, and products.
The thesis undertook to examine the revival of these traditional building trades and crafts as a potential solution to estrangement in architecture, to look at the feasibility of the return of these crafts to contemporary architectural production, and to study the nature of a reconciled relationship between the two realms of production.

 

AbdelAzim, Mariam
MIT
SMArchS
2014
Re-Urbanizing Ismailia: Using an Urban Infill Housing Approach
Re-Urbanizing Ismailia: Using an Urban Infill Housing Approach

Ismailia is a modern Egyptian city located midway along the Suez Canal, the renowned waterway linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The city was developed in 1983 following a French archetype, in collaboration with the French, who were in charge of the operation of the Suez Canal, to serve as the headquarters of the Suez Canal Authority and to house its mainly French and European staff.
During the ensuing years, Ismailia remained compact and respected a dense and well-organized urban fabric, following its original plan. However, the city was evacuated in 1967 for six years during the Arab-Israeli war (1948-1973). It was in the latter half of the twentieth century, that Ismailia was re-planned and re-inhabited but with many undefined spaces between and within neighborhoods and that didn’t have any clear identity.
These neighborhoods lie within a district called Al- Sheikh Zayed, which occupies the whole eastern half of Ismailia. Rather than develop existing vacant plots in the district, the government plans to expand outside the city peripheries towards the desert, essentially creating an extensive, unsustainable urban sprawl.
This thesis proposes an alternative plan that creates a legible structure and a recognizable identity within one neighborhood at the heart of the Sheikh Zayed district. Using an urban infill strategy, this proposed plan is based on the premise that compact cities are more sustainable because dense areas share the same infrastructure and public services, are more walkable and bikable, and therefore they save energy and reduce pollution. 
Through tracking the historic urban development of the city and the analysis of the different urban elements and the site analysis, I identify a design solution for this district that can serve as a model development within Ismailia and can be applied in underdeveloped urban areas within other Egyptian cities. The outcome of the thesis is then an urban design proposal for the Sheikh Zayed neighborhood with a block design and a general landscape scheme.

Mariam is an architect who holds a BSc. in architecture from the American University in Cairo (AUC). After being one of the first group to graduate from architecture at AUC, she worked as a teaching assistant in the department of Construction and Architectural Engineering there. She is currently in her second year in the Master of Science in Architecture Program in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. Mariam has always been passionate about reviving the rich history and architecture of Egypt and reclaiming its public spaces. Her interests include public space and contemporary urbanism. She is currently working on her thesis, which focuses on the redevelopment of the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, her hometown in Egypt.

Abu Hantash, Tawfiq Faris
MIT
SMArchS
1989
Ibn Khaldun and the city: A study of the physical formation of medieval Cairo
Ibn Khaldun and the city: A study of the physical formation of medieval Cairo

This essay is an application of Ibn Khaldun's theories of culture and civilization to a study of the physical formation of medieval Cairo . The study is based on the premise that the city is an historical process governed by an underlying set of cultural conditions. Those conditions manifest themselves in the physical form of the city. Ibn Khaldun formulated his theories as tools for investigating the nature of social phenomena. He considered such investigation a necessary step towards understanding and recording the historical events. His concept of history, stated in the first part of this study, is based on a cyclical pattern of cultural change which leads to the rise and fall of civilization. The city in his framework becomes an aspect of civilization following the same inevitable evolutionary pattern. The first part of this study examines those theories and focuses on their important aspects. The second part introduces some historical facts about the evolution of medieval Cairo and analyses them using the premises of Ibn Khaldun's theories. The reports of al-Maqrizi - a fifteenth century historian of Cairo - provided the historical information necessary for this investigation. The study raised some issues concerning the use of Ibn Khaldun's theories in pursuing such kind of studies, and the knowledge of the Islamic city which need to be reassessed. Those issues are presented in the last section under Reflections.

Architect and Managing Partner, GDAR Group For Design and Architectural Research

Agrawal, Vivek
MIT
SMArchS
1993
Reading context in design
Reading context in design

This study explores how, in the process of design, the reading of an existing order in the organizing features of a setting potentiates form.
For this purpose, a design exercise on a site in the city of Jaipur in India has been chosen. The focus of the study lies in the way in which the natural and built environment of the site might relate to the larger urban context and its extensive systems and tightly controlled parts. It attempts to extract the essential elements of form and space in the natural and designed environment, and to discover their principles of organization.
This study is conceived in an effort to internalize the tenets of a fundamental language in design process - one that rejects the mediation of styles, and gains its validity both from existing aesthetic structures and from a reality which would affect and alter these structures.

 

Ahmed, Iftekhar Khondkar
MIT
SMArchS
1991
Up to the waist in mud!: The assessment and application of earth-derivative architecture in rural Bangladesh
Up to the waist in mud!: The assessment and application of earth-derivative architecture in rural Bangladesh

This thesis is about architecture that uses earth as the prime· building material in the context of rural Bangladesh. In extreme environmental conditions of annual floods, rain and atmospheric humidity, the use of earth, the most readily available building material, faces serious constraints. Yet examples of earthen architecture abound there. Other parts of the world endowed with similar climatic and socio-economic conditions also yield interesting examples of such architecture. The advent of imported, industrial building products has disrupted the long-standing indigenous building traditions. New social, cultural, economic and environmental conditions necessitate the upgrading of local building techniques. In recent years, much work and research has been conducted to develop improved techniques of building with earth. Not all the improvised methods can be applied in the context of rural Bangladesh, yet some do indicate potentials for application. Methods of evaluating such applicable techniques, and of formulating design guidelines and principles for using them in rural Bangladesh form the main subject matter of the thesis.

Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed received his master’s degree through the Aga Khan Program in 1991 after completing his thesis entitled, "Up to the Waist in Mud: The Assessment and Application of Earth-Derivative Architecture of Rural Bangladesh", which was later adapted as a book. Pursuing this career field, Dr. Ahmed returned to his native Bangladesh where he has since been teaching at the Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. In between, he completed his PhD at Oxford Brooks University, UK, on low-income rural housing. In the past ten years, Dr. Ahmed has written and delivered many papers on sustainable low-income housing as well as edited several books including, "Low-Income Housing: Multidimensional Research Perspectives" and "Village Infrastructure to Cope with the Environment"; presenting he his co-authoring a book entitled "Building Safer Houses in Rural Bangladesh". He has further worked as a consultant to Bangladeshi firms as well as NGOs, has served as a nominator for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, has led workshops for housing programs, and continues to pursue independent design and research. He has an office with his wife, interior designer Aida Ahmed, and together they have a two year old son, Ekushey.

Ahmed, Imran
MIT
SMArchS
1992
The journey from New Delhi to Islamabad: Dependence and subversion in the ambivalent expression of nationhood
The journey from New Delhi to Islamabad: Dependence and subversion in the ambivalent expression of nationhood

This thesis addresses the critical terrain on which the colonial and post-colonial narratives of identity take shape. Taking Gayatri Spivak's aphorism that imperialism requires a rereading "not because Empire ..... is abstract, but because Empire messes with identity" as its premise, it attempts to map the spatio-temporal territory of identity expression inscribed between colonial New Delhi - "The King's God Child" - as the capital city of Imperial British India, and post-colonial Islamabad - "The City of Islam" - as the capital city of the nation-state the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The paper identifies a colonial legacy in Islamabad, and establishes the dialogic persistence of socio-spatial structures congruent in both cities. The independent nation status attained by much of the developing world in the last fifty years can be taken as a change in consciousness: breaking with the past is inextricably linked with the sense that tradition has been dismembered. This has led to a crystallization of memory at the particular moment of independence, and an effort to embody memory within a sense of historical continuity. Effacement of identity, which was once the only means of survival for the colonized, has been replaced by the legitimation of identity. The return to a denied heritage requires a re-invention of traditions which project an apparent coherence. Public architecture, as a form of cultural production, allows the suppression of inherent contradictions within the constitution of a nation. In this capacity it functions in much the same way as ideology. Capital cities as signifiers of a projected national identity thus provide an appropriate site of intervention for this discussion. It is the contention of this thesis that New Delhi in its epitomic narrativization of colonialism foreshadows the narrative mechanisms of post-colonial Islamabad. Sara Suleri has written: "If English India can serve as a discursive model of any interpretive resonance, then it must illustrate a disbanding of the most enduring binarism that perplexes colonial cultural studies: it must provide an alternative to the assignation of 'cultures' to colonialism; of 'nation' to post-colonialism". The sorry contiguity of the two terms evokes the post-colonial presence of the socio-spatial idiom of Imperial British India within the contemporary situation; this is the transitional social reality of postcolonial "modernity" as manifest in the architecture and urbanism of Islamabad.

 

Akbar, Jamel
MIT
HTC PhD
1984
Responsibility and the traditional Muslim built environment
Responsibility and the traditional Muslim built environment

This study aims to analyze the effect of the responsibility enjoyed by individuals over the built environment. To understand these effects the study concentrates on the physical state of the property. It is con- cluded that three claims will affect the physical state of a property: the claim of ownership, the claim of control and the claim of use. These three claims can be enjoyed by one or more individuals at the same time over the same property. A model is developed to explore the relation- ships between the three claims and the parties involved in sharing them, and it is then used to explain the physical state of a property. For example, given the same circumstances, we may expect a property that is owned, controlled and used by one person to be in a different state than if it is owned by one person, controlled by a second and used by a third. In the first case, responsibility is unified in one person, while in the second, it is dispersed among the three persons. In nddition to these two, the developed model recognizes three more patterns of responsibility into which a property may be submitted. These five states of submission of the property are called the "Forms of Submission of Property."
The relationship between the individuals sharing the responsibility over a property will affect the state of the property. If the relation- ships between the responsible parties change, the state of the property will change. The relationship between responsible individuals in the traditional Muslim built environment differs from that of contemporary environments which have changed the physical state of properties. By concentrating on the traditional built environments, this study high- lights these differences. It investigates various elements from both traditional and contemporary environments within the different forms of submission. First, the study investigates each form of submission independently, and then it explores the coexistence of the various properties that are in different forms of submission in the traditional built environment. This explains the relationship between the individ- uals responsible for different properties. From these explorations the conclusion is reached that responsibility in the traditional environments has shifted to outsiders in contemporary environments. In traditional environments the users had more responsibility; in contemporary environments outsiders share the reRponsibility with the inhabitants through interventions in all claims. The study demonstrates that the structure of the built environment has changed because of the change in the pattern of responsibility. Examples of such changes are: the potential of the physical environment, the conventions of·the society, the social relationships between users and the territorial structure.

Jamel A. Akbar received his SMArchS degree in 1980 with his thesis in housing design entitled, "Support for Courtyard Houses: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia." He then stayed on at MIT to complete his PhD, which he did in 1984 with the dissertation, "Responsibility and the Traditional Muslim Built Environment." Dr. Akbar has since returned to Saudi Arabia where he holds a professorship in the College of Architecture and Planning at the King Faisal University. Professor Akbar is a well-known reference in the field of the Muslim built environment. His articles on the Islamic built environment, preservation, planning and design have been published in journals & books such as Architectural Knowledge and Cultural Diversity, Muqarnas, Journal of King Saud University, Building for Tomorrow, and Open House International, and he has published two books, Imarat al-‘ard fi al-islam and Crisis in the Built Environment: The Case of the Muslim City in which he developed a model for measuring the quality of the built environment. Professor Akbar has delivered papers at conferences worldwide in such countries as Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Turkey, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, Spain, Kuwait, Switzerland, the U.K., and Syria. Early on in his career he was granted the King Fahd Award for Architectural Research in the Muslim World. He was recently selected for various editions of Who’s Who, most importantly Millennium Who’s Who in the World in 2000. Also he was selected for several editions published by the International Biographical Center such as 1000 Great Asians, One Thousand Great Intellectuals, 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century, and Eminent People of Today. Further, Jamel A. Akbar was a member of the Aga Khan Award Technical Committee, a Guest-Editor of "Open House International, member of SAR International, the Netherlands, a member of the Riyadh Science Complex Committee, as well as Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Umran Association.

Akhtar, Saima
MIT
SMArchS
2007
Shangri La: Architecture as Collection
Shangri La: Architecture as Collection

As a young heiress of the Duke fortunes, Doris Duke’s interest and investment in art was not highly unusual given her social background. However, her method of acquiring these objects was more unconventional than other collectors of her time. When the term "Islamic" is tacked onto these art objects it further complicates her collection, with issues of matronage and Orientalism at the forefront. Prominent American collectors, such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, exhibited an interest in Eastern art long before Doris Duke planned her honeymoon trip to the Muslim world in 1935. Still, there is very little hard evidence of the Duke’s interacting with such people during Doris’ childhood. This begs the question, how did Doris Duke develop an interest in Islamic art and culture? Since she was a very private person and collector, it is hard to speculate what inspired her curiosity for Islamic art. What might be a more informative and interesting avenue to follow is the impressive network of connections that allowed her the means to acquire such a substantial collection. Her self-created residence in Hawai’i, Shangri La, is now a visible culmination of the relationships she forged in her fascination with Islamic art and architecture, which she continually developed from its inception in 1937 until her death in 1993.   (cont.) Although Duke was highly dependent upon her advisors during the construction of Shangri La, she was purposeful in the procurement and placement of the objects she commissioned, which showed an independent will that varied from other wealthy American patrons of Eastern art at this time. An examination of these art-oriented relationships will help to trace the refinement of Duke’s palette for Islamic art, whose chief architectural accomplishment was one that she truly thought of as Islamic and uniquely her own.

Saima Akhtar is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the History of Architecture and Environmental Design of Developing Countries programs at the University of California, Berkeley. She completed Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees in Psychology and Architecture at the University of Michigan. After working for two years for the American Institute of Architects in Washington, DC, she began her Masters of Science in Architecture Studies in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her current dissertation work at UC-Berkeley investigates the formation of ethnic enclaves in American cities with a focus on immigrant spatial practices and the production of urban identity during the Fordist era in Detroit, Michigan.

Akkar, Ghita


MIT
SMArchS
2011
A Cultural Customizable and Prefabricated Housing Grammar for Casablanca

 

A Cultural Customizable and Prefabricated Housing Grammar for Casablanca

Proposing an innovative design grammar linking prefabrication, customization and cultural adaptability, this thesis addresses the present day housing deficit and lack of architectural identity in Casablanca, Morocco. The grammar incorporates customization that creates housing units specific to a family’s needs, incorporating cultural aspects such as courtyards into the design, and simultaneously allows for the creation of a diverse urban fabric. I first reviewed the existing housing need in Casablanca to date, which includes 400 informal settlements and 98,128 households living in sub-standard conditions. This led to my exploration of prefabrication as a construction method, to my review of historical mass housing precedents in Casablanca, and to my identification of significant cultural typologies of the traditional Moroccan house. With the realization that the current housing market cannot support the current housing deficit, I decided to make a contribution to the system by designing a set of rules or a housing grammar that not only integrates prefabrication for fast construction but also customization to promote user participation and cultural adaptability to respond to local lifestyles. This prefabrication system I designed using light weight factory built modules allows for a fast and efficient way to deliver housing units at affordable prices for Casablanca. Drawing on the existing Moroccan financial housing models, this system will reduce the construction phase by 60%, allows for cost savings of 20%, while offering users the ability to customize in order to address their particular priorities and bringing dignity and practicality to the design of affordable housing. Furthermore, by investigating the courtyard as stacked units, I am exploring a new type of urban typology for low-rise high-density urban courtyard housing for Casablanca.

 
Aksamija, Azra

 

 

MIT
HTC PhD
2011
Our Mosques Are Us: Rewriting National History of Bosnia-Herzegovina through Religious Architecture

 

Our Mosques Are Us: Rewriting National History of Bosnia-Herzegovina through Religious Architecture

This dissertation examines how Bosnian Muslims construct their identity through the lens of rebuilt or newly built mosques following the systematic destruction of religious architecture during the 1992-1995 War. The stylistic diversity of contemporary mosques in the region, I argue, reflects competing visions of how contemporary Bosnia should deal with its own history of coexistence and war. By examining different identity formation processes on three scales (the building process, the regional, and the global scale), the dissertation argues that, aside from its religious functions, the contemporary mosque has become the primary locus where the emerging Bosniak nation can visually and symbolically shape and express its visions of itself. I begin by outlining how the cultural and political history of Bosnian Muslims has been "written" and "rewritten" through religious architecture since the fifteenth century. I then investigate how during the war of the 1990s the nationalist extremists instrumentalized religious architecture to facilitate the realization of their expansionist projects. While all ethno-national groups in Bosnia experienced significant war losses, Bosnian Muslims suffered the greatest human and architectural casualties. I argue that the extent and the genocidal nature of war violence against them has transformed the meaning of the mosque from that of a place of worship and of a signifier of religious-ethnic identity to that of the ethnic body of the Bosniak nation. The notion that the mosque stands in for the human body was internalized by Bosnian Muslims in the form of two novel and programmatically delineated mosque genres defined here as the Inat Mosque and the Memorial Mosque. The first results from identity construction in response to the national myths and territorial claims of the Serbs and Croats, while the second represents identity creation that is linked to the community's own internal processes of commemoration. These regional negotiations of identity are challenged by two competing global imperial ideologies introduced to Bosnia by the Saudi and Turkish donors and manifest in monumental mosques they finance. As local builders compete with these supra-national Islamic networks, contemporary mosque architecture in Bosnia has become a site of negotiation and frictions between global and local interests. Throughout, the analysis highlights the significance of ethnic symbols, long-term cultural factors, and global cultural flows in the creation of contemporary nations.
Azra Aksamija is a Sarajevo born artist and architectural historian, and currently Assistant Professor in MIT's Art, Culture and Technology Program. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Technical University Graz, Austria (Dipl.-Ing. in 2001) and Princeton University (M.Arch. in 2004), and received her Ph.D. from MIT (HTC / AKPIA) in 2011. In her multidisciplinary practice, Azra investigates the potency of art and architecture to facilitate the process of transformative mediation in cultural or political conflicts, and in so doing, provides a framework for researching and intervening in contested socio-political realities. Azra's academic research highlights the significance of ethnic symbols, long-term cultural factors, and global cultural flows in the creation of contemporary nations. In her Ph.D. dissertation, Aksamija examined how Bosnian Muslims construct their identity through the lens of rebuilt or newly built mosques following the systematic destruction of religious architecture during the 1992-1995 War. Her academic inquiry informs her ongoing artistic explorations about Islam in the West and the conflicts over the visibility of Muslims in America and Europe. Recent exhibitions of her artwork include the Secession Vienna (2007), Manifesta 7 (2008), the Stroom The Hague (2009), and the Royal Academy of Arts London (2010), and the Giorgio Cini Foundation as a part of the 54th Art Biennale in Venice (2011).
Alamuddin, Hana Sleiman
MIT
SMArchS
1987
Waterfront developments in the Middle East case study:
The Golden Horn Project, Istanbul, Turkey
Waterfront developments in the Middle East case study:
The Golden Horn Project, Istanbul, Turkey

This thesis examines waterfront developments in the Middle East . It concentrates on the Golden Horn project in Istanbul as it raises a number of issues that are central to any such development in that region. In order for us to appreciate the problem, the thesis starts with an examination of the history of the city of Istanbul. This is followed by an investigation of the role of the Golden Hom in its life throughout history. The main issue raised in waterfront developments in a Middle Eastern context is discontinuity between the city and the new development through the introduction of new users, functions, scale and sensibilities alien to what exists now. Istanbul, being part of an international heritage, its preservation and continuity to the water's edge becomes a moral obligation as well as a practical need to protect rest of its fabric from the repercussions of overloading. A performance specification is put forward to integrate the development back into the life of the city. Formally, urban waterfronts in the context of the Middle East are problematic as no precedent exists for dealing with the water's edge. Hence an investigation of the cultural attitude to nature and the form of the city is put forward, from which principles and orders are extrapolated to aid the designers in their approach to the problem.

Hana S. Alamuddin graduated from the Aga Khan Program's Designing for Islamic Societies in 1987, for which she wrote her thesis on a "Waterfront developments in the Middle East case study: the Golden Horn Project, Istanbul, Turkey." She then moved back to England, where she worked with the John S. Bonnington partnership on projects including the Royal Bank of Scotland Headquarters in Jersey, barracks for the Qatar Police force, as well as several competitions including one for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce's Q-Tel Telecommunications Headquarters on Doha Qatar, and for the Shiakawa-British Cultural Center in Japan. She left John S. Bonnington partners in 1992 and began her two years at Unitex Consulting Engineers in Beirut in 1993 where she was head of the design team for the Saida New Mosque. After then moving in 1996 to Designers where she consulted on residential projects, Ms. Alamuddin joined Mamari Architects. With Mimari, she was the project architect on two restoration projects in Beirut as well as on a residential/commercial development in north Lebanon. In 1997, Ms. Alamuddin consolidated her freelance experience and started her own practice Al-Mimariya s.a.r.l. in 1998, Al-Mimariya projects include residences in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt . As a member of the executive committee of theAssociation Pour la Protection des Sites et Anciennes Demeurs she took part in a study on reconstruction guidelines of Salimah Village in Mount Lebanon to preserve its architectural and historic character. The team worked directly with the villagers and various ministeries and construction material companies to insure financial and technical help for the owners to resort their homes. As well as serving as a technical reviewer for the Aga Khan Award in both 1998 and 2001, she sat on the technical committee for the Preservation of the Architectural Heritage of Beirut Ministry of Culture in 1996. She was also part of a five architect team that worked forthe Director General of Urbanism, setting out a policy and the parameters for conservation areas in Beirut. The plan received approval by the Higher Directorate of Urbanism 1996. . Since 1994, Hana Alamuddin has lectured and co-taught design studios at AUB, and has presented lectures at both MIT and York University in England. She has been published three times, her "Letter from Beirut" in Mimarlik Kulturu Dergisi in August 2000, and her article on the Lebanese House, "The then the mason came forth and said: Speak to us of houses," in the 1996 Beitiddine Festival program. and in the published Colloquim papers, Architectural Education Today, Cross -Cultural Perspectives , 2002 " I want a Colonial House: The Architect versus the Other " Hana is also a founding member of the Arab International Women's Forum, a non profit organisation started in 2001, The AIWF is a forum for communication and networking between Arab business and professional women and their counterparts in the global economy.

Al-Harithy, Howayda

 


MIT
SMArchS

Harvard PhD

1987

2092


MIT SMArchS 1987Architectural form and meaning in light of Al Jurjani's literary
theories

Harvard PhD 1992
Urban Form and Meaning in Bahri Mamluk Architecture

MIT SMArchS
Architectural form and meaning in light of Al Jurjani's literary theories

This thesis is an application of AI Jurjani's -- a Persian scholar-literary theories as a method for the critical analysis of architectural meaning. The study is based on the understanding of architecture as a mode of communication, and aimed at examining architectural meaning in general, and the metaphorical content in particular. The process is initiated by studying the literary theories of AI Jurjani. It is followed by investigating the analogies between literature and architecture, and establishing a foundation for the analogy proposed by this thesis. The application of AI Jurjani's theories is manifested and examined through the analysis of the case study: Sultan Hasan complex in Cairo. The analysis is mainly concerned with the meanings conveyed by the building, and the different means by which they are achieved. The specific case study leads to a more general scope of issues concerning architectural meaning which are presented in the conclusion.
Howayda N. Al-Harithy graduated from the SMArchS program in 1987 with her thesis on "Architectural Form and Meaning of Light of Al-Jurjani’s Literary Theories." From there she went on to pursue a Master of Arts and a PhD at Harvard, analyzing Mamluk architecture through both degrees. While engaged in her academic work at Harvard, Ms. Al-Harithy served as an architectural advisor to the Arriyadh Development Authority in Saudi Arabia. After receiving her doctorate in 1992, she returned to MIT as a visiting assistant professor while also lecturing at Harvard. In 1994, Ms. Al-Harithy moved to Lebanon where she took a teaching position in the Civilization Sequence Program at American University of Beirut. Though she took a hiatus as a visiting associate professor at MIT for the Spring 2000 semester, Howayda N. Al-Harithy continues to teach at AUB, where she is presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture and Design. She is very active at AUB, where she has organized design and fine art exhibits, conferences, lectures and panel discussions, coordinated a joint studio with Harvard Graduate School of Design, has lead student travel trips and advised in the development of the campus’ Master Plan Project. She has also served on UNISCO’s Scientific Committee for their 2000 seminar University and Heritage, and as a member of the editorial board for the Electronic International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. As well as attending numerous conferences, Ms. Al-Harithy has presented papers recently at MESA, YPO Cairo, the ACSA International Conference, the National Museum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments Conference, the Sixth International Seminar on Urban Form Meeting, and the Sackler Museum Lecture Series. She has published a monograph in the Bibliotheca Islamica entitled, "The Waqf Document of Sultan Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Qalawun." Two of her pieces also appear in The Cairo Heritage (Papers in Honor of Layla Ibrahim and Arabic Calligraphy in Architecture: Islamic Monument Inscriptions in the City of Tripoli during the Mamluk Period. Howayda N. Al-Harithy has furthermore had articles published in Oxford’s Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Muqarnas, Mamluk Studies Review, Middle East Women’s Studies Review, Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, Bahithat, and the Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review. http://people.aub.edu.lb/~webfea/faculty/hharithy/resume.
Al-Hasani, Naji
MIT
SMArchS
1991
Conservation of architecture and settlements in Lebanon: Two case studies
Conservation of architecture and settlements in Lebanon: Two case studies

Most of the information in this proposal is derived from my former and current research on Beirut, Methodology for Slow Conservation of War-Damaged Structures in Downtown Beirut. In the earlier version I have failed to highlight the significance of the Martyrs Square area. My aim in this addendum is to shed more light on the above. By doing so the conservation/rehabilitation zone takes on more of an inclusive and representational character, reflective of the richness and variety inherent in Beirut’s complex urban fabric. An intriguing aspect of this study is the rather remote chance for implementing any such reconstructive schemes. Given the recent rounds of fighting, it has become more hopeless to conceive of any notion of conservation or rehabilitation. A positive aspect, however, may be derived from the existing schemes already drafted during this decade, for the area’s possible rehabilitation/conservation.    The recent decree for the opeirlng of "Greater Beirut" by President Elias Hrawi sheds more optimism. It is with the hope that some day soon the Lebanese conscience and that of the world will prevail so that humanity and people may live, enjoy, produce, thrive and flourish more abundantly - that history proves, as it has done in the past, that destruction can be overcome. Only then, we could possibly talk about more than surveys and protective measures to safeguard our historic heritage. This will be the time to restore and rehabilitate the New Martyrs Square in memory of those who died in the late Civil War. The second part of the thesis expands the scope of the subject to include the Shouf region. It is here that the roots for regional Lebanese architecture are inherent. While fighting and bombing have also shattered a considerable number of significant structures in this area; the process of reconstruction and occasional restoration has proven more effective than in urban Beirut.    The process was carried over on the initiative of individuals. The primary reasons for such immediate intervention on the part of individuals was the advantage of less constraints in terms of the absence of bureaucracies (even with dramatically less fundamental support) and needless to say the lack of written conservation more comprehensive strategy for the area. Instead, alternate examples of almost identical character and plan will be substituted. legislation; these ,together boosted the rehabilitation/restoration process. A great many historical edifices and even more modest structures have already been fully restored, while the bulk of Beirut’s historical structures and quarters are decaying with time and neglect. An equally important aspect in this scenario is the nature of the occupants and their attitudes toward preservation.    While mountain dwellers seem more attached to their land and homestead, and accordingly are very reluctant to leave their surroundings, the city dwellers are more prone to mobility and social change. This aspect resulted in more restoration efforts in the mountains and accordingly less such in Beirut. Moreover, the building type most affected by destruction in Beirut happens to be concentrated in the heart of the city, Le.; the central business district, where hardly any residential apartment buildings exist. People seem to be more attached to their primary and more immediate surroundings, such as their own houses, which makes them more inclined by force-majeur to restore their dwellings. The last part of this thesis attempts to propose some particular "bylaws" or "clauses" regarding appropriate intervention. Consideration will be given to adaptive - reuse issues; especially as to what extent significant structures can be adaptively reused according to local conventions.    No written bylaws exist in this sphere and the only precedent seems to encompass civil and religious buildings; this renders such an issue extremely delicate, if not controversial. This also leads us to one other major question -- to what extent should legislation permit physical alteration of historical structures? Finally, an integral element in this thesis is the lack of conservation legislation in third world countries in general of which Lebanon is only one example; and how could legislation and local conventions be more effective through implementation in wider parts of the Middle East region, especially after the war. ·On the whole, this thesis attempts to raise questions, suggest certain possible solutions to given problems, provide a status quo report from 1982 to the present, and family draw conclusions. The conclusions are by no means rigid and therefore remain subject to debate and further questioning.

 

Al-Hathloul, Saleh
MIT
HTC PhD
1981
Tradition, continuity and change in the physical environment: The Arab-Muslim city
Tradition, continuity and change in the physical environment: The Arab-Muslim city

Issues within the context of the present cannot be isolated from their spatial or temporal context. Neither the past (tradition) nor the future (modern technology) can provide solutions to the problems of the present. Their value lies in the fact that they represent "resources" which broaden our choices and inform us as to how similar issues were or could be dealt with in different times and places. However, a society's past and the way that society conceives of its past provides modes of continuity which give the present its authenticity. If we are to deal with the issues of the present and hope for an authentic future, the authority of the past or tradition cannot be blindly accepted though its authenticity and relevance to the present must be recognized.
The problem addressed here is that of a present phy- sical environment in the Arab-Muslim city which is totally different from the traditional one. As a result of this difference, a sense of discontinuity and alienation has developed among the inhabitants of these cities. pose of this study is to understand how this process came about and how a sense of continuity with the past can be reestablished. To achieve this purpose four main issues are addressed here: (1) the origin and process of forma- tion of the traditional physical environment; parity between the traditional and the contemporary envi- ronment; (3) the origins of this disparity; and (4) the possible notions which might be suggested by way of rees- tablishing a sense of continuity between the past and the present.
The legal system is used as a means of analysis in this study. This has helped us to see the physical envi- ronment within its socio-cultural context, by informing us about the ideological or structural level of the society and by pointing out accepted social norms and conventions and the mechanism of their social effectiveness. The law has helped us to point out the differences between the traditional and the contemporary process. In the tradi- tional city, the process relied on rules of conduct or,- social conventions which proscribed certain actions on the part of the inhabitants. city, the rules are physical and prescriptive in nature. They prescribe in physical terms not only what is to be done but also how it is to be implemented. Implied. within the traditional process is a reciprocal and possi- bilist relationship between form and use while the contem- porary process advocates a determinist approach to the relationship of form and use.
Several factors are believed to have worked in favor of the shift from the traditional process to the contem- porary one in the Arab-Muslim city. Important among these are: the existence of certain implied ideologies; changes in the scale of development, ppwer and technology; and problems within the field of architecture and urbanism and their relationship to the Arab-Mu'slim context. Only by being aware of these processes and factors can we conceive of an appropriate approach to reestablish a sense of continuity with the past that stems from the needs of the.present and aspirations for the future.

 

Al-Husseini, Dalia
MIT
SMArchS
2007
Aqaba's Old Town: Proposed Model for Community Development within the Aqaba special economic zone
Aqaba's Old Town: Proposed Model for Community Development within the Aqaba special economic zone

As a recently designated Special Economic Zone in 2001 and Jordan’s only port, Aqaba has been experiencing a major economic boom and rapid development at a scale previously unprecedented in Jordan. Under the governance of the Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) investments and growth so far have largely focused on new developments bypassing the more distressed parts of the city. Community development and upgrading efforts in Aqaba have thus far fallen short. Efforts are scattered, jurisdictions are unclear, and there is a definite lack of a coherent strategy and clear mechanisms for community development within the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ). This thesis examines the Aqaba Old Town critically and suggests developing it as a model for community upgrading and revitalization within ASEZ. Through examining the existing stakeholders and roles, I arrive at a suggested strategy for the Old Town that would serve as model for community upgrading within ASEZ.

 

Ali Khaled, Mohammed
MIT
SMArchS
1989
The use of precedents in contemporary Arab architecture: Case studies; Rasem Badran and Henning Larsen
The use of precedents in contemporary Arab architecture: Case studies; Rasem Badran and Henning Larsen

Much recent architecture in the Arab World utilizes historical precedents in an attempt to articulate an identity for regional architecture. This thesis investigates this approach in relation to place and cultural context. The study is focused on three institutional buildings from the Arab World: two projects by the architect Rasem Badran, Qasr al-Houkm (Justice Palace) in Riyadh and the Presidential Palace in Bagdad, and Henning Larsen's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh. The analysis examines the architects' designs and design research in order to reveal the architects' theoretical positions and their artifactual realizations. This approach allows for a deeper understanding design as a method and a production, and suggests an approach for architectural criticism.

 

 

Alkhabbaz, Mohammed
MIT
SMArchS
2010
Renewable Success: Development of good architecture in the case of Arriyadh Development Authority, Saudi Arabia
Renewable Success: Development of good architecture in the case of Arriyadh Development Authority, Saudi Arabia

ArRiyadh
Development Authority (ADA) is an unusual city development authority within the Saudi Arabian government hierarchy. Part of its responsibilities is coordinating and overseeing the design and building of buildings for Ministries and other projects needed by the government. ADA has a positive reputation for achieving quality award winning architecture. Though there have been studies on the development of Riyadh, there has been no study of how quality of architecture is perceived and defined by ADA and why ADA was able to sustain a record of successful project. Investigating ADA’s methods in approaching architectural projects would provide assistance to architectural firms, agencies, and scholars interested in the perception of quality architecture in Riyadh. To pursue these questions, I have interviewed 20 people who had experiences with ADA and related their input to current literature on design excellence. This study attributes the success of ADA in creating ’good’ architectural projects to five elements: symbolic capital, efficiency and competence, architectural vision, adopting multi-perspectives and flexibility. The study concludes with a discussion of the future challenges facing ADA.
 
Al-Masri, Wael Mohammad
MIT
SMArchS
1993
Architecture and the question of identity: issues of self-representation in Islamic community centers in America
Architecture and the question of identity: issues of self-representation in Islamic community centers in America

This study examines the opposed notions of architecture as an autonomous discipline and of architecture as a product of cultural politics. It also suggests that recent development in cultural critique, particularly regarding issues of identity and the representation of culture, can support architectural criticism and inform architectural production. The particular circumstances of Muslims living in America as a minority have contributed to the development of a sense of Muslim-American identity. This, while possessing a stable ideological core, can be seen as in reality a kind of hybrid identity, based on constant negotiation and shifting perspectives. Yet the reaction to certain aspects of these circumstances, as well as to the continuing East/W est confrontation, have contributed to a growing assertiveness of an exclusive sense of identity, which has generally surfaced in the character of the Islamic community centers in America In many cases this has perpetuated, through the use of architectural icons, long established Western stereotypes about Islam. There is a need, therefore, for the character of these buildings to be re-conceived on the basis of interaction and participation, rather than reaction or withdrawal; on inclusion instead of exclusion, and the articulation of a character that gives physical expression to shared values, as well as to those enriching differences that can contribute to the vitality of America. In an atmosphere of increasing multiculturalism, architecture can be viewed as a significant mediator, and as potentially capable of acting as an important vehicle of cross-cultural communication. By pointing to the implications of current architectural practices on the perception of Muslims in America, the study highlights the need to establish such a dialogue through architecture, and suggests ways of approaching a more positive architectural outlook.

Wael Al-Masri graduated from the SMArchS program in 1993 with his thesis entitled, "Architecture and the Question of Identity: Issues of Self Representation in Islamic Community Centers in America." Even before coming to MIT, Mr. Al-Masri was an established designer, having worked as a senior architect in the Kuwaitti Engineer’s Office for six years an then as the Campus Architect of the University of Southern Indiana for one year. After graduating, Mr. Al-Masri moved to Amman, where he lectured and supervised design work at Jordon University for Women. In 1994, he joined Shubeilat Badran Associates (SBA) in Amman as a project manager and senior architect on such projects as the Amman City Hall, Abu ‘Ubayda Project (which included a mosque, mausoleum, school, marketplace, housing and landscaping), and Dar al-Khayr, the late King Hussein’s residence in Hommar. From 1995 to 1996 he administered the Jordan Sustainable Tourism Development Project funded by USAID. Mr. Al-Masri then took the position of Partner and Head of the Architectural Department at the Khayyat Engineering Company in Jordan, undertaking design projects including villas and hotels. While with Khayyat, he was able to also lecture at the University of Applied Sciences as well as win a competition for the design of tourist facilities at Wadi Rum. During this time, Mr. Al-Masri continued to work as a consultant for SBA. In 1998, he returned full-time to SBA, recently renamed Dar al-Omran, where here is a partner today. Wael Al-Masri’s work there includes projects in Jordan and Kuwait as well as the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha Qatar, the World Monuments Fund signage project for Petra as well as numerous international competitions.

Al-Suleihi, Sab
Taher
MIT
SMArchS
1992
The lyrical facades of San'a
The lyrical facades of San'a

This study investigates aspects of the interrelationship between poetry and architecture as two modes. of cultural expression. It postulates that the critical aesthetic values of a culture surface in its various products which may interchange influences and roles. As an example of a rich indigenous Yemeni and Islamic culture, the old city of S?an’â’ provides a good case for the exploration of the nature of the contemplated interchange. The study considers some fundamental patterns in both the façades of S?an’â’ and its lyrical poetry. The parallels drawn are used to construct hypotheses for the investigation of the patterns of the façades using techniques parallel to those used in studying the metric patterns of Arabic poetry. The proposed model shows promising potential as a tool to reveal the ordering principles underlying architectural composition.

 

Amundsen, Minakshi Mani
MIT
SMArchS
1998
The future of the past: On conserving the Mellah of Rabat, Morocco
The future of the past: On conserving the Mellah of Rabat, Morocco

This thesis examines the approach to urban conservation in the Jewish Quarter or Mellah in Rabat, Morocco. It addresses the complexities of conservation in a diverse society in a developing country. It explores how a view of the past affects the conservation rationale and argues for re-evaluating the approach to the past in evolving a plan. Through a comparison of the Rabat Mellah and other cases of urban conservation, the thesis will emphasize the need for both context sensitivity and integration with development strategies. The municipality of Rabat has initiated a proposal for. the rehabilitation of the Medina. Since its problems are more acute, the Mellah is treated separately. Rehabilitation and restoration of the existing urban fabric raises the issue of dealing with the past and future of this quarter. The proposal acknowledges the Mellah's historic importance but relates it neither to the restoration of the urban fabric nor to its future maintenance. Would preserving the Mellah as an irreplaceable monument best serve to represent, communicate and maintain its historical importance and urban character? Its conservation is further complicated by the fact that, except for three families on the outskirts, its original Jewish residents no longer inhabit the Mellah. The conservation of the Mellah has to have meaning for its current residents while respecting the memory of the Jews that it was originally built for. The patterns of change over the previous ten years are used to predict a scenario of the Mellah ten years hence, both with and without the intervention of the proposal. The case studies in this analysis highlight the necessity of including preservation within the larger urban development framework. The broader issue of imposing a universal set of values and single approach over different historic and cultural frameworks is critically discussed. Finally, an alternative set of principles is proposed and applied to a path of action for the Mellah of Rabat.

Minakshi Mani Amundsen graduated in 1998 with a dual SMArchS degree in the Aga Khan Program and a MCP degree. Her graduate thesis studied the complex issues of preserving the history of the Jewish community in the mellah of Rabat, Morocco. Minakshi graduated from the CEPT School of Architecture in 1987, and practiced as an architect in India until 1995. Since graduating from MIT she has worked primarily as an urban planner with the MIT Planning Office, the former Harvard Planning and Real Estate Office,. MIne is currently the Director of Campus Planning for Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she oversees all land related planning and design, including master planning, development, landscape conservation and transportation planning. She is also extensively involved in campus-community initiatives related to planning, community development and regional sustainability. Mina's work is driven by the sense of place and evolving identity, linking history, currents trends and a long term vision. She lectures at the Department of City and Regional Planning and is also a studio reviewer for the landscape architecture program. Her research interests include the interface between preservation and culture at the planning and community scales and conservation of land and natural resource systems.

Anderson, Glaire
MIT
HTC PhD
2005
The Suburban Villa (munya) and Court Culture
in Umayyad Cordoba
The Suburban Villa (munya) and Court Culture
in Umayyad Cordoba

As the capital of the Umayyad dynasty (r. 756 CE-1031 CE), the city of Cordoba developed into one of the most renowned urban centers of the western Mediterranean. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is the outstanding testament to the architectural activities of the dynasty, yet textual and material evidence indicates that the Great Mosque was but one facet of a broader program of Umayyad patronage. The dissertation focuses on the dynasty’s secular monuments - the suburban villas (Arabic munya, p. munan) constructed around the city by the Umayyad rulers and their courtiers. It analyzes the munya as a medieval architectural, landscape, and social phenomenon. By addressing issues of function, patronage, and meaning, the dissertation utilizes Cordoban villas as a vehicle for the investigation of Umayyad court society. The dissertation is divided into two parts. Part One (Chapters I-IV) defines the architectural characteristics and agricultural functions of the munya. Part Two analyzes the social functions of the Cordoban estates as settings for Umayyad court activities, and the meanings associated with estate patronage and the Umayyad construction of a villa landscape.   (cont.) The dissertation contextualizes the munya within a broader constellation of Mediterranean villas and villa culture, and argues that the munya tradition informed subsequent developments in palace architecture on the Iberian Peninsula. Cordoban villas provided significant revenue for the state and patrons, supplied the court with the luxury crops considered necessary to refined life, served as settings for court activities, and demonstrated status and power among the Umayyad ruling class. The Cordoban rulers therefore attached a strong ideological importance to the estates. With the establishment of the caliphate in the tenth century, Cordoba’s fertile villa landscape became entwined with Umayyad notions of sovereignty and good governance, in which a fertile landscape was conflated with political legitimacy, a theme that is also apparent in Umayyad court literature. Thus, the dissertation demonstrates that an appreciation of the many links between the villas and the Cordoban ruling class is central to comprehending Umayyad court society.

Glaire D. Anderson is a historian of early and medieval Islamic architecture and urbanism with a focus on the caliphal period (particularly the ninth and tenth centuries) and the western Mediterranean, especially Iberia and North Africa. She received her PhD from MIT (History, Theory & Criticism of Architecture and Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture). Her ongoing research focuses on early Islamic Iberia and North Africa; women, eunuchs and patronage in al-Andalus; and the place of the medieval Islamic lands in a broader history of villas and villa cultures. In 2009, Anderson held a Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and her work has also been recognized by the College Art Association, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Barakat Foundation. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Historians of Islamic Art Association as Treasurer.:
2012: Promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, Art History Program, UNC-Chapel Hill
Honors:
Associate Scholar, European Research Council project, "Reassessing the Roles of Women as 'Makers' of Medieval Art and Architecture":
http://www.proyectos.cchs.csic.es/womenasmakers/content/presentation
Selected Publications
The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia: Aristocratic Estates and Court Culture in Umayyad Córdoba [under contract, Ashgate Publishers].
"Concubines, Eunuchs, and Patronage in Early Islamic Córdoba." In Reassessing the Roles of Women as 'Makers' of Medieval Art and Architecture, ed. Therese Martin. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012, pp. 633-669.
"Islamic Spaces and Diplomacy in Constantinople (10th-13th c.)." Medieval Encounters 15.1 (2009): pp. 86-113.
Glaire D. Anderson and Mariam Rosser-Owen, eds. Revisiting al-Andalus: Perspectives on the Material Culture of Islamic Iberia and Beyond. Medieval & Early Modern Iberian World 34. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007.
"Villa (munya) Architecture in Umayyad Cordoba: Preliminary Considerations." In Revisiting al-Andalus, 53-79.

 

Ani, Raya H.
MIT
SMArchS
1994
In the shadow of segregation : women’s identity in the modern Iraqi house
In the shadow of segregation : women’s identity in the modern Iraqi house

This thesis intends to develop a critical perspective on the culture and politics of the modern house in Iraq. It advances the discussion from the authoritative religious environment of women’s segregation in the Islamic era associated with the courtyard house, to the seemingly liberated status of women in modern times, as manifested in the design of the house. The primary argument is that there was little substantial change in this status through British Colonialism and the emergence of the secular state and modern aesthetics in Post-Colonial Iraq. Marking the pre-modern period from the Abbasid to the Ottoman rule, the traditional courtyard house reflected the apparent agreement between the world view of a traditional society and the accepted status of women in it. This house manifested principles of spatial hierarchy and privacy as a response to the deeply-embedded principles of social hierarchization of sexes and prevailing assumptions about women.    Thus the courtyard house came to be "the house of women’s segregation" par excellance. In the British colonial era, the upper-middle classes manifested their preference for the Classical architecture of the colonizers and for European lifestyles; however, the selective process and adaptation of the influences of Colonial architecture into house design made the logic behind the design principles inconsistent. The inflexibility of these principles with respect to accommodating concepts of women’s privacy, such as principles of axis and symmetry, reveals the inappropriateness of this style to work within the cultural conventions. In the period of post-colonial independence and nation building, the aspirations of the Iraqi architects for a new aesthetic revolution and a social reform was articulated with the state revolutionary politics.    Seemingly divorced from traditional methods of building and traditional materials, the architects promoted aspects of modern utopia and positivism in anticipation of an environmentally and socially better world. The architects’ intellectual passion for abstraction and their excessive infatuation with technology, culminating in the new aesthetic and openness, were applied primarily in facade treatment and minor details rather than the actual plan of the house. Thus the plan was still confined to the conventional practices of the society based on imperatives of privacy and hierarchy. Moreover, the new aesthetic of openness conflicted with the entrenched social norms and with woman’s perception of herself, resulting in a feeling of alienation. The promise of women’s liberation was illusive within the limited definition of the politics of that liberation and given the persistent perception of women in society as dependent and vulnerable.    The modern house could not carry a new social reform with its new aesthetic. It still faced the dilemma of society marked by the conflict between the desired definition of progressiveness and the existing conventions of identity, thereby revealing the emptiness and the unresolved contradiction between aspirations and actual practice.

 

Ansari,
Zarminae
MIT
SMArchS
1997
A contemporary architectural quest and synthesis: Kamil Khan Mumtaz in Pakistan
A contemporary architectural quest and synthesis: Kamil Khan Mumtaz in Pakistan

This thesis looks at an important Pakistani architect's work and philosophy as a possible direction or approach for contemporary architecture in Pakistan. Although there are more prolific builders in Pakistan, Kamil Khan Mumtaz (KKM) of Lahore, is one of the most important and influential figures in architectural education and the architectural discourse in Pakistan. He has tried to synthesize both pragmatic and philo- sophical aspects of architecture.
Kamil Khan Mumtaz was trained in the Modern Movement at Architectural Association, London. His initial exposure to indigenous Architecture made him question the validity of his training. He started to search for a more appropriate architectural idiom for Pakistan. Throughout his career, he has been a pioneer in the movement for conservation of architectural heritage and raising standards of architectural design in Paki- stan through different organizations he has founded and is member of.
This thesis looks at three stages of evolution in the architects background, discourse and work; relating it to its cultural milieu.
The first phase describes the state of architecture in Pakistan when he returns from the Architectural Asso- ciation, London, and the events leading up to the situation. The background is a period of nation building following Independence and Partition and a lack of adequate architectural education in Pakistan. His early buildings reflect his Modernist training and social concerns.
The second phase looks at his growing concerns with appropriate technology, and interest in indigenous building techniques and crafts. This is the period of Islamic nationalism and the Islamization program dur- ing the military regime of General Zia.
The last phase, is the recent and contemporary situation, where global culture meets the deep rooted rem- nants of fundamentalism fanned by Zia's regime. At this time his architecture is an attempt at synthesis of modern technology and local craft with his own interest in spiritual aspects of architecture.KKM's most rep- resentative work in each of these phases will be discussed with reference to his architectural agenda at the time.
Other issues raised, while assessing the work of Kamil Khan Mumtaz, are issues of regionalism relating to the evolution of his architecture. If critical regionalism is considered the preferred choice, or alternative, of architectural approach specially in Islamic and/ or developing countries, how well does KKM's work fit into that context? Finally, it explores his importance as an architect, educator and intellectual in terms of his influence on contemporary architecture in Pakistan.

Zarminae Ansari graduated from the S.M.Arch.S. program in 1997. Her thesis focused on the phenomenon of regionalism and the search for national identity, concentrating specifically on the work of senior Pakistani architect Kamil Khan Mumtaz, who has also served on the Steering Committee for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
After graduating, Ms. Ansari stayed on and worked with the program as the research and organization coordinator for MIT's Historic Town Revitalization Workshop in Peshawar, Pakistan and later at an architectural firm in Boston.
In Spring 2001, Ms. Ansari served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Karachi and the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi. At University of Karachi, she designed and implemented a mould-breaking curriculum to teach the history of architecture incorporating research and presentation techniques. Zarminae has lectured to business and educational institutions on new media, architecture: criticism, history and its role in the creation of national identity. Member of MIT's Education Counsel, she has also served on interview panels for the Fulbright scholarship program, among others.
Zarminae has participated in various international conferences. Her paper on adaptive reuse and urban regeneration was published in the Seminar proceedings of "The Mediterranean Medina", Pescara, Italy.
She is a contributing author to the recently published Mazaar, Bazaar: Design and Visual Culture in Pakistan. Her essay linked the traditional drink Rooh Afza's marketing strategy with the creation of national identity and Pakistan specific consumer-culture. As a freelance journalist since 1989, Zarminae writes for various national and international publications including the "Aman ki Asha" pages in The
News. Aman ki Asha, meaning "Hope for Peace," is an award-winning people-to-people peace initiative taken by the Times of India and the Jang Group of Pakistan.
As director of a multi-media company in Abu Dhabi, and later Business Development Manager at Al Rayan Investments, Zarminae was able to utilize her interest in business and marketing with her training as an architect to work on major development projects. She has recently worked on a project to promote the adaptive reuse and historic conservation projects of the Aga Khan Cultural Services-Pakistan (AKCSP) in the Northern Areas, especially the Shigar Fort and Khaplu Fort restoration projects in Baltistan. She conceived and produced a music video with one of the sub-continent's preeminent singers promoting tourism to the area, to encourage poverty alleviation, peace and development. (http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=PQd9KYDm734)
Zarminae's most recently helped to produce "Another Pakistan": a set of interviews of architects, writers, artists and musicians for Radio Open Source's Christopher Lydon sponsored in part by the Asia Society (http://www.radioopensource.org/another-pakistan/). She is a long time fan and listener of Lydon's radio shows since NPR's "The Connection" which she heard for the first time as a student at MIT.

Arida, Saeed
MIT
SMArchS
2004
Contextualizing Generative Design
Contextualizing Generative Design

Generative
systems have been widely used to produce two- and three-dimensional constructs, in an attempt to escape from our preconceptions and pre-existing spatial language. The challenge is to use this mechanism in real-world architectural contexts in which complexity and constraints imposed by the design problem make it difficult to negotiate between the emergent output, the context, and the controllability desired by the human designer. This thesis investigates how generative systems address contextual parameters, including the designer, client, user, meaning, aesthetics, environment, and function. This is demonstrated through my case studies, in which my aim was to avoid computerized unprocessed formalism that does not implicitly allow for any contextual and cultural content. I sought to extend simple algorithmic form-generation processes to allow for the subtleties of a given context to be effectively addressed. Some challenges and questions arose from these case studies. By interrogating different generative machines, common threads and challenges, similar to mine encountered in the case studies, were found. All of the processes that strove towards the creation of a generative system struggled with similar issues: How can we use rule-based systems without sacrificing meaning or function or the humanistic touch? How can we address contextual parameters without a loss?

Also obtained doctorate at MIT.

Arshad, Shahnaz
MIT
SMArchS
1988
Reassessing the role of tradition in architecture
Reassessing the role of tradition in architecture

This study stems from a deep dissatisfacion with contemporary architectural trends in Pakistan today, coupled with an acite awareness that the long-established traditions the society is endowed with remain ingnored. It questions the disparity between traditional and contemporary built environments, and seeks to understand the process which led from the one to the other. And in so doing, it attempts to identify the continuities that remained and the changes that occured.
The study begins with the conviction that traditions still remain important in the society. This hypothesis is supported by a theoretical debate and practical evidence, in an effort to identify the common threads that transcend time and thus form these traditions. The evidence is gathered through an examination of residential environments built in successive time periods - from historical to contemporary - and their comparative analysis. The research is based on original newly discovered data, oral history, on-site investigations, and where available, existing information. The comparative analysis is approached from three angles - architecture, living patterns, and user feedback. And through this analysis emerge the forces of change and the thieds of continuities affecting the environment and its use. The traditions thus identified are currently often regarded as contrary to progress, and therefore redundant. This thesis seeks to re-establish their enduring validity by confirming their persistent presence and continued value.

Shahnaz Arshad received her SMArchS degree in 1988 with a thesis "Reassessing the role of tradition in architecture." She then returned to Pakistan where she took a position as senior architect at National Engineering Services Pakistan Ltd. In Islamabad. After working with them for a year, Ms. Arshad moved to a private architectural consulting firm, Suhail and Pasha, where she worked as a project manager until 1993. Ms. Arshad then became managing partner at Naqshgar, an architecture and design firm in Rawalpindi. In 1996, she left Naqshgar and went to work for the World Bank in Pakistan, where she currently works today for them as a Senior Urban Specialist. Her experience with the Bank includes overseeing lending on such projects as the Punjab Municipal Development Fund and supervision over projects such as the NWFP Community Infrastructure Project and the Karachi Water Supply and Sanitation Project. Ms. Arshad has also coordinated economic and sector work in City Development Strategy and City Assistance Program for Peshawar, created a Preliminary Needs Assessment for Afghanistan, and involved private sector participation in urban-environmental services. Recently, Ms. Arshad supervised a health sector reform project in Jordan. As well as receiving three Spot Awards for professional contributions last year, she was included in the World’s Who’s Who of Women, 14th edition, in 1996.

Artan, Tülay
MIT
HTC PhD
1989
Architecture as a theatre of life: Profile of the eighteenth century Bosphorus
Architecture as a theatre of life: Profile of the eighteenth century Bosphorus

Eighteenth century Istanbul displays a complex social and cultural landscape breaking away from traditional institutions. Combined with tvo contradictory tendencies of the Ottoman elite -a movement and reform and an inclination toward lethargy and mundane pleasure-J the nature and intensity of change are generally regarded having come from outside. However, the same inconsistency is revealed in the lives of ordinary people, who were not merely subordinate to the cultures of the Europeans and the Ottoman elite, but vere also participants in ill-precedented activities and thoughts, feelings and beliefs, imaginings and aspirations.
This impetus found its physical manifestation in the expansion of the city along the Bosphorus. A set of ceremonial and ritualistic festivities that took place in the newly growing settlements on the Grande Allée was the locus of communication for both the hierarchically stratified Ottoman elite and people of modest means. To the role of Bosphorus as a thoroughfare had been added the functions of a theatre. It incorporated the theatrical movement of people into an architectural scheme conceived as a world of symbols and rites. This architectural scheme was  communicated in the ephemeral and symbolized by the yali , the waterside mansions
which were monument to hedonist life on the waterfront, and by the binis, the processional paths taken in daily visits to kiosks, pavilions and gardens along the Bosphorus.
In this study the interaction between innovation and tradition introduced on the architectural space of the waterfront is explored. Through primary Ottoman and European sources addressing the lives of people vho made an aestheticized way of living possible at a time of social unrest, this study focused on the activities and aspirations of tl1e Ottomans in their withdrawal to the country. The formal development of the waterfront residence vas located in this practice as having a separate, distinct and contained existence and objective.

Sabanci University, Istanbul,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

As, Imdat
MIT
SMArchS
2002
Emergent desing : rethinking contemporary mosque architecture in light of digital technology
Emergent desing : rethinking contemporary mosque architecture in light of digital technology

In the digital age many notions which we take for granted, such as distance, time and space have changed dramatically. This change in perception introduces new metaphors and understandings which require a new mosque architecture to evolve that corresponds to the 'spirit of the time.'
The virtual space creates opportunities for new kinds of interaction and communication. Now the 'village well' is the computer interface which connects us with the rest of the world. How can these emerging notions enrich and shape mosque architecture? How would it affect and/or change existing metaphors? How can new mosque architecture transform existing practices and rituals without falling astray to theological teachings? What kind of social, cultural and religious implications would it bear?
The thesis is divided in three main parts; first it questions the holistic mosque paradigm and explains the accumulation of religious architectural elements over centuries, second it investigates the Kocatepe Mosque experience in Turkey in more detail, which shed light onto the evolutionary process of the praying space and finally proposes a new mosque paradigm which converges virtual and physical spaces.

Imdat is an architect and assistant professor at the University of Hartford. He received his doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2005. After graduation he filled the James and Louis Nolan chair of architectural technologies at the University of Notre Dame. In 2009, he returned to Cambridge to become an associate at a local architecture company. During this time he founded arcbazar.com, a first-of-its-kind web-based competition engine for small-to-medium scale architectural design projects. Imdat received a Master of Science in Architectural Studies degree as an Aga Khan Fellow in 2002 at MIT. His research interests include representational and generative digital media technologies in architectural design and graphic communications. He compiled his work in Dynamic Digital Technologies in Architecture: Visions in Motion, a book published by Taylor & Francis in 2008

 

Asfour, Khaled
MIT
SMArchS
1987
Dealing with the Incompatible!
Dealing with the Incompatible!

The thesis attempts to study the urban structure of a traditional quarter in Cairo through a sociological point of view. In order to pursue this study it is necessary to understand the relationship between the built form and its users. From this understanding stems
the approach of how to discern the social study in a way that could be useful and apprehendable to the architect. Before undertaking the case study, examples of other sociological studies are extracted to demonstrate the connection between behavioral patterns of the users and their built environment. These preliminary examples
show how the built form, together with the disposion of its elements, could be understood through social studies.The problem facing the architect that will be revealed through the research is that the social scientist mainly deals with different layers of interactions between the members of the community, without showing how this interaction resonates with the built form. Consequently the architect may find a great difficulty in trying to incorporate social studies into design criteria. And from there, the sense of incompatiblity emerges. In this regard, the research attempts to bridge the gap created by the lack of communication between the two disciplines: social science and urban design.

Completed S.M.Arch.S in 1987 and PhD in 1991 from MIT, Khaled is specialized in theory and criticism of architecture. In next seven years, he taught in KFU of Saudi Arabia, and traveled in the Gulf and North Africa searching for architectural excellence. He wrote intensively on the subject which qualified him to became the editor responsible for Arab entries in Dizionario della' architettura del XX secolo (Turin) and in a world book on Architecture and Identity (TU Berlin). He was a research fellow at Harvard University for several months. He was one time a technical reviewer for Aga Khan Award for Architecture. He sat on international juries in American University of Sharja, Bahrain University, Liechtenstein University, Riyadh Development Authorities, and Hassan Fathy Award. On a professional level he has been a consultant to projects such as Palm Hills Egypt developments and Mekka Expansion. He is currently teaching in MIU - Cairo and the university consultant for academic development.
Masters Thesis: Dealing with the Incompatibles.
Ph.D. Dissertation: The Villa and the Modern Egyptian Intelligentsia: Critique of Conventionalism

Ashraf, Kazi Khaleed
MIT
SMArchS
1988
Architecture as evocation of place:
Thoughts on an architectural "beginning" in Bangladesh
Architecture as evocation of place:
Thoughts on an architectural "beginning" in Bangladesh

This thesis is a trajectory of a quest of trying to understand certain fundamental notions of architecture, triggered initially by the cultural conditions of Bangladesh: How does an architectural position really find 'validation'? What is the significant meaning of architectural "appropriateness"? And, how does an artifact fit into place? The key idea of the investigation is that place is not merely a physical but also a psychic reality; it is the basic strata of "collective consciousness" that provides identity and psychic security. Place denotes an 'existential structure', formed by material and immaterial entities, in the palpable, the conscious and the 'unconscious' realm, from which its dwellers draw the meaning and relevance of their collective action and existence. In the study here, it is argued that it is the role of architecture to "concretize" or "exteriorize" this 'existential structure', and thus reinforce the dimension of place. Place, as a continuous repository of "artifacts" and "human events", can provide the instrumental and material tool for the making of such architecture. The investigation, in conclusion, attempts to find how can the repository be tapped, within the domain of design, so that not only the immaterial dimension is engaged, but also the 'new' artifact evokes and becomes a new deposit to the place-repository

SMArchS (MIT, 1987), PhD (University of Pennsylvania, 2001; dissertation: "The Hermit's Hut: A Study in Asceticism and Architecture").
Taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Pratt Institute, Temple University. Currently associate professor and undergraduate chair at the School of Architecture, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Publications:
The Hermit's Hut: Asceticism and Architecture in India (University of Hawaii Press, in press).
The Idea of Hometown (in preparation).
Made In India, Architectural Design Special Issue (John Wiley, 2007).
Sherebanglanagar: Louis Kahn and the Making of a Capital Complex, with Saif Ul Haque (Loka, 2001).
Architecture of Independence: The Making of Modern South Asia, with James Belluardo (Architectural League of New York and Princeton Architectural Press, 1997).
Pundranagar to Sherebanglanagar: The Architecture of Bangladesh, with Raziul Ahsan and Saif Ul Haque (Chetana, 1997).
National Capital of Bangladesh (GA Edita, 1994).
Articles in Architectural Design, Journal of Architectural Education, RES, MIMAR, FORUM, and others.
Curated exhibitions:
"Capital Complexity: The Work of Louis Kahn in Dhaka," Philadelphia, 2002.
"An Architecture of Independence: The Making of Modern South Asia," traveled to New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston and Chicago, 1997-98.
Positions:
Chair, Kenneth F. Brown Architecture Design Award, University of Hawaii, 2003-.
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Architectural Education, 2007-2010.
Member, Advisory Committee, Shangri La The Doris Duke House, Honolulu, 2004-07.
Selected private practice in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Kazi K. Ashraf
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair
School of Architecture
University of Hawaii at Manoa
2410 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822

Assassa, Khalil
MIT
SMArchS

   


Autorino, Salvatore
MIT
SMArchS
1994
Memory of Islam: Culture and politics in sixteenth-century religious architecture of Mexico and Peru
Memory of Islam: Culture and politics in sixteenth-century religious architecture of Mexico and Peru

This thesis presents a comparative study of two church typologies employed in the Spanish American colonies during the sixteenth century. The first, developed in Mexico, is the Open Chapel; the second, which I call "Lateral" Church, was very common in Peru and is characterized by the shift of the main entrance from the front to the side of the nave. Their interest lies in the fact that, in a context marked by the spread of Renaissance architecture in Europe and in the American colonies, they represent two among the most anti-classical examples of churches. Furthermore, they are interesting because their anti-classicism can be referred back to the Islamic civilization, which had strongly shaped the history and culture of the Iberian peninsula in eight centuries of continuous presence. The comparison between two different, and not even contemporary contexts aims to reveal of the modifications of cultural expressions in relation to varying degrees of political control. Mexico and Peru, in fact, were discovered, conquered, and populated with different modalities and in different periods within the sixteenth century. This study reaches the following conclusions: 1) Both the Mexican Open chapels and the Peruvian "Lateral" churches reflect, at various degrees, the adoption of a concept of space borrowed from the Hispano-Islamic tradition. 2) The use of such spatial concepts diminishes and becomes very subtle towards the end of the sixteenth century. This phenomenon is tightly related to the re-structuring of the relation Islam and Christendom in Europe, which, in turn, is the result of another process, the "invention" of European cultural identity. In the Americas, in fact, the spread of classic architecture was not only the symbol of the imposition of a new system of power, but also a test for the self-definition of Europe itself. 3) The development of these types in the New World has two overlapping layers of interpretation. First, it can be seen as the reflection of the dialectics of power between the Hispano-Islamic collective cultural heritage and the imperialistic agenda of the colonization, which employed authority and control as its main subjugation tools. Second, it can be seen as a conscious appropriation of forms essentials to the purpose of colonization. These church-types were adopted to display the social and ethnic inferiority of the Indians in front of the conquistadores. 4) Finally, also for the Indians these churches had a double layer of meaning. On the one hand, they represented the architecture of the Spaniards, and therefore the symbol of their subjugation. On the other, these churches provided the forms through which the Natives re -constructed their own identity, in a context marked by the sudden collapse of the traditional cultural structure.

Salvatore Autorino graduated with a SMArchS degree in 1994 with the thesis, "Memory of Islam: Culture and Politics in 16th-century Religious Architecture in Mexico and Peru." While at MIT, Mr. Autorino continued to run his one-man firm out of Napoli. After graduating, however, Mr. Autorino moved to Kingston, Jamaica, where he was a design manager with Edward Young and Associates. He remained in Jamaica until 2000, working with Michael Lake and Associates before co-founding aws.architects, a firm which focused on residential and small commercial buildings. Simultaneously, Mr. Autorino worked with the Carribean School of Architecture to help develop the academic aspects of their Bachelor Program as well as teaching both there and at UNPHU in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Mr. Autorino then returned to Napoli where he founded the architectural firm Spark. For the early part of 2001, he was in Brazil working as a freelance architect with Andre Sa and Francisco Mota Arquitectos in Salvador da Bahia on a master plan for an urban revitalization project in Salvador. In May of 2001, Salvatore moved back to Italy to work with OfCA in Caserta, with whom her participated in a competition on the revitalization of the medieval town of Santa Maria a Monte in Siena and a competition for the new museum of Shi-Ga in Azuma, Japan. Last year Salvatore Autorino returned to Spark and has worked in such projects as the master plan for a tourist resort in Honduras, a design competition for an urban center prototype in Japan and a residential project in Bishkek, Kyrghystan. When he isn’t working, Mr. Autorino enjoys writing, tennis, swimming and running.

Badshah, Akhtar
MIT
SMArchS
1983
Interventions into old residential quarters:
The case of Shahjahanabad
Interventions into old residential quarters:
The case of Shahjahanabad

This thesis develops design guidelines for in- terventions into residential quarters of the old core cities in the Third World. Their pur- pose is to provide a suitable framework for developing residential designs maintaining the characteristics of the traditional environment without restricting the aesthetic commitments of the designer.
A clearly defined area within Shahjahanabad, the walled city of Delhi, was studied, identi- fying change currently taking place in their physical, social and economic aspects. Three cases are described to illustrate the various components of the walled city as a whole. Two are traditional areas; the third is a new de- velopment to which they are compared.
On the basis of these studies, which identified the formal elements both within the urban fabric and within some typical houses, the set of de- sign guidelines was then developed. The prototypical design then tests out some of those guidelines.
The thesis concludes that when intervening in a traditional environment, the designs must in-
corporate the functional demands of a changing society, adapt to the occupants' needs, and react to social pressures, if social, economic, and functional obsolescence is to be avoided.
The guidelines developed are designed for use both by practitioners seeking to improve the traditional environment and by planners and government agencies contemplating intervention in traditional quarters of old cities.

Dr. Akhtar A. Badshah completed both a S.M.Arch.S degree, in 1983, and a Ph.D., in 1993, through the AKPIA at MIT. His thesis and dissertation were, respectfully, "Interventions into old residential quarters: the case of Shahjahanabad," and "Sustainable and equitable urban environments in Asia." Dr. Badshah has taught at MIT, Roger William College, and the University of Washington, has authored Our Urban Future: New Paradigms for Equity and Sustainability (London: Zed Books, 1996) as well as several articles addressing urbanism, housing and development, has conducted international conferences and has consulted for many international development organizations. He is the recipient of the New England Chapter of the AIA Award for Low-Income Housing and Mentorship Project in Lowell, Massachusetts. His more recent projects include Global Classmates, the Social Venture Fund and the Social Enterprise Laboratory, which seek out innovative information technology projects with high social benefits. Currently, Dr. Badshah is the co-Founder and Executive Director of the Digital Partners Institutes in Seattle, Washington. www.digitalpartners.org

Bagchee, Nandini
MIT
SMArchS
2000
Book illumination and architectural decoration : the Mausoleum of Uljaytu in Sultaniyya
Book illumination and architectural decoration : the Mausoleum of Uljaytu in Sultaniyya

This thesis examines the conventions of two-dimensional articulation in architecture and its relationship to book illumination in early fourteenth century Iran. By examining the illuminations in a series of imperial Qurans copied in the first quarter of the fourteenth- century and comparing them to the architectural decoration of contemporaneous buildings in Ilkhanid Iran, the thesis proposes that it is the rigor of geometric elaboration in two-dimensional planes that make such a comparison across media plausible. The taste for increasingly complex two-dimensional geometric extrapolations and the creation of layered surfaces, such as those exhibited in the decorative designs of the Mausoleum of Uljaytu in Sultaniyya, Iran, ultimately engender a perception of architecture that alludes visually to an rendition of two dimensional space that is common to both painting and architecture.

Nandini Bagchee is a practicing Architect and an Assistant Professor at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer College of Architecture at the City College of New York. As the head of her practice, Nandini has undertaken residential, institutional and commercial projects. Her architectural work and research has gained recognition in recent years and has been exhibited in New York and abroad. In 1999, her proposal for the Petrosino Park was exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. In 2003, her entry for the Great Egyptian Museum in Cairo was published in a catalog put together by the museum. She has also been involved in installation works and designed a stage set for the Opera , "Il Sogno di Una Notte di Mezza Estate" performed in Citta Del Pieve in Italy in 2007.
Her current research focuses on architecture, urbanism and history in the Middle East and Asia. Her seminar on "World Cities" is offered to both Graduate and Undergraduate students at City College. She brings this understanding of culture, nature and history to her design practice and teaching.
In 2009, Nandini Bagchee was awarded a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to coordinate an architectural Competition "Peace Pentagon: A Call to Action". The work from this competition was exhibited in multiple venues in downtown Manhattan, creating a public forum to investigate the nature of activism and architecture in New York.
In addition to the City College, Nandini Bagchee has taught and lectured at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany, the New York institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design and The University of The Arts in Philadelphia. Nandini holds degrees from the Cooper Union (B. Arch 1993) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SM Arch 2000)..

Basrai, Zameer
MIT
SMArchS
2009
The New Citizens: A Study in architectural identity of public philanthropic institutions built by two Isma`ili communities in contemporary Bombay
The New Citizens: A Study in architectural identity of public philanthropic institutions built by two Isma`ili communities in contemporary Bombay

Just across the railway lines at Charni road, forming a backdrop to the Marine Drive, stands the Saifee Hospital in all its splendor. Across the city in the neighborhood of Mazgaon, nestled behind the St. Mary’s school along the central railway line, and in an equal splendor, stands the Center of Excellence, Diamond Jubilee High School. Both buildings were built in the last five years. Both use a similar quantity of glass and cement plaster and establish their contemporaneity so. Both institutions were built by Shi’i Isma’ili communities, the hospital by the Bohras and the school by the Khojas. Both buildings represent a significant phase in the history of these mercantile communities in Bombay where their emergence as public philanthropists echoes the rapid increase in wealth and the creation of global diasporic networks in a liberal Indian economy. But while the Saifee hospital is cloaked in its massive pastel colored facade punctured by numerous arched windows and capped by ornamental domes, the Diamond Jubilee High School displays a playful juxtaposition of geometrical forms and volumes with dashes of color composed so as to expose structure and skin. The thesis explains how these two buildings, which have such different appearances, are comparable strategies for expressing Isma’ili communal identity. In Chapter two, I construct a detailed comparison of the two buildings with respect to their location in the city, aspects of siting, faqade, interior, spatial organization, program, client and architect teams.   (cont.) In Chapter three, I investigate and conclude that the two institutions mediate Isma’ili faith, citizenship and mercantilism in architecturally different but functionally comparable ways that respond to the complex social ’condition’ in contemporary Bombay. This thesis thus studies the expression of communal identity through its patronage of public architecture. It claims that architecture is instrumental in the creation, sustenance and subversion of communal identity and is an effective social construction used to communicate within the public sphere. I argue that for post-partition Indian Muslims, to contend with their identity in a rising tide of Hindu nationalism in the country, requires mediation of faith, citizenship and in the case of the Isma’ilis, mercantilism. Isma’ili public philanthropy, I propose, is a mode for expressing this communal identity. I explain Isma’ ili architectural expression as a product of a condition distinctive of contemporary Bombay, where the simultaneous marginalization of the two Isma’ili communities by the Hindus and the other Muslims, creates a space for them to perform within the public sphere.

A practicing architect in Bombay, India since 2006 and an aspiring historian, Zameer Basrai has been involved in the history and historiography of architecture built by urban marginalized communities. His work addresses issues concerning architecture and identity, contemporary marginalization and community conservation.
Beshir, Tarek
MIT
SMArchS
1993
Architecture beyond cultural politics: Western practice in the Arabian peninsula
Architecture beyond cultural politics: Western practice in the Arabian peninsula

Much of the recent architectural discourse in the Gulf States is permeated by a passionate preoccupation with narratives of identity and self-definition. During the last two decades, these states invited an overwhelming number of western architects to participate in development projects. The work of these architects appears to involve a multitude of interpretations. At one end is the architect’s own theoretical position and autonomous architectural discourse, while at the other end is the cultural and ideological circumstances by which the architect’s work and ideas are received and understood. This study is focused on two institutional buildings designed by two western architects: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh by Henning Larsen, and the National Assembly in Kuwait by Jam Utzon. A critical reading of texts and representations of these buildings provides a vehicle to expose the explicit and implicit theoretical positions of the two architects and to offer a critique of the cultural politics of identity by which the architect’s work and ideas are received. This study argues that the "discursive practice" and the cultural politics underlying the work of architecture serve to place identity as the centerpiece of discussion which in tum reduces architecture to a set of prevalent characterizations and obscures any meaningful analysis of work and ideas.

 

Bhalla, Arunjot Singh
MIT
SMArchS
1994
Ordering the land: Urban metaphors for a park in Cairo
Ordering the land: Urban metaphors for a park in Cairo

This study proposes a method for the design of a contemporary urban park on the eastern edge of the Old City in Cairo. Precedents in park design are briefly explored with a focus on the relation of the park to the city. The urban fabric of the Old City is analyzed in detail to extract metaphors, models and principles that can serve to devise an ordering framework for the park. The design as it emerges is informed by two themes - the site as an urban quarter of the city and the park as palimpsest. The intention is to create a framework that will place the site securely in relation to its geographical locale and to its historic context.

Arunjot S. Bhalla graduated from the SMArchS program in 1994 with his thesis on "Ordering the land: Urban Metaphors for a Park in Cairo." Thereafter, Arunjot Bhalla joined RSP Singapore where he was involved in projects ranging from highrise office structures to exhibition centers and residential developments, including the International Technology Park at Bangalore. From 1997 onwards he has been at RSP India as head of the professional team with primary responsibility in design. Arunjot’s major focus has been in the design and development of IT Parks and Software Development Facilities. Design projects include Oracle India Development Center, JP Techno Park, The Millenia, SAP Labs Campus, Motorola Campus and the Palm Springs Residential Development in Bangalore, as well as Capital Tower in Singapore and Sentul Raya Exhibition Center in Kuala Lumpur. As well as interior design work in Bangalore and Hyderabad, Mr. Bhalla has done some urban design work such as the Tourism Development Plan in Visag, Andhra Pradesh, Global Village in Bangalore, and ITC Chirala in Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Bhalla has been living in Bangalore since 1997 with his wife, Gurmeet, who has her own pediatric practice in Bangalore, and his children, Angad, who is two, and Mannat, who was born last year.

Bilsel, Selami Mesut Can
MIT
SMArchS
1996
From scientific framing to architectural reconstruction : the creation of an ideal image at Didyma
From scientific framing to architectural reconstruction : the creation of an ideal image at Didyma

The incomplete Temple of Didyma appeared in modem times as a constructed image, as an affirmation of the representative Greek temple. By the turn of the century the remains of the classical Didyma were rediscovered, the temple was redrawn and the site was literally and metaphorically "enframed." Reconstruction of the remains of classical antiquity provided beholders with the physical and aesthetic immediacy of a far distant past. Hence, the immediacy and tangibility of reconstructed images helped to differentiate between the world of the "original" configuration of the remains and that of their later existence.
Given that the construction of architectural knowledge has rarely been questioned at Didyma, this study inquires into the codification of the remains of antiquity into the domain of the discipline of architecture, which ultimately differentiated the architectural product of a certain "golden age" from the historical processes in which it accumulated its meaning. The 1895-1896 "Beaux Arts" excavations and reconstruction seem to be the most representative example of such a codification. By the end of the 19th century reconstruction drawings represented the "unfinished" temple of Didyma in a complete form that has never been "achieved" in antiquity, while the excavations physically demolished the contemporary village surrounding the temple. Culminating with Hausoullier's and Pontremoli's representations, the reconstruction work metaphorically restarted the building at the point where it was interrupted in the late 4th century AD and transformed it into a finished, framed picture. Therefore, central to this study is a questioning of a 19th century scientific methodology in the uncovering and reassembling of architectural fragments which would ultimately take their place in the construction of an a priori image. But the study equally raises a more general question about the "framing" of the historical sites for "understanding" architecture and how this understanding might obscure the impetus of other historical and contextual concerns.
In terms of historical interpretation, we have to clarify that the "modern" temple of Didyma exists today in the way it is represented. Just as the construction of the ideal image of Didyma has its historicity, the interpretation undertaken by this study is also bound by our own temporal world and takes a position vis-a-vis the Beaux-Arts reconstruction. Beyond the aim of an "objective" reconstruction, this study intends to put the fragments of historical evidence together with later representations.            Its aim, in other words, is to contribute to a "fusion" of discourses and interpretations in Western Anatolia. It is an attempt to claim the importance of site-specific concerns as opposed to all-encompassing, culture deterministic theories; an attempt for specificity without closure and inclusiveness without dispersion.

Can Bilsel is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art at the University of San Diego. Having graduated from the S.March.S. program in 1996, Bilsel completed his doctorate at Princeton University’s School of Architecture. He received a number of awards including the Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, and was a Getty Fellow in Los Angeles for two consecutive years in 2000-2002. In Summer 2007 he was invited as a visiting scholar to the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Bilsel’s recent scholarship engages the workings of the historiography of art and architecture. He is most interested in key moments when, thanks either to a major archaeological discovery or a rearrangement of an archive, the past becomes intelligible to modern viewers in a new way. His forthcoming book “Antiquity on Display: Techniques of the Authentic in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum” (Oxford University Press, 2010) seeks to contribute to historiography by interrogating the German reconstructions of Middle Eastern antiquities. By organizing his discussion of archaeological reconstructions around the theme of authenticity he intends to contribute to opening a public debate concerning the preservation of historic heritage. Bilsel’s most recent work on archaeology, modernism and nation building includes a long article, “Our Anatolia: Organicism and the Making of the Humanist Culture in Turkey,” published by Harvard University’s journal of Islamic art, Muqarnas (Brill, 2007).

Brotherton, Richard

MIT
HTC PhD

ABD
   

Richard Brotherton is an Architect; he has worked since 1989 in New York City, both with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Design and Construction, where he is presently Director of the Courts Program Unit.
He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, worked in Jerusalem with the British School of Archaeology, and studied at the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome. Various presentations to Learned Societies while at MIT focused on the architectural role of the muqarnas, while his contribution to the first GSD Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo, Urban Design Studio included an early articulation of the idea for al-Azhar park.

Cakmakli, Oruc
MIT
SMArchS
1983
Transformation of traditional design concepts into contemporary architecture
Transformation of traditional design concepts into contemporary architecture

The primary aim of this thesis is to explore the design concepts of traditional architecture in Anamur, Turkey, and to make an attempt to incorporate the design patterns extracted from traditional houses into contemporary architecture. First, the traditional and contemporary architectural concepts and their present conditions are explained briefly in relation to the country and the town. Second, the case-study of Anamur's traditional houses is introduced with their measured drawings. Third, an attempt is made to extract the design patterns of three traditional houses, and fourth, an experiment is made to generate a house of both traditional and contemporary concepts.

 

Carr, James
MIT
SMArchS
1994
Collaborative process and the transformation of the urban environment: Wall, street, and scaffolding on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston
Collaborative process and the transformation of the urban environment: Wall, street, and scaffolding on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston

This thesis addresses two questions: how to develop a process of collaborative building in cities, and what kind of public places to make in cities. More generally: how can urban dwellers re-engage with urban architecture in a meaningful and vital way? In response to these questions it is proposed that architects must help to define ways that people can directly collaborate in experiments to redefine their environment. An approach is suggested to bring the process of making together with the design of the place by designing "pieces of the process." An architectural "vocabulary" is put forward that can be used in on-site collaborations to develop alternatives and to build zones of community interaction and reconciliation of civic life. This vocabulary is made up of both build-able form and an awareness of the cultural capacities for use and meaning of architecture. It attempts to enrich the dynamic language of architecture which already exists in the social life of communities, and to address that language to the goal of enriching the life of the city.

James Carr, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP is an architect with thirteen years of experience dedicated to developing beautiful and effective design solutions for a wide range of project types, including educational facilities and green buildings. A LEED 2.0 Accredited Professional since 2002, Mr. Carr works to design projects that are environmentally responsive in every aspect. Recently completed projects include a 54 kW roof-mounted solar PV array for the Charles River ARC in Needham, and green-building consulting for renovation of a Department of Conservation and Recreation facility on the Cape Cod Canal. Prior to starting his own firm in 2004-- James Carr, architecture & design-- Mr. Carr Co-Chaired the Greening Committee at Flansburgh, Associates in Boston, where he was Project Architect and led the sustainability initiative for the 90,000SF William F. Stanley Elementary School in Waltham--the only LEED Certified public school building in Massachusetts--among other projects. Mr. Carr is a Co-author of the Coalition for High Performance Schools Best Practices Manual and Design Guide , Massachusetts Version. ©2002. This comprehensive guide to designing a green school includes an extensive technical manual and covers every aspect of high performance school construction. In San Francisco in the 1990's Mr. Carr worked on the design of both rural and urban schools, co-founded an organization-- 218Trees-- to preserve urban open space, and served on the Parks and Open Space Circle of Sustainable San Francisco. Mr. Carr has been a Guest speaker at Brandeis University in the Environmental Studies Department, is a Registered Architect in Massachusetts, New York & California, and is a graduate of MIT and Columbia University.

Chowdhury, Asiya
MIT
SMArchS
1993
The persistent metaphor:
Gender in the representations of the Cairene house by Edward W. Lane and Hassan Fathy
The persistent metaphor:
Gender in the representations of the Cairene house by Edward W. Lane and Hassan Fathy

This thesis is developed as a critical study of the representations of the Cairene house in the contexts of colonial and post-colonial times. Based on the observation that the introverted image of the house remains constant over the two eras, it explores the underlying cultural agendas with relation to the issue of gender segregation in the house. The two canonical representations of the house in their respective times; by Edward W. Lane in mid 19th century and by Hassan Fathy in mid and late 20th century, defined the Cairene house with constant thematic focus on its introverted character. This inwardness is inextricably related with the social practice of separation of genders in the Cairene society which was addressed in both representations in varying degrees. In colonial representation, the focus on the introverted character of the Cairene house became a venue for commenting on the social practice of subjugating woman in the Cairene society.    Certain selected type of urban residences affirmed the colonial thesis of segregation of woman in the house. Thus the representation showed an overt emphasis on harem quarter and its associated architectural and spatial elements. The harem was highlighted to assert the difference between the social norms of the colonized and the colonizing cultures. The Middle Eastern society was thus categorically reduced to a segregative and inferior Other which in reciprocity defined the liberal and superior identity of the colonizing West. The post-colonial representation perpetuated the same introverted image of the Cairene house to establish an Arab identity. This identity is anti-western, which looked for its precedents in examples considered uncontaminated by the western Influence. Climatic and social rationalization established the same interiority as appropriate and contextual. In this reversal of connotation, segregation became privacy.    The anti-colonial rhetoric of identity of the self is both a reaction to and a derivation from the colonial representation of the Other. The post-colonial search for identity paradoxically ends up in replicating the colonial image of the Cairene house. The post-colonial representation of the Cairene house exploits the traditional and segregated role of woman in the domestic space in establishing an anti-western identity. This speaks of an internal male-female power hierarchy, as Asish Nandy observes, " ... the internal colonialism in turn uses the fact of external threat to legitimize and perpetuate itself." Caught in the politics of identity, the representations of the Cairene house affirmed the secluded existence of woman in the society.

 

Cipriani, Barbara
MIT
SMArchS
2005
Development of construction techniques in the Mamluk domes of Cairo
Development of construction techniques in the Mamluk domes of Cairo

This dissertation reconstructs the building features, the construction methods and the esthetic and structural changes of the Mamluk Mausolea in Cairo (1250-1517 A.D.); a special attention is dedicated to the domes that cover all the Mausolea and that represent an example of high expertise in Mediaeval architecture. This works document several stages of their construction from the Mausoleum of As- Sawabi, 1285 A.D. to the Funerary Complex of Amir Qurqumas, 1506 A.D. through bibliographic sources, photographic material and restoration reports collected in several libraries and archives where information on the topic is stored. Moreover, three Mausolea belonging to the period of construction in stone: Umm Sultan Sha'ban (1369 A.D.), Farag Ibn Barquq (1389-1411 A.D.) and Amir Khayer Bek (1502 A.D.) are fully documented with survey on site, technical drawing and structural analysis.
(cont.) Through a detailed analysis of the Mausolea, this work aims to answer to wider questions, such as the role of the patronage in the changes of the architectural features, the differences and the similarities in the construction methods and in the structural behavior between complexes belonging to distinct moment of Mamluk History and the transmission of knowledge in the construction world of Mamluk Cairo.

 

Çolakoglu, Birgul
MIT
HTC PhD
2001
Design by grammar : algorithmic design in an architectural context
Design by grammar : algorithmic design in an architectural context

An experimental study was performed to explore the practical applicability of the rule based design method of shape grammars. The shape grammar method is used for the analysis and synthesis of the hayat house type in a particular context. In the analysis part, the shape grammar method is used to extract basic compositional principles of the hayat house. In the synthesis part, first the evolution of a new hayat house prototype is illustrated. An algorithmic prototype transformation is considered. This transformation is achieved in two ways: by changing the values assigned to the variables that define the component objects of the form, and by replacing the vocabulary elements of the form with new ones. Then, the application of the rule based design method for housing pattern generation is explored. The design of a housing complex is illustrated using this method.

 

Dawood, Azra

 

MIT
SMArchS
2010
Failure to engage : the Breasted-Rockefeller gift of a new Egyptian Museum and Research Institute at Cairo (1926)

 

 

Failure to engage : the Breasted-Rockefeller gift of a new Egyptian Museum and Research Institute at Cairo (1926)

In 1926, the United States’ first Egyptologist James Henry Breasted and the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., proposed to build a New Egyptian Museum and Research Institute in Cairo. The Egyptian government ultimately rejected the proposal and the museum was never built as suggested. The project’s failure was attributed to "suspicious" or "irrational" nationalism and "Egyptian vanity." The archives, however, demonstrate otherwise. This thesis analyzes the Breasted-Rockefeller museum’s conception, trajectory and failure, using the team’s lengthy correspondence. The archives show that the project was an early example of U.S. cultural imperialism, disguised as a gift of "Science," from the "Great Democracy of the West," to an Egypt desirous of independence from British and French empires.    Deploying the twin themes of post World War I "opportunity" (political) and "obligation" (civilizational, scientific, philanthropic) to demonstrate the imperial possibilities of the particular political and cultural moment in 1926, Breasted mobilized Rockefeller first and the U.S. State Department later, to pry open the political field in Egypt for U.S. entry through archaeology and appropriation of antiquity. The Breasted-Rockefeller team’s strategy was to create an Anglo- American alliance in the Near East, by beginning with the creation of a private-philanthropic corporation for the New Egyptian Museum, controlled by Western archaeologists, with token Egyptian representation. This ambitious and innovative approach to imperialism was spatially and architecturally revealed in the proposed museum’s design and in its location in Cairo. That this project failed when it would succeed in later iterations elsewhere, is to be ascribed both to the lack of U.S.    power against competing British and French imperialisms at this early stage, as well as to Egyptian nationalism, which identified the Breasted-Rockefeller proposal for the imperial project that it was, and which had begun to recognize Egyptian antiquity as a metaphor for nationalism.

 
Datey, Aparna
MIT
SMArchS
1996
Cultural production and identity in colonial and post-colonial Madras, India
Cultural production and identity in colonial and post-colonial Madras, India

All cultural production is a consequence of its context and is infused with meaning and identity. A preoccupation with the visual and symbolic aspects of architectural form and its cultural meaning has led to an increased autonomy of the architectural object. This thesis posits that architectural forms do not have fixed, unchanging and singular meanings, but that they acquire meaning in particular contexts- historical, social, cultural and political. Certain forms or stylistic motifs, acquire, embody or are perceived to represent the identity of a nation or cultural groups within a nation. The confluence of a search for 'Indianness' and the post-modem thought in architecture is a paradoxical aspect of the recognition of the autonomy of architecture.
In the contemporary India, the search for a 'Tamil' identity, may be perceived as an attempt to create a distinct, regional identity as opposed to the homogenous and universal national identity. This is similar to the creation of a 'British-Indian' identity as opposed to the western one, by the British, in the last quarter of the 19th century. In this attempt to create a regional identity, the same or similar regional architectural forms and stylistic motifs were the source and precedent to represent both 'Tamil' and 'British-Indian' identity. This would imply that the forms do not have a singular meaning but that they are embodied with meaning and symbolism in particular contexts. This is exemplified by a trans-historical comparison between two colonial and contemporary buildings in Madras, South India. The Post and Telegraph Office, 1875-84 (Architect: Robert Chisholm) and the Law Court, 1889-92 (Architect: Henry Irwin) represent the two trends within 'Indo-Saracenic' architecture. The former draws precedents primarily from local, regional and classical Hindu temple architectural traditions while the latter from the 'Indo-Islamic' Mughal architectural tradition. The Valluvar Kottam Cultural Center, 1976-8 (Architect: P. K. Acharya) and the Kalakshetra Cultural Center, 1980-2 (Architects: M/s. C. R. Narayanarao & Sons) represent the search for an indigenous 'Tamil' architecture. The sources for the former are primarily from the Dravidian style classical Hindu temple architecture of the region while the latter is inspired by the local and regional traditions. Paradoxically, the same or similar forms manifest opposing ideals, and represent colonial and post-colonial identities, respectively.

Aparna Datey recently joined the Center for international Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee as an Academic Programs Coordinator for the Global Studies program which is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the impacts of globalization.
After completing her SMarchS in 1996, she worked as an architect at Niles Bolton Associates in Atlanta, GA and has taught design studios at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta and at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

DeCosta, Alfred
MIT
SMArchS
1989
A reinterpretation of "sense of place": A study of the Stone Town of Zanzibar
A reinterpretation of "sense of place": A study of the Stone Town of Zanzibar


This thesis attempts to understand the evolution of the Stone Town of Zanzibar, an urban fabric that had undergone a phase of upheaval that was brought about by a brief period of rapid change in its political, social and economic structure. The relevance of the investigation lies mainly in the historical context of the urban fabric under study and in its unique cosmopolitan identity. These two factors direct the focus of attention to the 'cumulative consciousness' of this urban environment that manifests itself in the various diverse elements that form what has been called the 'core' of a 'place'. The 'core' is examined as a potential tool that could be utilized to generate a reinterpretation of the 'sense of place' in a socially transformed urban fabric. The substance of this reinterpretation is directed towards establishing a premise for reinvigorating, by stressing continuity, a stagnant traditional environment Personal reflection on general and particular experiences of 'places' within the area under study constitute the main body of material analysed. The framework for the analysis emerges as an assembly of theoretical and factual data that supports the objective goals of the study. In conclusion, the study is oriented towards reviving a consciousness of the uniqueness of the "place" that is lacking in the current conservation efforts being undertaken within the Stone Town of Zanzibar and that may be exploited in its overall revitalization.

 

Demerdash, Nancy


MIT
SMArchS
2009
Mapping myths of the medina: French colonial urbanism, oriental brandscapes and the politics of tourism in Marrakesh

 

Mapping myths of the medina: French colonial urbanism, oriental brandscapes and the politics of tourism in Marrakesh

Before the French Protectorate of Morocco was established in 1912, Marrakesh was both a major trading node in North Africa and one of the royal cities in Morocco. Yet as the number of colonists surged and the pieds noirs population settled in the ville nouvelle, Marrakesh’s native inhabitants were relegated to the medina. The French mission civilisatrice bolstered segregationist aims and in the process, manufactured a Moroccan cultural heritage (in contradistinction to the preservation of a French heritage) that served to lure potential emigrants. With its burgeoning tourism industry, this colonial binarization of the urban layout and demography lives on in Marrakesh, resulting in the creation of a medina that is still marketed through an orientalizing lens, heralded as little more than an exotic spectacle. This study seeks to understand the contrived makings of a Moroccan cultural heritage, embodied in the monolithic medina, with respect to urban form. But the colonial constructs of old are far from obsolete; these myths of the medina are being adopted, appropriated, and reinvented by the current Moroccan Ministry of Tourism and its partners to satisfy foreign demand. Consumed in the form of what I call an "Oriental brandscape," Marrakesh is framed and famed to promise hedonistic pleasures. Such perpetuated representational tropes actually materialize the oriental fantasy for the consumer; consequently, Marrakesh has become more of a product than place. This study attempts to highlight that the modem manifestations of Moroccan cultural heritage are not discrete from its colonial constructions.

Nancy Demerdash is beginning her third year in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University, where she is studying nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architecture and urban planning of the Middle East and North Africa, particularly in French colonial contexts. After completing her Honors BA in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she then went on to complete her S.M.Arch.S. degree in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For her S.M.Arch.S. thesis, Nancy broadly focused on French colonial urban planning in Marrakesh. Since then, some of Nancy's varied research interests have come to include contemporary Arab art, the historiography of Islamic urbanism, and aesthetics.

Demirtas, Fatma Aslihan
MIT
SMArchS
2000
Artificial nature : water infrastructure and its experience as natural space
Artificial nature : water infrastructure and its experience as natural space

This work is about water infrastructure and its experience as urban and natural space. It deals with the concepts of nature/geography, technology, and the integral experiential space by analyzing water dams and reservoirs that are more than utilitarianstructures. These structures at the same embody a space of imagination that unfolds into idealized geographies and nature's in their experience. In the process of formulating the concept of ARTIFICIAL NATURE, an expanded
definition of 'built activity' is pursued to embrace landscape/nature, infrastructure, and technology as well as imaginative and mental space. The specific sites of investigation range from Thrace to Central and Southeastern Anatolia in Turkey from 1920-2000.

 

el-Husseiny, Mohamed Ahmed
MIT
SMArchS
1987
Genesis and legacy--a study of traditional, contemporary and proposed systems of control over residential developments in Cairo, Egypt
Genesis and legacy--a study of traditional, contemporary and proposed systems of control over residential developments in Cairo, Egypt


This thesis deals with contemporary residential developments presently being carried out by the formal private sector in Cairo. These developments are typical of many other cities in Egypt, and indeed throughout the Middle-East and other Arab and Muslim countries. The thesis stems from my dissatisfaction with the present morphology generated by the use of certain physical models, as well as the limitations imposed on architectural and urban designs by building laws and regulations that I believe to be inadequate in many ways. In searching for solutions, guidelines, and appropriate concepts, I shall refer to traditional Arab-Islamic environments, which I feel offer a number of interesting principles and concepts from which we may benefit. The study will be carried out based on the premise that "Tradition per se should have no authority, bur it does have value" (Al-Hathloul, 1981, p.11). Therefore I shall also attempt to clarify the reasons and circumstances that have led to - or influenced - the development of traditional built forms, as well as determining how valid and applicable the traditional concepts remain under contemporary conditions. The study will not be limited to historical precedent alone since many of the present conditions of modern life do not have any precedent in traditional environments. Therefore the search will go beyond the boundaries of regional heritage to include other valid references without geographical or historical limitations. The object is to reach a set of guidelines offering an alternative approach to the issues of forming and controlling residential developments in this part of the world. It is hoped that such an approach will prove to be more responsive to local physical conditions, as well as to the socio-cultural values of the communities, and that the proposals therein may contribute to the development of a built environment that is physically and spiritually more fulfilling.

Mohamed El-Husseiny graduated from the Aga Khan Program in 1987 after submitting his thesis, "Genesis and Legacy - a study of traditional, contemporary and proposed systems of control over residential developments in Cairo, Egypt." He has since returned to Cairo, where he now runs his own firm, Mohamed El-Husseiny Architects and Engineers. Over the past few years he has been engaged in the design of private residences, Tourist resorts on the Red Sea coast, and a five-star hospital facility, as well as a K through 12 school in a new development outside of Cairo. In 2001 his Mr. El-Husseiny's team prepared an entry to the Egyptian Ministry of Education's department of academic building competition for the design of multiple public school models to be used contextually throughout Egypt, for which they received second prize on two of their models. Last year, Mr. El-Husseiny teamed up with AKP colleagues Howaida Al-Harithy, Hana Alamuddin, (..* and originally also Khaled Asfour), to produce an entry to the Grand Egyptian Museum architectural competition. On a more personal note, Mohamed lives with his wife, Hedy, who teaches at the Cairo American College, his daughter Kismet, and his son Ahmed, a recent graduate of Cairo University and a budding architect himself.

Elkatsha, Markus
MIT
SMArchS
2000
The evolution of Al-Azhar Street
The evolution of Al-Azhar Street

The historic quarter of Cairo, al-Qahira, is going through a period intense transformation that is threatening the physical environment as well as the social and economic fabric of the city. The transformations taking place in al- Qahira are threatening the diverse cultural, social and economic makeup of the city that have existed for centuries in an attempt to satisfy the agendas of interest groups external to the existing community that want to capitalize on the city's historic features.
Al-Azhar Street and the surrounding area is at the center of the transformations taking place in Historic Cairo today. Through an analysis of the area, an urban solution will be developed that mediates between the various interest groups acting in al-Qahira today. The intention is to present a physical design that demonstrates a way of addressing the needs of the quarter's existing inhabitants as well as the needs of new interest groups to the area.

Markus ElKatsha graduated from MIT in 2000 with a degree in both Architectural Studies and City Planning. His thesis, entitled "The Evolution of Al-Azhar Street, Al-Qahira, Egypt," investigated ongoing changes to the Old City of Cairo as a result of such developments as the new Aga Khan Park adjacent to Al Azhar University and the tunnel which has re-routed traffic from the 1920s surface artery which bisects the Old City's fabric. Since the fall of 2000, Mr. ElKatsha has been working at Machado and Silvetti Associates in Boston. His design projects there have included the Getty Museum in Malibu, California, the Stone Barns project in Westchester, New York and new construction on the campus of American University Beirut. Competitions that he has been involved in include the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, California as well as the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Emami, Farshid


MIT
SMArchS
2011
Civic visions, national politics, and international designs : three proposals for a new urban center in Tehran (1966-1976)
Civic visions, national politics, and international designs : three proposals for a new urban center in Tehran (1966-1976)

In 1975, Muhammad Reza Shah, the king of Iran, inaugurated the construction of a ceremonial urban center in northern Tehran. The proposed plan, prepared by Llewelyn-Davies International, consisted of a large plaza and two boulevards lined with governmental and commercial buildings-an extravagant project made possible by the 1973 oil boom that quadrupled Iran’s revenue. But the Shah’s vision was never realized: construction was soon halted with the eruption of the protests that led to the fall of the Pahlavi monarchy in 1979. The Llewelyn-Davies plan was not the first proposal for the site. It was initially planned in Tehran’s master plan-prepared jointly by Victor Gruen and Farmanfarmaian Associates (1966-70). In late 1973, Louis Kahn was solicited to prepare a proposal, which was never finished as Kahn died in March 1974. This thesis examines these three proposed plans for a new urban center in Tehran. Through a detailed examination of consultancy reports, architectural drawings and archival documents, the thesis critically analyzes the urban vision and socio-political underpinnings of the projects. Based on the three main roles of the new urban center-civic, national, and international-I interpret the plans as metaphors of urban life; as political tools of nation building in the postwar web of nation-states; and as products of international design currents. The aim is to delineate the ways in which international design currents meshed with the political, social and intellectual context of Iran in the 1970s, a period characterized by authoritarian rule, monarchical nationalism and rapid modernization. Underlying all three proposals was a yearning to create a modernized, acculturated and apolitical urban middle class. The trajectory of these plans demonstrates how the demand for rapid modernization obliterated alternative voices and led, ultimately, to "the tragedy of development."

 
Elshahed, Mohamed
MIT
SMArchS
2007
Facades of modernity: Image, performance and transformation in the egyptian metropolis
Facades of modernity: Image, performance and transformation in the egyptian metropolis

Shifting political, social and cultural landscapes in contemporary Cairo with the triumph of Neolibralism are defining the city’s modem heritage. In order to create a narrative of transformation of architectural production and its entanglement in different social, cultural and political contexts within the city’s history, I will focus on the epicenter of the modem city, wust-el-balad, Downtown. It has recently been appropriated through a dual process of asserting the city’s modem heritage. The first part of this process utilizes popular media such as period-based soap operas, photography exhibitions, literature and film. The second part of the process is through preservation of Cairo’s modem buildings and the drafting of legislation to protect them. Architectural style, ornamentation of frontages (facades), is central to this process of shaping ’modem’ Cairo. The criteria for inclusion into this heritage as practiced by the various committees and authorities explicitly place facades and aesthetics at the top of their selection process. Thus the process of heritization is inscribing a certain image of modernity in Cairo by selective inclusion of certain architectural styles. This thesis traces the constantly shifting image of modernity throughout downtown’s history from its origin in the nineteenth century to its present state in the twenty-first century.   (cont.) In response to the hyper-functional architecture of the 1970s and 1980s accommodating population growth of the capital, architectural trends in the 1990s in Cairo heavily relied on historicism. According to Ashraf Salama, Professor of Architecture at Al-Azhar University, "historicism has been materialized with a strong reference to three main Egyptian cultures: the Pharaonic, the Coptic, and the Islamic." However, in the last decade a new architectural trend is growing in popularity that historicizes an alternative era in Egyptian history, the modern period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thus the study of the state of architectural practice in contemporary Cairo is directly related to the city’s modern origins in the 19th" century. In this thesis I will narrate the making of an architectural and urban aesthetic that is later forgotten by processes of damnation of memory and is recently being nostalgically appropriated by the middle class for the making of new architecture. These processes of making, forgetting and remembering are reflective of the cultural identities of those active in them.

Mohamed graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2005. During his undergraduate years he had diverse work experiences including working for the Jersey City Housing Authority on community housing, for non-profit organizations Concordia in France and Legambiante in Italy working on fort restoration projects, and for artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude on their work The Gates in Central Park, New York City.
Mohamed joined the SMarchS program at MIT immediately following graduating from NJIT. At MIT, he developed his interests in the role of nostalgia and historicism in contemporary Egyptian culture and architecture. This thesis project is the culmination of his work at MIT which he will further develop as a doctoral student at the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department at New York University beginning Fall 2007.

Eskandari, Maryam


MIT
SMArchS
2011
Women's Places and Spaces in Contemporary American Mosque
Women's Places and Spaces in Contemporary American Mosque

There is an ever-present demand for Mosques in American cities to accommodate the more than 8 percent of the American population that are Muslims; the majority of which are American-born Muslims or American converts. However, Muslim-American communities have implemented the same architectural vocabulary of mosques seen in the Middle East into their American neighborhoods. Nevertheless, this architectural transplantation from the Middle East to America does not come without problems. The weaving of Middle Eastern architectural culture with an American application of Islam, which is prominent within Modern American society, gives rise to internal tensions felt within the community, in particular to the issue of Muslim women’s’ place in community mosques. Through the numerous case studies and investigations of the American Mosques that I documented, it is clear that the community does not provide adequate spaces for their women members.    My thesis explores the process of modifying and developing a new architectural vocabulary for the American mosques within the confinements and boundaries in Islam, in particular, creating an adequate space for women. A lack of attention to the needs of American Muslim women in the states has caused a gender conflict over the adequacy of spaces for Muslim women within American mosques. For example, in the 2006 controversial documentary titled the "Mosque of Morgantown"1 , located in West Virginia, a significant dilemma was created dividing the Muslim community residing in the United States. The "Mosque of Morgantown" set the social precedent for some Muslim women to question some of the religious rulings regarding prayers and set the tone for numerous other protests, of which the most recent occurred at the Islamic Center of Washington DC. In early part of 2010, the Islamic Center of Washington D.C.2 had an outburst of escalating tensions between genders. Thirty Washington D.C.    women united in protest and refused to pray in the basement of the mosque, which was their designated area of worship. Instead they decided to attend prayers under the same roof as the men during worship. This seemingly simple act of protest was frowned upon. The Imam of the mosque declared that the allocated rows were for men only. The presence of women in the rows resulted in the delay of the obligatory Friday prayer that is mandatory for men in Islam. Through these incidences, it is clear that an investigation of a new architectural expression, within the confinement of the religion, for women-driven spaces needs to be conducted.

 
Fadan, Yousef
MIT
HTC PhD
1983
The development of contemporary housing in Saudi Arabia (1950-1983): A study in cross-cultural influence under conditions of rapid change
The development of contemporary housing in Saudi Arabia (1950-1983): A study in cross-cultural influence under conditions of rapid change

This study provides a framework for understanding the circumstances associated with the introduction of modern housing concepts and techniques to Saudi Arabia. The analysis and discussion of the relevant cultural influences offers a theoretical framework--historically grounded and critically positioned--for explicating the implications for national development of the country's contemporary housing situation and programs. That Saudi Arabia is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world today is widely recognized both in Saudi Arabia--and abroad. Saudi Arabia is being transformed into a modernized nation in the space of only about ten years, a process that in most Western nations took many decades. Housing construction is taking place everywhere in the country, and entire new cities are being built overnight. In Saudi Arabia, which occupies about four-fifths of the Arabian peninsula, with relatively sparse population the ambitious development plans are inconsistent with the limited local resources. Hence, in order to achieve the ambitious goals set out in the plan, assistance must be sought from outside. As a result, an influx of experts and workers at all levels (highly skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled) have arrived to avail themselves of the immense job opportunities offered in the country. Firms representing varying professional backgrounds have come from every part of the world. Every system and method as well as every building material known is being applied. In the preoccupation with the management of rapid industrialization on a scale of unprecedented magnitude the socio-cultural values of Saudi Arabia and the traditional urban residential patterns to which they have given rise have been sadly overlooked. The case of the traditional houses of Mecca is adduced to indicate that there exists a precedent showing how new building techniques and materials had been gracefully integrated into local building practice. The local master builders knowledge of their own culture, traditions, and natural and human resources enabled them to modify those new techniques and materials, adapting them to local needs without undermining local socio-cultural values. It is therefore theoretically possible once again to address the challenge of the new -- needs and technology -- while minimizing cultural disintegration and loss.

 

Feng, Zisong
MIT
SMArchS
1994
Conceptual urbanism: Towards a method of urban form and urban design
Conceptual urbanism: Towards a method of urban form and urban design

"Conceptual urbanism" describes the interpretive nature of a particular structure of the --    city perceived through the morphological examinations of urban artifacts; emphasizes the perpetually changing "realness" in the concept and the vigorous search for its verification and falsification in the urban artifacts of the city. How does a specific knowledge of the city influence the perception of urban artifacts within the city? And how does an urban artifact or a group of artifacts brings about a particular order of the city? These are complex questions that concern the nature of the artifact, the mental frame of the observer and the transaction of the two in the mind. The thesis investigates how the knowledge of the morphology of the city conditions a specific perception of urban artifacts’ formal qualities; and vice versa, how an urban artifact, by virtue of its tectonic makings, makes possible a particular mental structure of the city.    Boston is used as case study to show how the conceptual structure of the city can be obtained by examinations of morphological developments of Back Bay, Government Center area; and the conceptual structures thus derived can be applied to evaluate the tectonic qualities of Marketplace Center at Quincy Market, City Hall at Government Center, and Hancock Tower at Copley Square. The thesis continues to propose that the conceptual structure abstracted from the morphological stages of the city can serve as a middle ground for the synthesis of two schools of city form studies--one by Conzen in urban geography, the other as represented by Rowe, Eisenman and Hancock in urban design--for a method that starts either from empirical scrutinies of individual artifacts without losing the larger structure of the city or from a generalization of a city’s structure with substantial details that tie the structure to actual history of the city.    Through the process of formulating conceptual structures by examining urban artifacts in relation to stages of morphology of the city, a tension is created between the designer’s conception and his! her perception of urban artifacts. The final part of the thesis considers this tension as a new impulse for urban design process; and urban design as a vehicle for the tectonic studies of urban artifacts and city form.

 

Germen, Murat S.
MIT
SMArchS
1992
The Arsenal of Venice: A study on the degree of context-conscious architecture
The Arsenal of Venice: A study on the degree of context-conscious architecture

The main focus of this study is to define a flexible approach for the most conventional challenge in architecture of introducing a new building into a fabric, that we sometimes call "context", composed of old buildings that have historic significance. Flexibility of the approach is an important issue since the character can change drastically from context to context. "Respecting the context" is used in architectural language as if it were a crystal dear concept. However, both words (ie. "respect" and "context") are very large concepts in themselves and it is possible to generate various associations, sometimes even contradicting each other, from these words. As a consequence, it was crucial to define the exact personal meaning of "context" by reinterpreting it. In addition, it was important to decide about levels on which "respect" for the "reinterpreted context" can be accomplished. In fact, that is where the flexibility of the approach comes about since the levels to be respected change from context to context. After reinterpretation of these terms, next goal is to provide collaboration of old and new through overlap rather than juxtaposition. The point of overlapping is to offer the possibility of experiencing old and new simultaneously by creating alternating interwoven layers of old and new. Finally, there is a secondary study on existing examples of new interventions in historic contexts. The purpose of this study is to derive possible processes of "respecting/ignoring the context". Defining these different processes will help figuring out "what not to do?" rather than "what to do?"

Murat Germen is an artist / architect using photography as an expression / research tool. He has a BS degree in city planning from Technical University of Istanbul and an MArch degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he went as a Fulbright scholar and received AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal for academic excellence. Works as a professor of photography and multimedia design at Sabanci University in Istanbul. Previously worked for various state and private universities such as Bilkent, Yeditepe, Istanbul Technical, Yildiz and Bilgi University; teaching various topics. Has submitted work for distinguished publishers / organizations such as; Istanbul Modern Museum of Art, Young&Rubicam / Reklamevi, Link McCann Erickson, The Designory, Norman Foster&Partners, Medina&Turgul DDB Advertising Agency, Rafineri, Swissôtel, Boyner, Aga Khan Architectural Awards in Geneva, Siemens, Koc Holding, Yapi Kredi Culture and Art Publishers, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Economic & Social History Foundation of Turkey, etc. Having many articles / photo series published on architecture / photography / art / digital design at various magazines and books; he has been accepted to several seminars, symposia and conferences like SIGGRAPH, ISEA2009, Mutamorphosis, Towards a Science of Consciousness, CAe 2008-9, CAC2, EVA-London’08-‘10, eCAADe, ASCAAD to lecture on pertinent topics. Has opened nearly forty inter/national (Turkey, USA, Italy, Germany, UK, Mexico, Portugal, Uzbekistan, Greece, Japan, Russia, Iran, India, France, Canada, Bahrain) exhibitions. The artist and his artistic work is represented by C.A.M. Gallery in Turkey (http://www.camgaleri.net/sanatcilar/murat-germen/) and ARTITLED (http://www.artitled.nl/) in the Netherlands / Belgium. Has received inter/national awards (like second place award in 2007 and honorable mentions in IPA years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, Px3 2007 and IVRPA 2007) for work on photography, design and architecture. Has been invited as jury member for eminent national photography competitions.
www.muratgermen.com

Grigor, Talinn

 


MIT
SMArchS

MIT
HTC PhD


1998

2005


MIT SMArchS 1998
Construction of history: Mohammad-Reza Shah revivalism, nationalism and monumental architecture of Tehran, 1951-1979

MIT HTC PhD 2005
Cultivat(ing) modernities : the Society for National Heritage, political propaganda and public architecture in twentieth-century Iran

MIT SMArchS 1998
Construction of history: Mohammad-Reza Shah revivalism, nationalism and monumental architecture of Tehran, 1951-1979

This Master's thesis focuses on modem Iranian national/revival architecture under the Pahlavi royal dynasty, in particular the reigning period of Mohammad-Reza Shah.
I analyze and interpret three specific monuments: the mausoleum of Reza Shah built in 1950, the Shahyad Aryamehr Monument built in 1971 on the occasion of 2500-year monarchy, and a prayer-house in Farah Park built in 1978.
These monuments participated and contributed to the national narrative through revivalistic forms from the pre-Islamic architectural history, hence they underlay specific political agendas and were nationalistic in nature.
The destiny of these structures after the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty, raises issues of monumentality, permanence, and the presence or absence of inherent meaning in architecture.

MIT HTC PhD 2005
Cultivat(ing) modernities : the Society for National Heritage, political propaganda and public architecture in twentieth-century Iran

Beginning in 1922, under the auspices of the Pahlavi dynasty of Iran, the tombs of selected historical figures were systematically destroyed to make way for modern mausoleums erected as metaphors for an "Aryan" nation in its process of modem revival. Initiated during the reign of Reza Shah who ruled the country with an iron fist between 1921 and 1941, most of the projects were implemented under his son, Mohammad Reza Shah, between 1941 and the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Since the monuments were ideologically inscribed commemorations of the leading modernists and reformists of the 1920s, their impact permeated the definition and function of high culture in Iran’s 20th-century sociopolitical history. The dissertation offers a critical analysis of the political underpinnings, pedagogical aims, racial schemas, and aesthetic ends of propaganda architecture as they were conceived and constructed under the aegis of the Society for National Heritage. An in-depth study of the institutional history of the SNH, which included the construction of numerous mausoleums--particularly those belonging to Ferdawsi, Hafez, Ibn Sina, Omar Khayyam, and Arthur Pope, the supervision of over sixty preservation projects, and the creation of an archeological museum as well as a national library, the dissertation demonstrates that in the 20t century, the project of Iran’ s "cultural heritage" was not just about a series of public monuments, well-choreographed museums, (in)accurate indexes of historical landmarks, or art exhibitions and congresses. Modern Iran’s relationship to its cultural heritage was equated to Iran’s equal and rightful place in the network of modern nations; its safest and fastest corridor to a progressive, and at times utopian, modernity; and its essential ideological   (cont.) justification for the political, and often despotic, reforms aimed at territorial integrity and national homogeneity. Iran’s cultural heritage, it is argued, was modem Iran’s political raison d’e’tre.

Talinn Grigor (Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005) is an Assistant Professor of modern and contemporary architecture in the Department of Fine Arts at Brandeis University. Her research concentrates on the cross-pollination of architecture and (post)colonial politics, focused on Iran and India. Her first book, Building Iran: Modernism, Architecture, and National Heritage under the Pahlavi Monarchs (Prestel, 2009) examines the link between official architecture and heritage discourses in 20th-century Iran. Her forthcoming book, Contemporary Iranian Visual Culture and Arts: Street, Studio, and Exile (Reaktion, 2012) explores Iranian visual culture through the premise of the art historical debate of populist versus avant-garde art that extends into the identity politics of the exile. A co-edited book with Sussan Babaie, entitled Persian Kingship and Architecture: Strategies of Power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis (I.B. Tauris, 2011), investigates the architectural legitimization of royal power through Iran's long history. Her articles have appeared in the Art Bulletin, Getty Research Journal, Third Text, Journal of Iranian Studies, Thresholds, and DOCOMOMO among others. Past grants and fellowships include the Getty Research Institute, Cornell University, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Soudavar Memorial Foundation, the Soros Foundation, the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and the Aga Khan at MIT. Her present project deals with the turn-of-the-century European art-historiography and its links to eclectic-revivalistic architecture in Qajar Iran and the British Raj.
Gul, Marium

 


MIT
SMArchS
2011
Mitigating floods : reconstructing Lives : rehabilitating Thatta
Mitigating floods : reconstructing Lives : rehabilitating Thatta

Pakistan was struck by floods in July 2010, the effects of which left 20.36 million people affected and 1.9 million homes damaged or destroyed’. In the province of Sindh in Pakistan, most of the affected population of the historic city of Thatta took refuge by fleeing to Makli Hill, a necropolis with mausoleums dating as far back as 1352A.D. The capital of three successive dynasties Thatta is famed for its cultural heritage and Makli Hill. Some four hundred thousand flood victims camped out on the hill most lacking any form of shelter. This thesis develops a framework for refugee camps and resettlement strategies that respond to and integrate the migratory trends of deltaic communities in the case of a flood event in an area with great cultural heritage.    Taking into account different scenarios of flood disasters and recovery it aims to present an incremental, sustainable and transitional shelter program that local populations residing in flood prone areas of the Indus deltaic region of Thatta District can adopt in order to mitigate the effect of floods and hence reduce risk and vulnerability. The case of the Indus delta is particularly interesting because it requires a combined design strategy for the local phenomena of natural hazards and the global issue of climate change. The geographical importance of the site has been analyzed with respect to surrounding communities and primarily areas of relatively higher elevation, heterogeneous soil and water resources, and concentrated cultural heritage.    The urban development of Makli Hill because of its geographic location and topographical characteristics is a highly likely and viable one as can be concluded from the transformation of Makli Hill to a site of refuge when floods affected the region. The thesis concludes with the proposal of the developmental growth of villages through small scale local productive landscapes so that communities can be partially self-sufficient and sustainable especially in times of flooding. The project is conceptualized in Thatta as a model approach that is transitional in nature and may be adapted by low-income communities residing in vulnerable locations in other deltaic/coastal regions in Pakistan, and wherever there is a conjunction of natural hazards, cultural heritage, and safe building opportunities worldwide.

 
Gulyani, Sumla
MIT
SMArchS
1992
Rethinking resettlement--employment, negotiation, and land in Singrauli, India
Rethinking resettlement--employment, negotiation, and land in Singrauli, India

This thesis questions current resettlement approaches, and suggests a different way of thinking about the issues of i) participation, ii) land, and iii) employment in resettlement projects. This study of resettlement programs for people displaced by power and coal projects in Singrauli, India, found that:
i) Although there were no formal mechanisms to incorporate participation, displaced people or "oustees" did participate. Their resistance and top-down support for their cause forced the coal and power firms to negotiate with them. These negotiations enabled oustees to alter centralized decisions and ensured participation. Facilitating negotiations between project agencies and oustees, then, may serve as an approach that is both an easier first step and more effective than "participation" as it is conventionally understood.
ii) Despite scarcity of land in this urbanizing area some oustees managed to purchase small parcels of land with their own resources and compensation money. These parcels, including non-agricultural land, were a critical component of oustee attempts to diversify their income portfolio to include urban rents, urban jobs, and income from agriculture and kitchen gardens. While urban resettlement literature focuses only on providing well-located urban plots to oustees, this case shows that access to additional land is possible and may be crucial for economic rehabilitation of oustees in urban and urbanizing areas.
iii) The government's energy policies, and "efficiency" concerns of donor agencies run counter to their resettlement objectives. Narrowly defined efficiency targets for mines and power plants have undermined job-linkage policies aimed at increasing employment opportunities for oustees. This suggests that even getting resettlement policies right may not help if sectoral polices and regulations pull in opposite directions.
The Singrauli case suggests that in dichotomizing issues -- urban vs. rural, jobs vs. land, top-down vs. bottom-up, and jobs vs. efficiency -- policy makers may be overlooking the spectrum of options between these apparent polarities that may achieve successful resettlement and rehabilitation.

 

Hadimioglu, Cagla
MIT
SMArchS
2002
Proscribed scenes from a monument
Proscribed scenes from a monument

In producing the historic monument through attention to a neatly defined prescription of privileged concerns, architectural scholarship yields an effluvium of discarded issues proscribed by the conventions of scholarly tradition. This study proposes that a 'monument' arises from the unstable dialectic between spatial practices and history. By privileging the monument as document of history, scholarship elides the spatial practices and the experiences of architecture's occupants. This study explores the implications of instating these experiences and spatial practices to the 'scene' of architectural discourse using the moving image as representational tool.

 

Haider, Deeba
MIT
SMArchS
1999
The growing pains of global cities: Struggles in the urban environment of Dubai and Singapore
The growing pains of global cities: Struggles in the urban environment of Dubai and Singapore

This Master's thesis explores the validity of current theories of globalization through the analysis of two prominent second level global cities, Dubai and Singapore. The hypotheses of global homogenization and hybridization are studied according to their prominence and influence on the architecture of the commercial, entertainment and central business districts of these two cities.

Deeba Haider is an architect, consultant, writer and editor specializing in globalization, urban and cultural issues. She is the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) and a correspondent for Il Giornale dell'Architettura based in Turin, Italy. Formerly, she worked as a real estate / management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in New York City assisting Fortune 500 companies evaluate their real estate holdings and improve their efficiency, creativity and knowledge sharing in the work environment. Prior to PricewaterhouseCoopers, she was a program manager at World Congress LLC where she collaborated with the World Bank and other organizations in the private and public sector to identify key social, cultural, and developmental opportunities to create more competitive and socially equitable global cities. Her previous work experience also includes business development and marketing at Skidmore Owings and Merrill in
New York.
Ms. Haider graduated from the SMArchS program in 1999. Her graduate research focused on the effects of globalization on urban and cultural environment of global cities. Her thesis, "The Growing Pains of Global Cities: Struggles in the Urban Environment of Dubai and Singapore," was awarded the MIT Thesis Distinction Award
She is currently based in Santa Monica, California.

Hamadeh, Shirine

MIT
HTC PhD

1999
The city's pleasures: Architectural sensibility in eighteenth-century Istanbul
The city's pleasures: Architectural sensibility in eighteenth-century Istanbul

The definitive return of the Ottoman court to the capital city Istanbul in 1703 ushered in nearly a century of extraordinary building activity and urban change, in the process of which a new architectural idiom was defined. This dissertation examines the parameters of Ottoman architectural sensibility in the eighteenth century, starting at this pivotal moment and ending with the first European commissions in the 1790s. It draws principally on contemporary court poetry, and a wide array of Ottoman and European literary and visual sources, and architectural evidence.
It departs from current interpretations, which view European influence as the chief impetus of architectural change in this period. Instead, I contend that this was a time when social transformations in the making since the late sixteenth century were enacted in the city's fabric through the tastes, aspirations, and recreational practices of the urban society. The continuous dynamic between these manifestations and the state s efforts to reassert its visible presence in the capital was central to the formation of a new urban and architectural landscape. This is highlighted in the first part, which explores the development of the suburban waterfront, the spatial and structural transformations of residences, the formal evolution of private gardens, the proliferation and unprecedented magnificence of public fountains, and the phenomenal expansion of public spaces.
The second part focuses on the role of urban sensibilities in shaping a broader cultural horizon of expectations. Through an investigation of the age-old relation between garden and poetry in this period, I show that garden and poetic canon followed a parallel trajectory of "urbanization," symptomatic of a changing environment that accommodated a diverse range of social milieus and sensibilities. Drawing on the flourishing genre of rhymed architectural chronograms, I argue that this hybrid constellation of sensibilities informed the architectural vocabulary of eighteenth-century Istanbul. In Ottoman perception, beauty was measured against the sensuous pleasures derived from the visual and sensory experience of architecture. Brilliance, ornamental virtuosity, mimesis, and novelty, constituted the main parameters of appreciation. They mirrored a flamboyant and immensely hybrid visual idiom, tuned to the sensibilities of a broad and diverse public.

 

Haq, Saif-Ul
MIT
SMArchS
1992
Meaning in architecture: An investigation of the indigenous environment in Bangladesh
Meaning in architecture: An investigation of the indigenous environment in Bangladesh

A meaningful environment forms a necessary and essential part of a meaningful existence. Meaning is an interpretive problem, and meaning in architecture is difficult to grasp. Theoretical insights into meaning have to be based on analysis of existing and historical environments. The history of great architecture is a description of man’s search and discovery of meaning under different conditions. This, in turn, may be used to help improve today’s understanding of architecture. This study is triggered by a fundamental need to understand the architecture of Bangladesh. It finds validity by contrast with the narrow focus of existing studies. As a broad-based approach, this study looks at historical development, vernacular architecture, monumental buildings and, to some extent, at sources from peripheral areas. From these, it attempts to define what could be termed the essential theme of Bangladeshi architecture. In this regard, it argues that, contrary to popular belief about the bent roof shape or the introvert courtyard houses, the beginning and hence the essential constituent of Bangladeshi architecture is in the relationship between simple free-standing structures and their yards. The facades of the structures are the element from which the yards derive their quality. This primordial concept forms the model by which a meaningful environment is produced in Bangladesh.

Dr. Saif Haq, Associate Professor, is the Associate Dean for Research, and founder-director of Health-Care Facilities (HCaF) Design program in the College of Architecture, Texas Tech University. After graduating from MIT Saif went home and taught at the Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He returned to the US to pursue a PhD at Georgia Tech and graduated in 2001. His research explores Spatial Cognition and Space Syntax, uses Virtual Immersive Environments, and is focused on complex medical facilities. He has published both nationally and internationally, has chaired conference sessions, and serves as peer-reviewer for internationally reputed conferences and journals. Saif's work has been featured in news media and other forums. He is married to Feroza, and has two children Hridoy and Hridee. If interested, you may find Saif Haq in LinkedIn or Facebook. Alternately, you may visit his website at http://www.arch.ttu.edu/people/faculty/haq_s/

Hedrick, Christian
MIT
HTC PhD
2014
Modernism with Style: History, Culture and the Origins of Modern Architecture in Berlin, 1780-1870
Modernism with Style: History, Culture and the Origins of Modern Architecture in Berlin, 1780-1870

 

Heng, Teh Joo
MIT
SMArchS
1989
A theory of persistence in city form: Bursa, a case of the Ottoman city in Turkey
A theory of persistence in city form: Bursa, a case of the Ottoman city in Turkey

The evolution of city form is an issue that has been studied extensively. Typically, however, the focus has been on change rather than persistence. During the process of change, many aspects of the city are left unaltered and remnants of the past survive vividly. Furthermore, the presence of the past constrains the way new intervention is carried out. I propose the hypothesis that a city has an inertia that resists change. This inertia is distributed unevenly among urban artifacts, and a hierarchy of artifacts in terms of their rates of change can be established The latent potential or capacity of urban artifacts permits them to adapt to changes without significant alterations in their physical structure. This capacity of artifacts allows them to support functions different from the ones for which they were conceived. This quasi-autonomous nature of urban artifacts also leads one to distinguish between an internal and external history of physical urban form. The research methodology develops Conzen's "plan units" as a tool to analyze the morphology of plan units and their built forms. Plan units are morphological frames for the built forms within. In the occurrence of critical events however, plan units may be amalgamated, subdivided, or even removed. The thesis also focuses on the genesis, evolution, and site succession of urban artifacts. Bursa, an ancient city in the western part of Anatolia is then adopted as a case study for the theory of persistence in city form. The morphology of a selected research area is studied in the aftermath of three critical events: Ahmet Vefik Pasa's intervention, the 1956 fire, and the beginning of industrialization.

Award winning architect http://www.tjhas.com.sg/index.htm

Hill, Kara
MIT
HTC PhD
1992
Pascal-Xavier Coste (1787-1879): A French architect in Egypt
Pascal-Xavier Coste (1787-1879): A French architect in Egypt

The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the life of a Marseilles architect, Pascal-Xavier Coste (1787-1879), his architectural work in Egypt, and his subsequent historical publications on his return to France. In Egypt, Coste served as the chief architect of the Ottoman Viceroy, Muhammad Ali, during the early portion of his reign. Coste worked on modernizing Lower Egypt through various architectural and engineering projects. I plan to show that Coste was not only responsive to the needs of progressive design but was also sensitive to the Egyptian culture, creating a stylistic synthesis of European and Islamic forms. Unfortunately, due to Muhammad Ali’s military expenditures, much of Coste’s work was sidelined, to be built later in the governor’s reign. Coste’s original designs and realized buildings, however, continued to have a great impact on the design of Egyptian architecture throughout the nineteenth century.    Through a narrative of the life of Coste concluding with his publication of Architecture Arabe ou Monuments du Kaire in 1837, I will illustrate Coste’s attitude toward the Muslim world, his reasons for compiling the study of Egypt’s monuments, and the ultimate reception the book received in mid-nineteenth century France. Coste greatly admired the Islamic architecture of Egypt and through his work hoped to share this love with his European audience. In addition, he wished to contribute to the pursuit of Islamic architectural history. Ultimately, Coste’s work had little impact on nineteenth century historical studies because of the change in European politics and Europeans’ attitudes toward the Middle East during the later part of the nineteenth century.    By discussing Coste’s life in the context of contemporary historical developments, I will argue that Coste’s innovative objectivity led to the neglect of his work during the nineteenth century and the renewed appreciation of it by historians of Islamic architecture in the early twentieth century and beyond.

see http://www.apex-internet.com/portfolio/bamatmsu/architects.html

Hirji, Fatima
MIT
SMArchS
1995
Building new thoughts: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Building new thoughts: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) is an architectural award instituted by His Highness Karim Aga Khan to recognize the achievements of architects, planners, and community organizations that have contributed to architecture in the Muslim world. The scope of the AKAA enterprise is vast and informed by a vision that builds on establishing a critical foundation for the project of rethinking architecture for Muslim societies. That vision began with a challenge set by His Highness which simply asked, "What is the physical environment that Muslims should seek for themselves and for future generations in their homelands?" This question set into motion a diverse set of activities under the aegis of the Award, one of which was the establishment of a forum for debate, the AKAA seminars, to struggle with the intellectual groundwork needed to confront the challenges of the built environment in Muslim societies. Through a critical review and analysis of the issues raised within these seminars, this thesis examines the intellectual concerns of the AKAA and attempts to show how the formulation of these concerns have evolved over the last two decades. The results of this study show that in attempting to become a voice for issues revolving around the built environment of Muslim societies, the AKAA has generated a mediating discourse that integrates the rich architectural heritage of the Islamic world with the technological advances of modernity. However, as a strategy to deal with the impact of modernity within the Muslim world, the intellectual debate stops short of challenging the social and ideological structures within Muslim societies itself that have contributed to problems related to modernization and its impact on the built environment.

 

Hossain, Shakeel
MIT
SMArchS
1988
Paranoia and nostalgia in contemporary architecture of "Islamic" and developing worlds
Paranoia and nostalgia in contemporary architecture of "Islamic" and developing worlds

 

Ikert, Amanda
MIT
SMArchS
2005
Negotiating community amongst spatial and identity boundaries : the case of "unity in diversity" in the transmigration settlement of Mopugad, Indonesia
Negotiating community amongst spatial and identity boundaries : the case of "unity in diversity" in the transmigration settlement of Mopugad, Indonesia

In the 1970s, the Indonesian government undertook a massive national development program which involved the relocation of 1.5 million people throughout the islands of the archipelago. Known as transmigration, the program resettled people from Java and Bali, two islands experiencing overpopulation, urbanization and increasing poverty, to the "Outer Islands" of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Papua. One of the objectives of transmigration was the integration of the many ethnic and religious sub-communities throughout Indonesia to fashion Indonesian citizens which collectively would represent the national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, or "Unity in Diversity." Unfortunately, many of the transmigration settlements were established as exclusively Javanese or Balinese enclaves resulting in instances of inter-communal conflict with the indigenous groups. This thesis examines the unusual transmigration settlement of Mopugad, in Northern Sulawesi. Here the locus of integration is between two groups settled in the same town, creating an opportunity to assess whether the shared experience of migration is a condition of unification.   (cont.) We can see that in Mopugad the two communities, one Javanese and the other Balinese, have remained largely distinct and are apparently becoming increasingly distinct due to the evolution of religious culture. The relationship between the two communities can partly be seen in the negotiation of cultural and administrative jurisdictions visible in the changing physical order of the town. Though diversity has been sustained at the expense of unity, it is not impervious to the changing circumstances facing the town which could allow a change in trajectory towards increased unity and a diminished diversity. Should residents of Mopugad jointly decide that diversity is a goal worth pursuit, they will have to work deliberately to sustain it by building local interdependence. The impending threat that nearby informal gold mining poses to the health and rice-farming livelihood of both sets of residents may be an opportunity upon which to base a conditional community, a precursor to shared communalism. The resulting shared communalism would be particularly applicable in other parts of the nation as Indonesia undergoes massive political and fiscal decentralization. The children of the pioneers of transmigration have the opportunity to become the new pioneers of decentralization.

 

Jabr, Abdul Halim
MIT
SMArchS
1995
Programs and precedents: Future prospects of housing theory and practice in Lebanon
Programs and precedents: Future prospects of housing theory and practice in Lebanon


The object of this study is two-fold. The first is to critically understand the limits of a given set of housing principles within the exigencies of a specific context, that of Greater Beirut, Lebanon, a site of rapid physical and social urbanization that is literally devouring the small country. The second is to broaden the range of housing options in that context, ones that have not yet been considered, possibly for political, institutional, economic, and/or practical reasons. Some recent changes in the war-torn country might rightly prompt the consideration of previously untapped options. The housing options in question- formal public housing, community-based Supports, and combined squatter upgrading and Sites & Services- are brought into comparison through three relatively successful demonstration projects in other developing countries. While realizing that models cannot be replicated across cultural boundaries, piecemeal lessons can be learnt, and ideas can be appropriated, in the context of local norms, procedures, physical constraints, and broader urbanization issues.

 

Jalia, Aftab
MIT
SMArchS
2008
Refiguring the sketch : the Nari Gandhi cartographic
Refiguring the sketch : the Nari Gandhi cartographic

Nariman Dossabhai Gandhi, one of the earLiest proponents of organic architecture Taliesin and heaviLy influenced by Frank LLoyd Wright’s teachings on the same subj personal understanding of the term: organic, extending it beyond his mentor’s architectural rendition. Nari Gandhi defied the Legal and social norms that govern most present day ... Less-known exemplar of the organic ideology. This study of his works is placed in th that saw the emergence of new social thought, culture and architectural ... nation wanting to renew its physical identity. My thesis looks at his Life, unusual working ... and attempts to understand the ramifications of the rarity he embodied. A 37 mln film, researched and shot in India, accompanies this text and is the first like and works.

Employed by the Aga Khan Foundation
Jamal, Khadija N.
MIT
SMArchS
1988
The "present" of the past: Persistence of ethnicity in built form
The "present" of the past: Persistence of ethnicity in built form


The subject of this thesis was generated by the prevailing social situation in the city of Karachi, where many communities and ethnic groups co-exist in ethnically defined areas. At the beginning of the research it was clear that a study of the importance of kinship and communal living in the perpetuation of traditions and in the development of cultures would have to be included. The endurance of ethnicity in realized built form became the crux of the entire study. In tracing back the infiltration of the muhajirs into Pakistan's prime city of Karachi and its impact on domestic spatial planning, this inquiry attempts to explore the influencing factors in cross-ethnic differences and to a certain extent trans-class similarities. A number of aspects make this entire exercise curiously stimulating and intellectually invigorating: - Inadequate existing literature on the relationship between culture and built form in this context. - The presence of a great variety of ethnic influences in Karachi that add many dimensions to the richness of diversity and similarities. -Reflection of these in the every-day architecture which is constantly being created by the people and the professionals. The thesis, while establishing its theoretical framework on cultural interpretations, uses structuralists' perspective to view the case studies in order to ascertain the many influencing aspects of ethnicity and cultural continuity in the context of Karachi. The case studies are based on first hand data compiled by the author through site visits, which involved surveys of houses built by the people, observations of uses of various spaces within the houses, and interviews with residents. These are supported by oral information obtained in discussion with people in the field, and by existing documented information wherever available. On analyzing these data many reflections surfaced which centered around the cultural endurance and persistence of ethnicity in built form.

Khadija Jamal graduated from MIT with the SMArchS degree in 1989 with her thesis entitled, "The ‘Present’ of the Past: Persistence of Ethnicity in Built Form." She then returned to Pakistan where she worked with Arif Hassan Associates on an environmental profile for Karachi for UNESCAP as well as on a regional environmental study for Social Action Program. Ms. Jamal then went on to consult on settlement projects for the SDC, the World Bank, and USAID, and on an expressway feasibility study for DELCAN/CIDA, as well as undertake some freelance and cooperative design work including the Federal Government employees Housing Scheme in Islamabad with Rizki and Company. Since 1993, she has been pursuing a similar combination of design and development and planning projects as an Associate at the Consultants Group, Karachi. Ms. Jamal has worked with them on design projects for housing, schools, medical centers, commercial complexes, and tourist facilities. She has also reviewed NGOs for Homeless International, establishing a database of housing for the Aga Khan Housing Board of Pakistan and consulting on projects funded by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank particularly on water and sanitation and community infrastructure. Khadija Jamal has organized workshops on water, sanitation and environmental sustainability for groups ranging from the World Bank to the grassroots level. She is furthermore a trustee of the Baltit Heritage Trust, served as a technical reviewer for the 2001 AKAA, and continues to serve as the Director of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program.

Jarrar, Sabri
MIT
SMArchS
1990
A memory syndrome: Selfhood and otherness at the Wailing Wall
A memory syndrome: Selfhood and otherness at the Wailing Wall

Few groups in the world have as long-standing a claim to "peoplehood" as do Jews. Despite the longevity of that claim, however, the problem of instability inherent in objectifying a collective identity has not yet been resolved. The existence and salience of a collective self is assumed at the same time that statements and actions within the group suggest that individuals are not sure of either the group’s boundaries or its cultural content. The relationship between "Israeli society" and "the Jewish people" in Israel is loaded with tension, though there is little question in Israel or elsewhere that it is the "fact" of the latter that is responsible for the "fact" of the former. What about the conceptualization of the collective self in terms of a conceptualization of the collective "other"? The Israeli-Arab conflict is not a typical struggle between oppressor and oppressed, but is rather a struggle between stereotypes. When someone tells us who we are and has the power to impose their version of who we are on us -- according us certain rights and duties and denying us others by virtue of their representation of us -- we readily see it as an act of manipulation of the "facts" and the exercise of political power whose relation to reality we may question, even challenge. This analytical work is an attempt at examining some of the controversies generated by the dynamics and politics of manipulation as they structure in Israeli media in general. Architecture will be examined as a special representational medium that deals with signals of high symbolic values. In this endeavor, a recent Israeli project will be employed as an indicator of how architecture can become a viable channel of communication, where opposing groups can talk to each other, using this representational arena as a testing ground for new tendencies.

Sabri Jarrar graduated from the SMArchS program in 1990 . His masters thesis was submitted to the Department of History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of Planning and Architecture. He then went on to receive a second masters degree in the studies of Islamic Art and Archaeology from the University of Oxford in 1997. Mr. Jarrar is currently working on his doctorate through Oxford and expects to receive his PhD in 2003-04. His dissertation is on the architecture of the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem under the Ayyubids and Mamluks. A number of his articles on Islamic architecture have been published and he is currently contributing to a major publication on Ayyubid Jerusalem as well as one on the earliest photographic panoramas of the Near East. Mr. Jarrar was also one of the authors of ArchNetâs Resources for the Study of Islamic Architecture. Inaddition to his academic pursuit, he has also continued to practicearchitecture and has been managing health care design projects at Steffian Bradley Architects in Boston since 1998.

Javed, Shamim
MIT
SMArchS
1987
An approach to a regional architecture at the mouth of the Ganges
An approach to a regional architecture at the mouth of the Ganges

The retreat of Colonial rulers and the emergence of a new self identity among many of the once colonized nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America is one of the significant features of the current century. In the field of architecture, the expression of this independent spirit was delayed by the tenets of the Modem Movement that was sweeping the globe at about the same time. Now that this movement has run its course, leaving very little that is positive in the developing countries, architects from these nations are turning to their own history and culture to find guidelines for their work. As an architect from Bangladesh, that land where the mighty Ganges meets the sea, I feel a desire to do the same. The search for a basis of architecture in the spirit of Bangladesh can quickly become a progressively diverging inquiry encompassing questions like what is the purpose of architecture, what is the spirit of Bangladesh and why an architecture in the spirit of Bangladesh? Such an open-ended investigation, much beyond the scope of this thesis, has been given a manageable boundary by focussing on a museum design at the bank of the river Burhiganga in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A specific site offers the advantage of a much more tangible past and present to relate to and project a future from. The challenge was to connect these three timeframes without being simplistic. The zamindar-bari of Rupial, currently lying abandoned on the site, evokes the memory of a past typified by aristocratic rule. The life of the common people that permeates the site and its surroundings today is taken as a symbol of democratic spirit that one hopes would reign the present and the future. The Museum building sets up a dialogue between aristocracy and democracy where the later supersede the former. The process does not destroy the old but, rather, transforms it to serve the new; the past belongs to the present as the present to the future.

 

Kahera, Akel Ismail
MIT
SMArchS
1987
The architecture of the West African mosque: An exegesis of the Hausa and Fulani models
The architecture of the West African mosque: An exegesis of the Hausa and Fulani models

This thesis will examine two models of West African architecture-- the Mosque at Zaria, Nigeria and the Mosque at Dingueraye, Guinea. It will also attempt to illustrate implicit patterns of creative expression, both literal and allegorical , in the space-making processes of the Hausa and Fulani peoples. In passing, some attention will also be given to the cultural and building traditions of the Mande people. The notion of space and place in much of sub-Saharan Africa oscillates in a realm which is neither absolutely rational nor ethereal. Culture, it could be argued, can offer us an opportunity to investigate an analytical taxonomy through which we can compare and discover particular attributes of space and the phenomenological dimensions of built form. Culture , as a layered accumulation of historical events , visual vocabularies, and architectural expression, is subject at one time or another to an ethos which may have had a syncretic origin. Among the Hausa and Fulani, the image which exists within the architectural paradigm can be described as a language, or code or a method of explaining spatial concepts related to concrete space and traditional culture. The Hausa and Fulani spatial schemes are concerned with the nature of space as a context and metaphor for experience , inner and outer, hidden and manifest.

Akel Ismail Kahera received his SMArch degree in 1987 with his thesis, "Art and Architecture of the West African Mosque: An Exegesis of the Hausa and Fulani Models." Dr. Kahera has since gone on to receive his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and presently teaches in the Department of Middle East Studies; the School of Architeture and Urban Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. From the University of Texas at Austin he has recently been awarded both the Faculty Humanities Institute Fellowship and the Dean’s Fellowship, to add to his myriad other awards and research grants. Last year Dr. Kahera published Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender and Aesthetics (UT Press) and is in the process of working on three more books. Akel Ismail Kahera’s articles have been published in such journals as Studies in Contemporary Islam, Al-Shajarah: Journal of International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Journal of Islamic Law and Society, Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, MIMAR, International Journal of the Study of Traditional Environments and Cross Currents. He has written chapters in Mouvements Feministes: Origines et Orientations, Encyclopaedia of American Immigration and has made more contributions to forthcoming titles. Dr. Kahera has presented at conferences worldwide, served as convenor for the 1998 Symposium "The Life and Legacy of Hassan Fathy"and has organized a number of symposia for the Texas Association of Middle East Scholars (TAMES), and severed as the President of TAMES from 1999-2001. Also notably, Dr. Kahera served as an advisor to the Newark Museum’s exhibit on the Garden of Remembrance: A Memorial to September 11th 2001, is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture and has given frequent news interviews.

Kanekar, Aarati
MIT
SMArchS
1992
Celebration of place : Processional rituals and urban form
Celebration of place : Processional rituals and urban form

The celebration of processional rituals of festivity is a significant, dynamic, social and temporal dimension of the static form of the built environment. This study endeavors to understand the means by which meaning was added to the form, space and character of the built environment by these processional rituals. Processional rituals influence and are influenced by various aspects of the spatial framework. This study analyzes those spatial aspects that play a significant role in the relationship between processional rituals and urban form in general and then examines how these analytical principles work in the three specific case studies examined in the Indian subcontinent. The first case, that of the South Indian temple cities, focuses on the religious processional rituals; the second, Delhi is important for consideration of political and ceremonial processions; and the third case, Bhaktapur has both the religious as well as the political dimension working together. This thesis shows that processions do have a tremendous impact on urban form and spaces - some of which lose meaning and character without the rituals they were meant to house. Even when the original processional ritual is changes, urban spaces have a determining role in the creation of new rituals.

Aarati Kanekar is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Interior Design at DAAP, University of Cincinnati. Dr. Kanekar has been involved in teaching architecture theory, design, and graduate thesis at UC since 2000. She has also been the director and coordinator of the M.S. Arch. program at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Kanekar completed her Ph.D. in 2000 at Georgia Tech after her S.M.Arch. S. degree from MIT in 1992. Her research focuses on issues of design pedagogy, more specifically representation and spatial construction of meaning. Much of her research and publications on morphological studies in inter-media translations stem from her doctoral research on construction and transformation of meanings from literature to architecture. Dr. Kanekar's "The Geometry of Love and the Topography of Fear: On Translation and Metamorphosis from Poem to Building" examined The Divine Comedy through various art forms. Prior to this, she has worked on post-war reconstruction and conservation projects in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Turkey, and India. Dr. Kanekar has published numerous articles, essays, and encyclopedia entries, and her publications extend from architectural journals such as the Journal of Architecture to Literature and Philosophy journals such as TLE and Philosophica. She is a two-time recipient of the Pogue Wheeler Fellowship, the Doctoral Achievement Award, the ARCC/King Award for Architectural Research, and the Aga Khan/MIT Fellowship, among others. She has also been instrumental in initiating an ongoing exchange program between CEPT, India and DAAP, UC, and is its coordinator.

Karimi, Pamela
MIT
HTC PhD
2009
Transitions in domestic architecture and home culture in twentieth century Iran
Transitions in domestic architecture and home culture in twentieth century Iran

This dissertation explores the transformation of the Iranian home in twentieth century Iran. While surveying the socio political underpinnings and aesthetic ends of domesticity in Iranian culture from the early twentieth century through the first two decades of the revolution, this study also examines the impact of the Cold War on the daily life of Iranians. A showcase for the West’s humanitarian efforts in the region, the "reform" of the Iranian home was first brought about by missionaries, architects, and other foreign parties. They engaged in a hybrid dialogue that helped bring about a reconfiguration of houses, home cultures, and behaviors and tastes in domestic life. The Point IV Program of the Truman administration exported American home life by establishing home economics schools for Iranian girls. Subsequently, the Iranian domestic market was flooded with a plethora of new home goods. The influx of new spaces and goods raised questions about the authenticity of Shiite daily life, indigenous taste, consumer culture, and gender relations. Since 1979 the focus on Iran’s internal politics and its foreign relations has distracted attention from more subtle transformations, which took place prior to and in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution. By looking at the roles and opinions of religious scholars, the Left, and the revolutionary elites this study can also be seen as one that re-examines the history of Iran’s revolution through the lens of the everyday and private lives of people.   (cont.) Subsequently, this dissertation details the ways in which new ideas regarding the relationship between public and private spaces were put forward by numerous architects, urban planners, and cultural critics both during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1941-1979) and in the two decades following the revolution. Finally, it shows how, since 1979, Iranians have contested the dichotomies of "public" and "private" as manifested in the Islamic Republic’s texts, images, and actual physical spaces. Towards this end, this dissertation explores the interplay between foreign influences, religious rhetoric, gender roles, economic factors, and education as they intersect with taste, fashion, and architecture.

Pamela Karimi is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Her primary field of research is art, architecture, and visual culture of the modern Middle East. Pamela's articles, interviews, and reviews have appeared in Persica, Perspecta, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, The Art Journal, Bidoun, The Arab Studies Journal, CAA Reviews, Thresholds, and The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. A recipient of fellowships from several organizations, including the Social Science Research Council, American Association of University Women, and the American Council of Learned Societies, Pamela is currently completing her first monograph, Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era (Routledge, 2013) as well as a co-edited volume on images of the child and childhood in modern Muslim contexts (Duke University Press, 2012). She is the editor of the H-AMCA listserv, an online network of the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey.

Keswani, Serena Chandru
MIT
SMArchS
1992
The form and use of public space in a changing urban context
The form and use of public space in a changing urban context

Today appropriately designed architectural settings that adequately serve the function of supporting public life are rare. Sociologists and psychologists have consistently observed the alienating effects of modernity, and of modern attitudes to life, on community and society. It is believed that as a result of these attitudes of extreme invidualism, public life in American cities has declined over the last few decades. The urban square, as the classic example of a public space, is studied here in the present context of an American city. While it is clear that the reasons for this decline in public life are much deeper than merely architectural, the underlying premise is that it is at least partly due to the inappropriateness of its physical and programmatic design that the square no longer plays an active role in the public realm. Public space is being designed without people in mind and hence has become merely an empty symbol of public life. The Government Center Plaza in Boston is used as the specific example for the study. A comparative analysis of the various plans proposed for it illustrates that though it is partially the prevailing theories of urban renewal in the 60’s and modernist city planning ideals that are responsible for the current unsatisfying square, it is, as evidenced by the plan proposed by Kevin Lynch and John Myer, among others, with the firm of Adams, Howard and Greeley, still entirely possible to design satisfying urban public spaces which attempt to bridge between the planning approaches of the past and those which meet the functional demands of our times. That this plan was not the one eventually built is itself indicative of the problems in the urban design attitudes of that period.

 

Khan, Masood
MIT
SMArchS
1983
"Informal" architecture : an examination of some adaptive processes in architectural traditions
"Informal" architecture : an examination of some adaptive processes in architectural traditions

A greater part of urban built environment in Pakistan and similar countries may be termed "informal," as not being the result of architects' work. This study seeks to understand the historical nature of this architecture by looking at its past and present relationships with social practices, the social groups that practice it, and the various cultural forms that affect it. This is done by a comparative analysis of formal types as arising in indigenous tradition as well as in the colonial context, in the context of both morphological form and surface treatment and styles. The emergence of the architectural profession during colonialism and its alliance with emerging tendencies of modern architecture than with indigenous artistic urges is examined. The hypothesis is made and supported by empirical evidence, that both tradition and modernity reside in "informal" architecture but are modified, controlled or moderated by factors such as varying social attitudes among the differing social groups that represent its practice.

 

Khan, Nadir
MIT
SMArchS
1990
Searching for identity : the approaches of three Pakistani architects
Searching for identity : the approaches of three Pakistani architects

This thesis attempts to deal with some of the major issues relating to Pakistani architecture today as well as the consequent development of an architectural identity. In order to establish the framework for the study various discourses that reflect on the notion of identity have been examined. Due to the lack of an indigenous architectural discourse, and the consequent absence of critically rigorous information on the subject, this work is devoted to augmenting the very limited material available on the state of the architectural profession in Pakistan and to increasing an awareness of the directions that this architecture is presently taking. As a means of furthering an understanding of architecture in Pakistan the first part of this thesis provides some information on the development of architecture in Pakistan both in terms of historical evolution as well as through the development of educational institutions such as The National College of Arts. The rest of the work deals with the existing and emerging ’directions’ (in Pakistani architecture) as they are manifested in the projects of several influential architects. The three architects chosen for this study and whose work best represents the current range of architecture in Pakistan are; Habib Fida Ali, one of the most experienced and respected architects in Karachi, who having studied at the Architectural Association is a strong proponent of the modern aesthetic. Habib Fida Ali represents the ’modern’ current that runs through Pakistani architecture. Nayyar Ali Dada, an N.C.A. trained architect who has had the opportunity to do a great deal of important work both in Lahore and Islamabad. Nayyar Dada embodies in his work and approach the majority of architecture in Pakistan, which while aspiring towards modernism is affected not only by the living vernacular traditions but also by the fast developing rejectionist attitude towards modernism. Kamil Khan Mumtaz, as he makes quite clear in his book Architecture in Pakistan is a supporter of the "vernacular tradition". Kamil Khan is an architectural practitioner and a noted academic, who was the head of the department of architecture at the National College of Arts, Lahore between the years 1%6-1975. An evaluation of these architects’ work is to be undertaken on two levels - a critical analysis of their built work and an understanding of their own attitudes and approaches towards architecture, especially their evaluations of Pakistani architecture. This thesis can only be viewed as an introduction to their work and aims to get others interested in the multifaceted architecture being carried out in Pakistan today. I conclude with some thoughts on the notion of a Pakistani architectural identity and on the question of ’revivalism’ which is gaining considerable prominence among influential circles in Pakistan.

 

Khan, Sikander
MIT
SMArchS
1988
In search of a direction in the contemporary architecture of Arabia
In search of a direction in the contemporary architecture of Arabia

There is a new breed of contemporary buildings evolving in the Middle East that incorporates all the pragmatic functions of the 20th century, but, at the same time, attempts to capture the spirit of the indigenous architecture in its particular context This thesis seeks to investigate and understand the approach of architects who have attempted to design in a kind of semi-abstracted continuation of the Arab tradition. In order to be able to appraise the relationship of the built forms created by these designers to the issue of articulating an Arab identity, this essay has chosen to address contemporary institutional architecture. The two buildings chosen as an excellent example of this relationship are The Sief Palace Complex, Kuwait City, Kuwait by Reima Pietila, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Henning Larsen. The purpose of this study is threefold. First it evaluates the architectural vocabulary of each project in order to understand transformations intended to lead to the evolution of a new architectural vocabulary. Secondly. it is a cautionary tale to designers who set about buildings that attempt to respond to the exigencies of both internationalism and tradition, and finally it focuses on issues of guidance to state agencies.

 

Kosebay, Yonca
MIT
SMArchS
1998
An interpretive analysis of Matrakçi Nasuh's Beyan-i Menazil: Translating text into image
An interpretive analysis of Matrakçi Nasuh's Beyan-i Menazil: Translating text into image

Beyan-? Menazil (1537) is one of the most distinguished illustrated manuscripts of Ottoman art. It marks the transition from an exclusive textual historiography to one which includes illustrations. It contains 109 folios containing over 130 illustrations connected with Sultan Siileyman's campaign of 1533-1535 against the Safavids. This paper investigates the use of visual conventions in the illustrations. Conventions such as multiple views and connecting element? are used to indicate the itinerary and construct a narrative. Thus the illustrations of Beyan-? Menazil is a second text. Furthermore, the illustrations themselves use conventions as representation types. These representation types and their variations are, in all probability, a transfiguration of actual field notes. Thus the illustrations of Beyan-? Menazil are themselves the translation of text into image. The field notes and other elements also exhibit that the use of types is not merely a representational device; it in all probability extended into the actual survey - it was the very mode of observation. The use of representation types and its variations also not only allows specific correspondence with the actual buildings, but raises also the possibility of various observers, and artists involved in the production of the manuscript. Close scrutiny of the use of perspective raises the possibility that there were more than one artist; and probably an atelier involved, in the production of Beyan-? Menazil. By demonstrating the use of representational types, and the translation of texts (such as field notes) into images, this paper offers a new insight into Beyan-? Menazil.

Yonca Kosebay graduated from MIT with a SMArchS degree in 1998. Her thesis entitled, "An Interpretive Analysis of Matrankçi Nasuh’s Beyan-I Menazil: translating text into image" worked on one of the most distinguished illustrated manuscripts of Ottoman Art. Since 1999, she has been doing work towards her PhD through Istanbul Technical University, while also participating in projects which engage her architecture and preservation background. In 1998, Ms. Kosebay worked with Dr. Reha Gunay on the excavations of Side Theater. The following year she worked as an architect at the technical support office of the Aga Khan Trust’s Historic Cities Program in Istanbul and Mostar. In 2001, Ms. Kosebay worked at the TAC Foundation as their project coordinator. Her articles on preservation, building typology, urban configuration and architecture’s dialogue with communication technology have appeared in such journals as Mimarist, Istanbul, Art Décor, and Tasarim, as well as in the book Gokcuoglu Evi: Anatomy of a Building and in the papers from the "6th International Seminar on Urban Form" and the "8th International Building and Life Fair and Congress." She received her PhD in 2007 from Istanbul Technical University. Thesis title was "The architecture developed around the Anatolian Railway and Its Preservation". Since June 2008 she is an Assistant Professor at the Kadir Has University.

Kotob, Jenine Shaban
MIT
SMArchS
2013
Redefining Learning Environments in Conflict Areas: A Palestinian Case Study

Redefining Learning Environments in Conflict Areas: A Palestinian Case Study

This thesis is an exploration of learning environments in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as administered by private, refugee and public school systems. In considering the insularity of learning environments in the OPT, this thesis finds that despite increased school construction since 1994, public and refugee student drop-out rates have increased, enrollment rates have decreased, academic achievement is low, and students suffer from stress.
It is hypothesized that if schools are conceptualized as part of a broader learning environment, then the socio-spatial issues impacting student success may be improved. To test this hypothesis, learning environments in the OPT are examined with a two-fold methodology: historical and architectural. The two-fold analysis utilizes a conceptual framework, where child, building, neighborhood context, and education system, are understood as the four components of a learning environment.
The historical analysis is framed from the Late-Ottoman era until today and follows changing theories of education in parallel with the changing relationship between schools and the socio-spatial reality of the conflict. Results from the historical analysis indicate that educational institutions often cannot operate during times of crisis, leading local family and teacher networks to develop informal education systems in unconventional spaces. It is determined that learning environments must be able to adapt to the conflict and must embrace local communities as architectural, spatial, and social resources. This finding serves as a critical foundation for the architectural analysis.
The architectural analysis uses data collected from field work at 24 schools in the West Bank in August of 2012 through informal interviews with locals, photography, and journaling. The data reveal that the socio-spatial contexts of each school are unique due in part to divisions of the land. In order to limit the number of variables, special focus was given to three schools in Ramallah, which is a unique enclave that encompasses within it the socio-spatial realities of other enclaves in the West Bank. Taking from the lessons of each school system, it is concluded that new learning environments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories must positively respond to the bleak structures of the occupation by becoming programmatically diverse, architecturally innovative, and spatially integrated in order to create new and less insular cultural centers of which the students and communities can be proud.
This thesis concludes with recommendations for educationalists, architects and development professionals that stem from revelations in the historical analysis and results from the architectural analysis. Learning environments must span outwards allowing for an expansion of school resources, a broadening of learning experiences for youth, and the unification of Palestinians in order to improve the socio-spatial disorder of the occupation.

 
Kotob, Basel
MIT
SMArchS
1991
Spatial layering, an effect of Cubist concepts on 20th century architecture
Spatial layering, an effect of Cubist concepts on 20th century architecture

The discourse of architecture has been greatly affected by the revolutionary ideologies introduced by the rise of Cubism earlier in this century. Cubism had an impact on all the arts; there was a particular affinity between the ideas of construction in Cubism and those of architecture resulting in a closer relationship between art and architecture in this century than in preceding centuries. Three of the four architects discussed in this thesis have had explicit interest in the visual arts; Le Corbusier himself was an established artist. Examining this twentieth century phenomenon has been the task of this thesis, and in particular the concept of layering found in Cubist works and its influence in the formation of new devices of spatial expression. Devices, such as fragmentation, motion and multiple interpretations found in Cubist layering were incentives for architects to investigate the application of the concepts in architecture. I suggest that the fusion of the concept of layering with that of space resulted in a new concept, "spatial layering". Some architectural examples dating after the period following the first war are examined for evidence of these influences, and relationships between them are discussed. Finally, conclusions are proposed regarding the characteristics of the concept of spatial layering as a continuing paradigm of space in architecture.

Basel Kotob received his SMArchS degree in 1991 with his thesis ÒSpatial Layering: An Effect of Cubist Concepts on 20th Century Architecture.Ó He then moved to the United Arab Emirates where he worked as an architect and planner the Town Planning Department in Al Ain for three years. In 1994, Mr. Kotob moved to neighboring Dubai where he worked with ARENCO, an architectural and engineering firm. There he orchestrated many competition entries and worked on several large-scale residential and commercial projects. In 1998 Mr. Kotob joined the international architectural firm NORR Group Consultants International. Based in Toronto, Canada and with offices in the Middle East, NORR was a well-established architectural practice with a reputation of excellence. For the next three years Mr. Kotob was a key contributor on many distinctive projects that now highlight the Dubai skyline. During his tenure at NORR, Dubai, Mr. Kotob was an adjunct faculty member in the Interior Design Department at the American University in Dubai where he taught courses on design, perspective drawing and computer aided design. In June of 2001, Basel Kotob moved to Toronto with his wife, Khuloud Jajeh and daughter Maria. He currently works at NORRÕs head office in Toronto as an architectural designer. http://www.geocities.com/ bkotob02/

Lad, Jateen
MIT
SMArchS
2002
Reconsidering the analogy: The spatial and conceptual separation of haram and harim with emphasis upon al-Haram of Mecca and the imperial harim of the Topkapi Palace
Reconsidering the analogy: The spatial and conceptual separation of haram and harim with emphasis upon al-Haram of Mecca and the imperial harim of the Topkapi Palace


This thesis begins to question the long-standing spatial similarity between the Islamic notions of haram and harim, as presented in contemporary scholarship. By virtue of their shared etymology, both spaces are perceived as analogous, similarly endowed with the reciprocal qualities of the 'sacred' and the 'forbidden'. In the literature, haram is usually identified with the ritual ground at Mecca, which is defined as an exclusive sacred enclosure forbidden to non-Muslims. Meanwhile, harim is understood to be the domestic manifestation of haram, denoting the deeply private household quarters that are strictly off-limits to all men beyond immediate consanguinity. These distinct sites are bound together by a number of persistent analogies; namely, the ascribing of feminine qualities to both the ritual ground and the house, the domestication of the Haram, and the guarding of an inner sanctuary.

 

Lakhia, Kayed I.
MIT
SMArchS
1990
Attitudes towards the urban past
Attitudes towards the urban past

The city and its artifacts are among the most prominent witnesses to the material and spiritual condition of a culture. Far from remaining static, they are continually changing to adapt to the changing nature of individual activities, social patterns and technology. Thus a city is a fabric of several layers of time, existing at the same moment in the same place. This continuum is, on one hand, a repository of its people’s memory and collective consciousness; and, on the other, of their hopes and aspirations. It is this which gives a place its character, and contributes to its inhabitants,’ ’sense of place’ and ’sense of time.’ The monuments of the city may be in a state of ruin, and there may be arguments for their demolition, continuation in a state of ruin, or conservation. This raises the issues of why, how and to what extent to preserve the past; which of the several layers to preserve; and whether a general methodology of actions with regard to the inherited past is possible. In the case of rebuilding in an existing fabric there arises the issue: to which of the context’s several pasts should one relate the character of the construction; or should one focus solely on the present moment? The purpose of this thesis is to understand different attitudes towards the Past and how they may be drawn upon in the perception, understanding, and making of our cities and their artifacts. Through the use of representative examples in each of the several approaches, the thesis proposes to evaluate critically their attitude towards the past. The thesis also aims to assess the appropriateness of intervention in terms of the creation of a sense of place and identity in time; the means of enabling the people to readily associate with the city; and the maintenance of a sense of physical, spatial and cognitive continuity.

Kayed Lakhia is a Principal and Program Director at URS Corporation. He manages large Capital Improvement Programs for both public and private entities. He lives in Florida with his wife, two kids and ten-thousand books.

Lamprakos, Michele
MIT
HTC PhD
2006
Conservation and building practice in a world heritage city : the case of Sana’a, Yemen
Conservation and building practice in a world heritage city : the case of Sana’a, Yemen

The unique architecture of Sana’a, Yemen has been the focus of international conservation efforts, which have stimulated local interest and contributed to the formation of a local discourse. Because conservation followed so quickly on the heels of modernization, Sana’a provides an opportunity to study the interplay of these two global ideologies in the context of a strong local tradition of building. The "international" theory and practice of conservation developed in a specific cultural and intellectual context, that of modern Europe: it is based on the idea of an historic past that is radically different from the modern present. The artifacts of this past are frozen in time, relics of a past that has now been superseded. But the increasing museification of the built environment is untenable, and also incompatible with current notions of sustainability. Conservation in Sana’a and other cities in Yemen is unusual because the "historic past" is not so far in the past; in many cases, it is still part of the present. This provides not only an interesting case study, but an opportunity to reassess certain assumptions of international practice that are based on the idea of rupture between past and present, for example, the notions of historical value and authenticity.   (cont.) In contrast to other studies of conservation, this dissertation does not focus on heritage as a project imposed by international agencies or by the state bureaucracy. Rather, it treats heritage as a discourse that is shaped on the ground by various actors, many of whom see themselves as representing the historic past. A unique approach has developed in Sana’a at the intersection of international and local practice, and it is this intersection that is the subject of the present work. The first chapter establishes the wider context of the project "site": it discusses the development of conservation theory and practice in Europe, with special attention to the idea of the historic city. Chapters two and three provide historical background on the development of the city of Sana’a and the UNESCO international safeguarding campaign of the 1980’s. Chapters four and five take an ethnographic approach: they look at ways in which international practice has been understood and applied in the local context, by architects, builders, and residents. Chapter six traces the evolution of local discourse and practice through a series of projects, conducted with foreign assistance and by local organizations. The concluding chapter discusses the synthesis of international and local ideas and practices in Sana’a, and proposes policy directions based on this synthesis.

Michele Lamprakos is trained as an architect and an historian, with a focus in cultural heritage and the Middle East/North Africa region.  After obtaining a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton, she worked for an international aid organization, managing a project to revive the cottage silk industry in the Nile Delta.  Through this work she developed a deep interest in material culture, which led her to the study of architecture.  Ms. Lamprakos obtained a Master of Architecture from U.C. Berkeley (1992) and later, a Ph.D at MIT (History, Theory, and Criticism/Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture, 2006).  Her dissertation is an historical, architectural, and ethnographic study of the conservation of Sana’a, Yemen; it is currently under consideration by a publisher.
Ms. Lamprakos' career has included teaching, research, and practice.  In August 2011 she begins a full-time appointment as Assistant Professor in Architecture and Historic Preservation at the University of Maryland-College Park.  She has also taught for the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and the Maryland Institute College of Art.  Courses have included studios in design, adaptive reuse, and preservation; conservation history, theory, and practice; and the history of architecture and urbanism in the Middle East/North Africa, Europe, and the US.
Ms. Lamprakos is principal of PALIMPSEST LLC, a design and consulting firm dedicated to rethinking older buildings and sites.  She has worked and consulted on a wide range of projects - from earthen palaces in the Hadhramaut region of Yemen, to federal properties, tobacco warehouses, and infill architecture in the US.  In 2010, Ms. Lamprakos served as Technical Reviewer for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture: she evaluated the conservation of an historic town in Albania, and a new museum at the archeological site of Madinat al-Zahra in Spain.  She serves as peer reviewer for the Qatar National Research Foundation in the areas of architecture, urbanism, and sustainable development.
Ms. Lamprakos' research focuses on the relationship between history, culture, and heritage.  She is particularly interested in the ongoing transformation of historic buildings and cities. She co-organized an international symposium, "Conserving the City: Critical History and Conservation," held at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design in April 2012.  The proceedings will be published as an edited volume.

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Lenssen, Anneka
MIT
HTC PhD
2014
The Shape of the Support: Painting in Syria's Twentieth Centuryn
The Shape of the Support: Painting in Syria's Twentieth Century

 

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Levashov, Georgiy
MIT
SMArchS
1998
Computer analyses of the historical development of Bukhara city from the 5th c. B.C. to the 19th c. A.D.
Computer analyses of the historical development of Bukhara city from the 5th c. B.C. to the 19th c. A.D.

Based on the new architectural excavations by Prof. E. Nekrasova, the thesis will re-read and re-analyze the historical development of the Ark and the Shahristan, the historical cores of the city of Bukhara, and the relationship between them in the formation of the city's urban fabric. Most of the previous theories on the development of Bukhara were based on old historical chronicals. Analyses of the urban fabric were not supported by actual archeological facts. Drawing from my extencive fieldworks and surveys in Bukhara during the last two years, my thesis intends to combine the most acceptable ideas and facts into one persuasive proposal. The theoretical analysis of the paper argues with proposals made by two scholars from Uzbekistan. It takes into account the theoretical framework from both of them and applies it to my analysis of the historical formation of Bukhara. The first is the proposal of Prof. Notkin, who has based his theory of the city's development on the reading of the urban fabric. He believes that the city of Bukhara grew gradually and extended its borders in all directions throughout the city's development. The second proposal, by Prof. Bolshakov, contents that hte city of Bukhara was created according to Roman rules for a city grid, and then subsecuently defonned over the course of 2,000 years. Based on the generalized understanding of the city grid, Prof. Bolshakov presented a theory of the city plan in the beginning of its existance. Beginning with the 5th. c. A.D. through the 19th. c. A.D., my thesis will analyze the urban pattern of Shahristan and its relationship to the Ark in the smaller scale. Using architectural excavations within the Shahristan, my thesis will interpret the words of Narshahi, a writer of the 10th. c. A.D.who said that "Shahristan was divided into four parts and every part was organized as a village" - in a new way. Many scientists interpreted this sentence in the relation to the two roads that crossed the Shahristan from the North to the South and from the West to the East. Recent archaeological excavations reveal several patterns of the old wall in different parts of Shahristan. Using this data, my thesis will recreate and analyze the developments of the patterns of the Shahristan and the Ark and their relationship to the city and society of Bukhara.

 

Low, Kevin
MIT
SMArchS
1991
The dislocated mind : in the heart of reverie
The dislocated mind : in the heart of reverie

The dislocated mind is a condition common to us all: it speaks about the innate ability of the human mind to take conscious leave of its body in dwelling in the past of memory and in contemplating the future . The effects of dislocation are minimized in children: having a limited quantity of memory, the young conscious mind spends much of its time at the instant of perception, highly aware of the fleeting sensuality of its bodily experiences, and in intense absorption of the feeling associated with perception. As memory accumulates, so does the wandering of conscious thought increase, so much so that rarely, if ever, can the conscious mind perceive as it did in childhood. Mostly, in our over-dependence on the knowledge of the past, we neglect the knowledge that our senses still provide. Sensual knowledge, however, does not merely refer to the raw, perceived information that is then assimilated by our logic, it concerns a profound relationship which our minds share with our bodies; for at the heart of this dislocated mind itself is a particular condition which relates the metaphor of poetry to the creation of architecture. This condition will be explored through a consideration of the phenomenon of reverie.

Web: http://www.small-projects.com/

Mahmood, Saman
MIT
SMArchS
1999
"Shelter within my reach" : medium rise apartment housing for the middle income group in Karachi, Pakistan
"Shelter within my reach" : medium rise apartment housing for the middle income group in Karachi, Pakistan

This thesis identifies the project development processes of medium rise (five storied or less) apartment housing built by the private formal sector, catering to the middle income groups in Karachi, Pakistan. Middle income housing production is constrained due to the lack of support and a passive attitude adopted by the local public agencies, leaving a limited number of private builders as the key suppliers for this group. The study aims to understand both the builder's and the buyer's perspectives, the bottlenecks and limitations presented by the broader framework within which the particular housing delivery process takes place and its design implications on the apartment product. Through analyzing the housing market conditions, the research reviews the shifts and trends in the supply of medium rise apartments produced by the private builders. It argues that in a situation of rationed supply of publicly owned serviced land, under- developed housing finance systems, procedural predicaments and con·uptive practices of public agencies, medium rise housing- which was an affordable housing choice for the middle classes earlier- has moved upmarket to produce larger and more expensive units for the upper income categories. This process has accelerated in the face of slow growth in real incomes and high rate of inflation in Pakistan. Due to high risks faced by the private builders as well as high demand, the builders have set abnormally large profit margins. As a result prices of apartments have considerably increased causing them to be beyond the reach of most middle class families. The housing market in Karachi is thus increasingly becoming unresponsive to the middle class. Unfavorable market conditions are also discouraging entry of new entrepreneurs in the housing industry, and have led to the builders' perception that de-regulation of land-use and standards is the solution. The research concludes that provision of serviced land, increase in credit facilities and procedural improvements pertaining to acquiring permits and infrastructure connections, would create a dynamic process of housing development for the middle income. The study connects this development process to the design of the housing product. The research indicates that the current housing problems of the middle income group are a symptom of market failure in the housing sector. By analyzing case examples of middle income apartment schemes in the city and the response of residents and builders, changes and ideas for generating new approaches that deal more effectively with the quantitative and qualitative aspects of apartment housing are suggested for the middle class.

Saman Mahmood graduated from the SMArchS program in 1999 with his thesis, "Shelter Within My Reach: Medium-Rise Apartment Housing for the Middle Income in Karachi, Pakistan." After graduating, Mr. Mahmood worked at the Aga Khan Housing Board in Pakistan for four months before joining the design firm ICON in February 2000. In addition to residential projects, Mr. Mahmood particularly enjoyed working on the Karachi Playhouse, a multi-function theater in the heart of Karachi. Mr. Mahmood serves as an external examinor and jurist for functions at NED University of Engineering and Technology and Dagwood College. He continues to work closely with the Aga Khan Development Network, and in 2001 served as one of the nominators for the Aga Khan awards, nominating two residential projects.

Malik, Hala
MIT
SMArchS
2014
Enabling and Inhibiting Urban Development: A Case Study of Lahore Improvement Trust as a Late Colonial Institution
Enabling and Inhibiting Urban Development: A Case Study of Lahore Improvement Trust as a Late Colonial Institution

 

Marefat, Mina
MIT
HTC PhD
1988
Building to power : architecture of Tehran 1921-1941
Building to power : architecture of Tehran 1921-1941

Between 1921 an,d 1941, Reza Shah Pahlavi orchestrated the trans- formatioll of Tehran from a traditional Iranian Islamic city i.nto a modern capital. The urban grid, public spaces, state institutions and housing typologies introduced during his reign permanently altered the character of Tehran.
Through the use of 19th and 20th century maps and records, newly discovered building plans, and original architectural surveyfi, this dissertation investigates the nature of the urban change. An analysis of the structural elements of the traditional ci~-- wall and gates, royal citadel, religious buildings, and residential neighborhoods-- serves as a reference point for evaluating the modernization of the Reza Shah period.
Reza Shah initiated a rapid and irrevocable process of change that began in the public domain at the city scale and filtered into the private domain of the house. A gri.d of wide boulevards, traffic circles, and planned public spaces were superimposed on the traditional city. Foreign and native architects designed new state institutions including ministries, banks, museums, universities and schools. They introduced modern materials and a variety of forms incorporating both historical and modern influences. On public buildings and monuments, pre-Islamic imagery particularly from the Achaemenid period symbolized the new central state's reawakening of past grandeur.
This study examines not only key elements of urban and architectural change in Tehran but also the process and effects of change itself. The public building program eriLabled a first generation of Iranian architects to define a modern profession and, ultimately, to expand beyond the symbolic~ monumental requirements of state architecture. In Tel:ran's private architecture both Iranian and foreign architects found their most creative expression. Original surveys of traditional Iranian courtyard houses and mid-twentieth century row houses, apartments and villas demonstrate the many ways in which architects integrated tradition- al and modern features into new housing forms.
Characterizing for the first time the nature. scope and effects of Reza Shah's modernization process this dissertation attempts to elucidate aspects of the relationship between tradition and innovation in a ra~idly changing culture and to demonstrate how urban and archi- tectural changes initiated during the Reza Shah period introduced complexities and contradictions that still exist in present day Tehran.

 

Mejel, Jalal
MIT
SMArchS
1990
"Falling upon deaf ears": The case of colloquial architecture
"Falling upon deaf ears": The case of colloquial architecture

World War II had instigated a strong national movement in The Middle East. In the Fifties and Sixties this region witnessed the end of colonialism in wide spread revolutions. The predominantly agrarian societies of The Middle East were mobilized to modernize. The institutions, with a specific understanding of modernity, mobilized a society with deeply ingrained tradition to change. This intersection of modernity and tradition had produced rich and unique cultural manifestation. A local formulation that captured the essence of this intersection was manifested. This thesis proposes this manifestation as "colloquial" in nature and will aim at recovering it. A reconstruction of the society’s cultural history - institutional intervention: physical as in architecture and urban planning; social as in mass media and social programs- of the Fifties and Sixties is necessary to this recovery. Colloquial architecture had a space of aesthetic that was in tune with its cultural history. This has rendered the architectural expression constantly shifting, thus the difficulty of its recovery . This thesis will trace the particularities of colloquial architecture, as they break away from modern and traditional discourses, by alternatively assuming the position of a modernist and traditionalist. Particular methods will be employed to the various discursive fields that will be analyzed. The mode of analysis will be semiological in nature.

 

Michailidis, Melanie
MIT
HTC PhD
2007
Landmarks of the Persian Renaissance : monumental funerary architecture in Iran and Central Asia in the tenth and eleventh centuries
Landmarks of the Persian Renaissance : monumental funerary architecture in Iran and Central Asia in the tenth and eleventh centuries

This dissertation investigates the sudden proliferation of mausolea in Iran and Central Asia in the tenth and eleventh centuries and how their patrons, who were secular rulers of Iranian descent, drew on the pre-Islamic past in new ways specific to each region. Mausolea constructed in the tenth and eleventh centuries have a wide geographical spread across modem Iran and the ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. However, the monuments take two different forms: the tomb tower and the domed square. There are formal and functional differences and a different geographical distribution, with the earliest tomb towers concentrated in the inaccessible Alborz Mountains in northern Iran. This remote region had a very different historical trajectory from that of Central Asia, where the earliest extant domed square mausolea are located. Historians of architecture have often noted that certain features seen in these mausolea have some vague connection with the pre-Islamic past, but this connection has never been precisely defined or explained; I argue that the cultural dynamics which resulted in particular architectural forms were very different in these two regions, so that pre-Islamic Iranian traditions were selectively continued in the Caspian region of northern Iran, whereas other elements of the Iranian past were consciously revived in Central Asia. Two of the mausolea that I analyze, the Samanid mausoleum and the Gunbad-i Qabus, are well-known monuments which appear in virtually every survey of Islamic art, whereas most of the others are almost completely unknown. This dissertation situates these buildings in their historical context for the first time and examines them in a new way as an expression of the Persian Renaissance, a term borrowed from literary historians which describes the florescence of Iranian high culture which occurred at this time. Since this group of mausolea was influential not only in the development of funerary architecture, but also in the development of Islamic architecture as a whole, understanding their origins and formation is important for the history of Islamic architecture.

IN MEMORIAM MELANIE MICHAILIDIS 1966-2013

Melanie Michailidis completed her PhD in May 2007 with a dissertation entitled "Landmarks of the Persian Renaissance: Funerary Architecture in Iran and Central Asia in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries". From 2005 to 2007 she was an Ittleson Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and from 2007 to 2009 she was a Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Art and Art History at Carleton College. She has also taught as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Davis. In Fall 2011 she is starting a joint Mellon Post-doctoral Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis and the St. Louis Art Museum.

Mohamad, Radziah
MIT
SMArchS
1992
Unity in diversity: A design projection for a participatory housing in Kuala Lumpur
Unity in diversity: A design projection for a participatory housing in Kuala Lumpur

This thesis is an exploration towards an alternative design approach for a public housing in Malaysia. It stems from a conviction that the design of public housing should be based on the lifestyles and ways of living of the people it is intended for. Since the Malaysian people are composed of three diverse cultures: Malay, Chinese, and Indian, this thesis proposes a participatory approach which allows each group to accommodate their cultural needs in the design of their dwelling places. Recognizing that public and communal activities are very much a part of the living environment, the thesis attempts to accommodate these activities into the design process. Because each of the three cultures has different ways and needs, the design of both private dwellings and public/communal spaces is based on the supports concept, which is organized around a system of frameworks. This thesis is the second part of a two part work: Part I is a research of the various types of dwellings: traditional, squatter, and public housing; to discover the important principles and elements that persist in all the dwelling types shared by Malays, Chinese and Indians. Part II is a design projection of those principles for a participatory housing project in Kuala Lumpur, involving four of the thirty families surveyed in Part I research. The design exercise includes exploring various transformation possibilities to produce a whole range of variations that satisfy the needs of the diverse Malaysian cultures. Note: Part I and Part II are documented separately into a S.M.Arch.S and M.Arch theses respectively. Each document is a complete, independent thesis, but very much interrelated. Therefore, it is recommended that they be read in sequence.

 

Morshed, Adnan Zillur
MIT
SMArchS
1995
Dialectics of vision: The voyages of Louis I. Kahn, 1950-59
Dialectics of vision: The voyages of Louis I. Kahn, 1950-59

Kahn’s genre of travel sketches offers us a visual basis to map his philosophical meandering. This thesis addresses the sketches produced from Kahn’s voyages around the Mediterranean in 1950-51 and 1959 with an aim to understanding the premises that underlie them. During the trips, Kahn conjectured in his graphic oeuvre a dialogical method with the built forms of antiquity. On the one hand, he sought answers to his architectural and epistemological questions to these buildings; at another level, he re-contextualized the buildings in an imagined landscape that would in tum inform his imperatives. The sketches also permit an interesting theoretical commentary as they parallel Kahn’s emergence into active architectural career in the fifties. At first encounter, some of them seem to be perplexing, but once extended into the context in which Kahn operated, they reveal an interwoven terrain of concepts that would continuously flower. There is no doubt that in his travel sketches Kahn was fighting a protracted battle about his architecture and that he benefited from the buildings of the past--but mostly at an epistemological level. Kahn raised questions on architecture that could have not been addressed by a formal retrieval of history. In that sense Kahn’s travel sketches reappraise and re-propose the lessons of history.

Adnan Morshed received his PhD in 2002 with his dissertation "The Aviator’s (Re)Vision of the World: An Aesthetics of Ascension in Normal Bel Geddes’s Futurama." He is currently in Washington, DC working to transform his dissertation into a book manuscript through his Wyeth Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Last Spring, Mr. Morshed was in Miami to conduct research on the visual culture of interwar America with the Wolfsonian Fellowship. While in Miami, he presented "The Aesthetics of Ascension in the Avant-Garde Imagination," and had his article, "The Cultural Politics of Aerial Vision: Le Corbusier in Brazil" published in the May 2002 Journal of Architectural Education. Alongside research, Mr. Morshed continues to practice design as a freelance architect and is currently designing a single-family house in Toronto, Canada.

Mosier, Lisa
MIT
SMArchS
2005
The morisco house in Granada:
Cultural transition and domestic Space
The morisco house in Granada:
Cultural transition and domestic Space

This paper examines issues of cultural, religious, and personal identity as reflected in domestic space, with the premise that expressions of the built environment evolve from concepts of self. These themes are particularly apparent in the case of residential architecture of the Moriscos, a cultural group of former Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity in 15th and 16th century Spain following the Reconquest. The Morisco houses of Granada from 1500-1570 reveal architectural forms resulting from acculturation as well as desires to protect identities and traditions in the midst of threat of cultural extinction. The architectural elements of these residences may be read as subversive attempts by a subordinated cultural group to conceal meaning from the dominant Christian population.

 

Moustafa, Amer A
MIT
SMArchS
1988
Architectural representation and meaning: Towards a theory of interpretation
Architectural representation and meaning: Towards a theory of interpretation

This thesis attempts a comprehensive understanding of the process of meaning-formation in architectural works. Such an understanding contributes to the shaping of the architect's attitude toward the making of architecture.
Semiotics as a structural tool has been used for methodologically comprehending this process of meaning-formation, i.e. for the interpretation of architecture. Like religion, science, and other culturally related products, architecture is a sign system whose meaning stems from the shared interpretations of the society within which it is produced. Shared interpretations (in their varieties of time and place) are achieved through a specific mechanism of the interaction of interpretations provided by ordinary people, professionals, and perhaps the architect himself.
Since shared interpretations are generally beyond the architect's intention, wish, or control, a strategy has been proposed whereby the architect is engaged in the mechanism of interpretation. In so doing, the architect will be more capable of creating a meaningful environment -- architecture.

Amer A. Moustafa currently holds an Associate Professor position at the School of Architecture and Design at the American University of Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates. He also directs the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning and Design, an interdisciplinary research and advocacy unit at AUS. He recently led efforts to develop a Master of Urban Planning program at AUS, the first of its kind in the UAE. Dr. MoustafaÕs most recent research interests are in the areas of city design, urban culture and identity, globalization, and the democratic city. Before relocating to the UAE, he had spent over ten years in California in consulting, research, and teaching. ÊHe currently lives in Sharjah with his wife Randa, daughter Noor, and son Adham-Jamal.

Nabil, Yasser
MIT
SMArchS
1994
Reconciliations and continued polarities in the works and theories of Halim and Bakri
Reconciliations and continued polarities in the works and theories of Halim and Bakri

The Egyptian society today is facing many socio-economical, political and cultural challenges that are directly influencing the living standards and circumstances of its members despite their position in the society’s hierarchy. The most important of these challenges is the struggle between the Inherited and the Imported that takes the modernization processes that were repeatedly implemented by the different rulers and elite class of the society as its active field. These modernization processes almost always mean Westernization . They have resulted in the separation of the society into two distinct segments; a Westernized rich and powerful high-middle class and up, and a more or less traditional poor and powerless low-middle class and down. As a direct result of these challenges the society is experiencing problems of inequality, class conflict, search for identity, among many others. These problems have a great impact on the living standards of the majority of the society.    Additionally, they greatly influence the power relations both between the different segments of the society and between the society as a whole and the Western societies. This thesis discusses some of the attitudes and positions towards this issue of the Inherited versus the Imported and the problems that resulted from it. It attempts to achieve this from within the architectural profession by taking the attitudes, theories and works of two contemporary Egyptian architects -- Abdel Halim Ibrahim Abdel Halim and Carnal Bakri --    as examples of the moderate position that tries to rid itself from any emotional or unrealistic biases towards either end. Through the study of the origins and the nature of these two architects’ attitudes, theories and works I have showed how they have raised the level of sophistication and complexity of the discussion of these challenges. In other words, certain levels of reconciliations have been achieved. Nevertheless, despite these reconciliations that narrow the gap between a number of polarities within the Egyptian society and despite the agreement on the nature of the main issues at stack, issues of the role of the Egyptian architect in the development process, the nature of the architectural profession --    being an art form or a social reform tool, how to deal with the latest available technologies that appear in the West, the universality of the current dominant civilization versus the regional identity of each society, and why and how do we relate to history, among many others, are still being debated. Thus, clear biases are evident in the two architects’ underlying attitudes towards the two poles of this dilemma.

Yasser M. Nabil wrote his SMArchS thesis on the relationship between inherited and imported style in "Reconciliations and Continuted Polarities in the Works and Theories of Halim and Bakri" to receive his degree in 1994. While at MIT, his article "Hasan Fathy: A Critical Review" was published in MIT and the AKP’s Works in Progress: The Papers 1993-1994. After returning to Egypt, Mr. Nabil worked for a year with Caravan Community Design, where he participated in the Amphoras Resort, Sanai project. In 1995, together with a life-long friend, Mr. Nabil co-founded Design and Development Studio. Providing consultancy services for urban, archtiectural and interior design projects, D&D Studio has consulted on projects ranging from the Sika Factory for construction chemicals, to the Hurghada International Hospital, and the Sadana Resort in Ras Sedr, as well as countless commercial, office and residential projects. Design and Development was also awarded the top prize in a competition held by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the Egyptian Opera House for their design of an Open Air Theater and Museum/ Warehouse Building. Mr. Nabil manages to find time to act as a teaching assistant at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Studies. He currently resides in Giza with his two children, Zayad (10), and Laila (8 _), and his wife, who has recently returned to architectural practice. As well as being a member of both the Union of Egyptian Architects and the Egyptian Syndicate of Engineers, Mr. Nabil also serves as treasurer for the MIT Club of Egypt.

Nanda, Puja
MIT
SMArchS
1999
The culture of building to craft--a regional contemporary aesthetic: Material resources, technological innovations and the form making process
The culture of building to craft--a regional contemporary aesthetic: Material resources, technological innovations and the form making process

In the non-Western context, there always has been a dilemma between "who we are" and "who we should be" . One could say "between tradition and modernity" . When the alien culture of building was adopted, the ties with the traditional vernacular processes were snapped off without establishing a critical dialogue between the two. The prevalent primitive modes of production were incongruous with the concepts of mechanization . Moreover, the tradition of the craftsman as a master builder was replaced by the differentiation between the architectural practice, the building industry and the exiting crafts. This issue becomes even more complex in the present context, when the architectural practice and the building industry are subject to the global culture of commodification and homogenization . The architectural practices are churning out 'products' that appropriate the local idioms into universal themes without undergoing the 'process' of transformation and metamorphosis into a contemporary vocabulary. The industry, on the other hand, is assuming global references and has a thrust towards universal building materials and systems that ignore the regional resource base. In the kitsch that is generated, the 'regional identity' is lost . Left behind is historical mimicry, thematic interpretations and ethnic nostalgia. One cannot deny that the global culture of integration/homogenization is as much a reality as the local culture of differentiation/uniqueness. Critically looking at this intersection, this thesis states the issue again as: "What kind of a 'culture of building' would generate an 'aesthetic' that draws references from its regional context and is also true to contemporary? There are some alternate practices that sit at the intersection of local and universal aspirations. They achieve a design economy by emphasizing on the larger web of the extended natural patterns of the region . They respect the vernacular aesthetic where the building processes are composed essentially of relationships in time and place. Thus, their culture of building represents a 'process' that integrates the architectural practice with the local crafts and the existing building industry towards an aesthetic that is both regional and contemporary. This thesis represents an effort to formulate an alternative paradigm or a reference language to the current architectural practice in India, that is not subject to the global culture of commodification and homogenization but is rooted in its context. metamorphosis and transformation. This thesis argues that a bias towards the 'process' and not the 'product' has greater potential to render an aesthetic of the place.

 

Nardella, Bianca Maria
MIT
SMArchS
2001
Cultural interfaces: (In)visible spaces in the Old City of Jerusalem
Cultural interfaces: (In)visible spaces in the Old City of Jerusalem

This thesis starts with the contemporary problematics of the famously contested place, Jerusalem, and tries to understand the impact of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians on the fabric of the Old City. The goal is to describe how the inhabitants of this contested place deal, everyday, with their physical environment and suggests that through that understanding one might locate a trajectory for co-habi- tation.
In the Old City of Jerusalem, a group's presence in everyday life is asserted through a network of paths that makes public space visible to that group while making it invisible to another. The historic fabric has a density at the ground level that leaves no room for further reconfiguration of the public space where segregated Quarters interface. Thus, under the current conditions, the only option left to the residents is to move up to the roof level where the boundaries are still undefined.
The interface outlined by the ancient Cardo-Decumanus crossing proves, through personal analysis, that segregation is not a functional option when dealing with the complexities of the Old City. The present political struggle, with its feeling of absolute possessiveness, is suffocating the fabric of the city - the unique setting that has provided a home to multiple cultural groups for centuries. Upon restoring the public spaces as connectors within the presently dissociated urban structure, it would be possible to enable the city's inhabitants and visitors to cross boundaries and re-integrate into the quotidian.

Bianca Maria Nardella graduated from the AKPIA SMArchS program in 2001 with the thesis "Cultural Interfaces: (In)visible Spaces in the Old City of Jerusalem". She has ten years of international experience as architect and urban planner consulting for urban rehabilitation and cultural heritage conservation projects, which aim to restore the material icons of a given culture while upgrading the life conditions of local communities. Activities includes: design of public spaces rehabilitation in historic centers (Ecuador, Yemen); spatial strategies for the valorization of archaeological sites in deprived urban areas (Ethiopia, Lebanon, Jordan); project-management of urban development projects (Kosovo, China); and research in post-conflict (Mostar, Jerusalem) and post-disaster settings (Turkey). During the same period, academic work experience (Italy, United States) involved teaching and coordination of international educational and scientific activities in architecture, urban design, and development planning.
In 2010, Bianca Maria decided to pursue a PhD at the Development Planning Unit - University College London to reflect on these experiences. Her research currently explores how processes of transformation of open spaces in old cities of the Mediterranean relate, or not, to international discourses and practices of cultural significance developed within the Euro-Mediterranean framework.

 

Nasri, Muhammad
MIT
SMArchS
1989
Research programs on geometry and ornament: A case study of Islamicist scholarship
Research programs on geometry and ornament: A case study of Islamicist scholarship

In recent years, increased effort has been expended in the definition of the role of Islam in the cultural production of art. Comparable endeavors have also been directed to the reduction of Islamic art, and ornament in particular, into mystical phenomena or, alternatively, to rationalistic and mathematical processes-pure geometry. Besides investigating these contemporary tendencies in a systematic manner, the purpose of this study is to place the arguments in their Islamicist revivalist context and to unravel their implicit references to the Orientalist discourse.
An introductory chapter deals with problems and issues of scholarship on Islamic art and ornament in general. The emphasis here is on the Orientalist background and on the process of Islamization of scholarship. The bulk of the thesis is based on a methodological distinction between three different scholarly interpretations of the forms and meanings of ornament in Islamic art and architecture: an external cultural position, an internal scientific approach, and an esoteric religious argument. The understanding of the role of geometry is highlighted throughout. Each of the three theoretical positions is taken at a time, and analyzed in terms of the scholars' perception, or possible misconceptions, regarding issues of symbolism, aesthetics, and the significance of geometry.
The critical method applied borrows from the differentiation of research programs in the epistemology of science. Every research approach, viewed as a hypothetically autonomous program, is synthesized in terms of its guarded irreplaceable core, its self-generated methodological rules and hypotheses, and its resistance to criticism. In the concluding synthesis, the three programs are dealt with as competing lines of thought, and are evaluated accordingly.

 

Orbay, Iffet
MIT
HTC PhD
2001
Istanbul viewed: The representation of the city in ottoman maps of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Istanbul viewed: The representation of the city in ottoman maps of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

Starting from the premise that maps are essentially about visualizing space, this dissertation examines what the Ottoman maps of Istanbul reveal about the city’s perception, as it evolved in connection to urban development after the conquest. The maps that form the subject of this study appear as illustrations in three manuscript books. The Istanbul maps contained in Mecmu’-i Menazil (1537-8) and HiinernAme (1584) respectively mark the beginning and the accomplishment of the city’s architectural elaboration. The other twenty maps, featuring in manuscript copies of Kitab-i Bahriye (1520s), roughly span the period between 1550 and 1700. The variants of a design fixed around 1570 offer an image that fulfills its topographic elaboration in the late-seventeenth century. While the making of this map’s design relates to Istanbul’s sixteenth century urban development, its topographical elaboration reflects a new perception of the city. These picture-maps, produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, form a unique group of documents as the only known Ottoman pictorial representations showing the city as a whole. As revealed by the context of the books containing them, their making relates both to Ottoman Empire’s territorial expansion and to the appropriation of Constantinople as its new capital. Their cartographic language combines, in different manners, the familiar conventions of Islamic miniature painting with artistic forms encountered and assimilated during territorial expansion, particularly in contact with Venice.   (cont.) Especially the making of the Istanbul maps in Kitfb-i Bahriye copies illustrates the crucial role of the Mediterranean seafaring culture, its navigation manuals, nautical charts and island books. These images of Istanbul can be related to the development of the urban landscape and its symbolic function. Their study as cartographic representations pays attention to both accuracy and emphasis in their topographic contents. Supported by contemporary European visual sources and travel accounts as well as Ottoman topographic and poetic descriptions of Istanbul, the viewing directions, the depictions of buildings, and the overall cartographic composition in these maps are interpreted as features shaping a symbolic landscape that developed from an ideal vision to an actual garden-like urban environment, structured by land, water, and architecture.

 

Oza, Nilay
MIT
SMArchS
2000
Puja Pandals : rethinking an urban bamboo structure
Puja Pandals : rethinking an urban bamboo structure

Pandal’s are large tent like structures that are recreations of popular buildings, usually temples, built in wood and cloth over a bamboo super-structure. Traditionally they are built for Durga Puja, a festival in the month of October in parts of Eastern India. Today these structures have become expressions of a broader popular culture where themes both religious and non-religious are played out. Building on research on Pandal’s this study contends that, with certain modifications, bamboo could be used to construct cost-effective, large span, temporary structures in Urban South Asia. It is also contented that the abundance and availability of bamboo has, to an extent, worked against its intelligent use. Any degree of structural innovation is deemed unnecessary as it is not considered commensurate with its cheap availability. Here the material is valued for its qualities and is not premised on its obvious use and expendability.

 

Pieris, Anoma
MIT
SMArchS
1994
Tall buildings in Asia: A critique on the high-rise building in Colombo, Shri Lanka
Tall buildings in Asia: A critique on the high-rise building in Colombo, Shri Lanka

The recent generation of tall buildings in Asia have been appropriated from the West with little adaptation. With no understanding of the forces that have generated this building form, Asia embraces the high-rise as an expression of modernity. The intention of this theses is to examine the instrumental potential for designing vertical and incremental built space, free from the rhetoric of political and economic identities. This thesis proposes a design as a critique of the Asian high rise and as a means to investigate the following : -- the conditions that promote or limit accessibility in the high rise; -- the continuity of public access in urban territory, -- the mitigation of exclusive programs and the design for a range of activities; -- the use of structural systems as intrinsic to the organization of the design; -- the design for potential changeability within this building type.

Anoma Pieris is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne. She is the author of Hidden Hands and Divided Landscapes: a penal history of Singapore's plural society (University of Hawaii Press, 2009); Imagining Modernity: The Architecture of Valentine Gunasekara (2007); JCY: The Architecture of Jones Coulter Young (2005) and co-author (with P. Goad) of New Directions in Tropical Asian Architecture (2005). She has an M.Arch (1993) & S.M.Arch.S. (1994) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD (2003) from UC Berkeley.

Prakash-Dutta, Mamta
MIT
SMArchS
1999
Old markets, new ideas: Revitalization for Aminabad, Lucknow
Old markets, new ideas: Revitalization for Aminabad, Lucknow

Several cities in Asia are facing the same dilemma faced by Europe in the early twentieth century and the United States in the fifties. This dilemma is how to improve the 'blighted ' old city that got left behind with its narrow streets and old ways. The symptoms and diagnosis are similar but the prescription will vary. In the light of old precedents; the background information of current urban theory; a different economic and demographic situation; and the addition of new parameters like sustainability and good community life; a new strategy needs to be devised. This thesis addresses the historic core of the city of Lucknow. Lucknow is the capital of the largest state in India, a secondary level city. Its old city is, at once, the vibrant commercial center and the point of discontent with the low quality of life it offers. This thesis shall analyze the current forces of change and the problems it faces and work out a strategy for its redevelopment.

 

Prasad, Thyagarajan
MIT
SMArchS
1990
"Reading into" texture : Preparatory understanding of design in urban settings
"Reading into" texture : Preparatory understanding of design in urban settings

This thesis stems from a dissatisfaction with the quality of much of the designed urban environment produced by architects and urban designers in the Indian context. There is often a mismatch between the intentions of architects and the manner in which their designs are utilized by their inhabitantsin reality. This thesis argues that the reason for this mismatch is alack of depth in the preparatory understanding of the multi-layered urban matrix within which the design will be placed. Critical forces, such as the activity patterns, values &changing aspirations of the user, are often ignored or even neglected. These forces are of course inevitable components of urban settings, and become particularly significant where growth is exponential. Urban systems are undergoing stress and uncertainty has become a way of life. The influence of these forces on any environment is unavoidable. This thesis argues that a deeper preparatory understanding of these forces will improve the quality of design in the urban environment.
Developing techniques of 'reading into' the texture of the urban setting is proposed as a strategy to improve such a preparatory understanding. There are several possible levels of 'reading into' the texture. Visual and morphological analyses constitute only one among these numerous levels. This thesis attempts to underscore one of the many levels of 'reading into' the texture which have been neglected or even ignored. This level essentially deals with the question - what forces shape and transform the urban setting? This level of 'reading into' the texture is especially important in the case of residential and commercial areas, the fundamental components of the urban environment. This discussion, for practical reasons, focuses on residential development.
The discussion is set in a case study of the specific urban context of Delhi. First, an analysis of an unplanned, 'incrementally-evolved' urban village Shahpur Jat exposes some of these forces, their complex, interwoven and , most important, varying nature. The forces are innumerable - it is almost impossible to understand all of them. This thesis calls for an understanding of some of those forces which undergo the most variation over time. In the case of residential environments, the thesis identifies the user's perceptions of their environment' as a significant force influencing their development. This is followed by an examination of the manner in which the varying nature of this force is dealt with in architect -designed housing estates.
In designing within an 'average environment' the architect is seldom aware of the actual users, their changing values and aspirations and so on. This makes the task of understanding these forces difficult. This heightens the already prevalent reluctance of the architect to extend his preparatory understanding beyond the level of morphological analyses into the level of user aspirations and values. However, at least in the case of residential environments, the neglect ofa concern for these forces is detrimental. The technique of 'reading into' the texture of the urban setting attempts to encompass these multiple levels of preparatory understanding.

 

Pyla, Panayiota Ioanni

 


MIT
SMArchS

MIT
HTC PhD


1994

2002


MIT SMArchS 1994
Revisiting scientific epistemology in architecture : ekistics and modernism in the Middle East

MIT HTC PhD 2002Ekistics, architecture and environmental politics, 1945-1976 : a prehistory of sustainable development

MIT SMArchS 1994
Revisiting scientific epistemology in architecture : ekistics and modernism in the Middle East

Initiated by the Greek architect Doxiades in the early fifties, the term "Ekistics" designated "the science for human settlements" which promoted a scientific method for architectural design and planning. It had an immense impact on many fields of architecture and planning worldwide, especially during the sixties. With the theoretical shifts in subsequent decades, Ekistics was displaced as obsolete and its aspirations remained unexplored, while scientifIc methods in architecture are often dismissed in their entirety. This thesis explores the epistemological premises of Ekistics through a critical overview of its origins and features. It discusses the limitations of the method that Ekistics promoted (which sometimes searched for formulaic solutions and a stable field of conclusions) while exposing the complexities of its inquiry--which resist the rejection of the method’s premises in their entirety.    This thesis discusses in particular, the influence of Ekistics in the Middle East, and the method’s contributions to architectural thinking in the region. The juxtaposition between the contributions of Ekistics on the one hand, and later architectural positions in the Middle East which entirely rejected scientific thought on the other, offers a basis to reflect on the positive contributions of scientific epistemology in general. This thesis neither reformulates yet another scientific method nor does it attempt to displace scientific epistemology with a revisionist critique.    Rather, it argues that while radical criticisms of Doxiades’s method (whether these criticisms are based on social critique, or whether they come from the domain of the philosophy of science, or operate within the disciplinary terrain of architecture) have hanged our perception of it (as well as of other scientific methods of the fifties and sixties) they cannot subsume scientific epistemology, and they should not warrant its abandonment. This thesis examines scientific epistemology as an active critical attitude and reevaluates its usefulness as an orientation in architectural thought.

MIT HTC PhD 2002
Ekistics, architecture and environmental politics, 1945-1976 : a prehistory of sustainable development

The dissertation examines Ekistics, a field defined by the architect and planner Constantine Doxiadis as the "science of human settlements" that championed the radical expansion of architecture's scope, called for its alignment with international development, and emphasized the profession's responsibilities towards global environmental exigencies. Spanning the disciplines of architectural history, environmental history, and cultural studies, the study analyzes the intellectual lineage of Ekistics' conceptions of the global environment, and the complex historical circumstances in which they were shaped: international policies for development, postcolonial agendas of modernization and nation building, scientific controversies on global interconnectedness, and architectural critiques of modernism. The study focuses on Ekistics' planning models of "dynapolis" and "ecumenopolis," and on physical interventions proposed by branches of Doxiadis's enterprise in the Mediterranean margins of Europe and the Middle East, where Ekistics had widespread appeal. The study also analyzes Doxiadis's relationship with key figures in postwar architectural culture, notably Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, who was also the editor of the journal Ekistics, Buckminster Fuller, who embraced Doxiadis's vision of world cities, and Hassan Fathy, who operated as a proponent of local "traditions" in the midst of the Ekistics group. Furthermore, the study examines Doxiadis's and his colleagues' interpretation of such concepts as atrick Geddes's notion of an interconnected "environment," Conrad H. Waddington's notion of "systems," Jean Gottman's notion of "megalopolis," and Rachel Carson's notion of an ecological "balance." By proposing an alternative focus on Ekistics, which for the first time examines the environmental themes underlying its transnational practice, the study fills a gap in current scholarship, by uncovering the profound impact of 1950s and 60s environmental consciousness on architectural culture, before the popularization of environmentalism in the 1970s. Furthermore, it contemplates the extent to which postwar environmental consciousness in architecture is entangled with postwar modernization and development discourses directed at the so-called third world. In the process, the study suggests that the history of postwar environment-development politics can also provide a fresh critical perspective on today's popular topic of sustainability.

Panayiota I. Pyla is currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Cyprus. Before assuming her current position, she was Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she taught courses in the history-theory of modern architecture-urbanism and in architectural design. Pyla´s research has an interdisciplinary scope focusing on the intertwined discourses of modern architecture, development, and environmentalism, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean. Her research has been presented in international conferences, chapters in edited volumes, and journals including the Journal of Architectural Education, (where her article “Hassan Fathy Revisited” received the best article award in 2008) and the Journal of Planning History (where her 2008 article “Back to the Future” analyzed Doxiadis’s plans for Baghdad). Pyla received a Professional Degree in Architecture from Rensselaer (1991) and a Masters of Science in Architectural Studies from MIT (1994), where she was awarded the Outstanding Graduating Student Award. She received her PhD from MIT in 2002. (last updated, Sept. 2008)
Quadri, Mahjabeen
MIT
SMArchS
2003
Beyond the traditional : a new paradigm for Pakistani schools
Beyond the traditional : a new paradigm for Pakistani schools

Pakistan's greatest resource is its children, but only a small percentage of them make it through primary school. Pakistan needs to improve its literacy rate if it hopes to transition from a developing to a developed country. However, the 2-room government schools found in most parts of the country do not offer any of the amenities of a modern educational institution and most are in a state of disrepair since the government is unable to meet the cost of maintenance. Lack of educational resources and dreary physical conditions are some of the main contributors to the low enrollment and high dropout rates. Presented in the thesis is a proposal for improving teaching and learning conditions of the 2-room government schools, taking into consideration both the limited resources of the government and the poverty of the communities the schools are located in. The thesis is based upon a government school in Manghopir, Karachi that is run by the community. It proposes a framework that makes the school a "socially responsive school," which better serves the educational, psychological and physical needs of the children and makes the community a part of the school. A "socially responsive school" has been approached through three components: architecture, education and community linkages. The architectural component seeks to increase the utility of the 2-room school by creating a framework that supports a sustainable program for maintaining and improving the school facilities and its environment and provides spaces that can serve the multiple needs of the children and which foster positive interactions with the community. The educational component is an approach that supplements, but does not replace the official curriculum. It introduces the children to scientific concepts outside the classroom and makes learning fun for them.

 

Rab, Samia
MIT
SMArchS
1990
Ethnicity and habitat: A comparison of indigenous and afghan migrant settlements in Quetta, Pakistan
Ethnicity and habitat: A comparison of indigenous and afghan migrant settlements in Quetta, Pakistan

This thesis is a brief study of factors influencing the domestic built form in the context of ethnicity and migration. At the beginning of the research it was assumed that the theme of built form is a clear manner of expression for distinctive attributes of various sub-groups in a society. Hence the subject focused on shelter, the domestic environment, generated by ethnically distinct communities. In analyzing the social boundaries, as they are translated to spatial boundaries at the level of ’informal’ housing, this thesis observes that different ethnic communities create distinct spatial and social patterns in the same physical setting. The correspondence between ethnic groups and the expression of their spatial domain is the driving issue of the entire study. While establishing its theoretical framework, the thesis suggests a wide range of themes which can be grasped for further explorations.    The case studies are based on data compiled during field visits of the case settlements. The process included surveys of houses built by the inhabitants, observations of various spaces within the houses in relation to the living patterns of the users, and evaluation of how the residents perceive, and relate to, the various spaces within their respective settlements. (This is based on information obtained by discussions and interviews of the residents). The evaluation of the data and the field visits reveal variation in environmental quality of the two communities belonging to the same economic group. The analysis of the data reflects that these variations have occurred due to the difference in nature of migration experienced by the inhabitants of the two case settlements, and hence the difference in the attitude of the two communities towards cultural assimilation in general, and housing in particular.    The relationship between cultural cohesiveness and environmental quality is a significant observation of the research. Among the forces which have been decisive in the process of civilization are those which have brought people together in competition, conflict and co-operation. It is a consequence of migration that conflicting cultures meet and fuse. The occasion for fusion of people and cultures inherent in the process of migration makes the study of migrant communities, and their settlements, pivotal in identifying possible explanations for divergent cultures. The inadequate existing literature on the relationship between domestic built form and society, in the context of migration, renders the entire exercise intellectually stimulating. This is further strengthened by the presence of unexplored dimensions in ethnic influences in Quetta, Pakistan, and their reflection in the residential architecture created by the people.

Dr. Samia Rab is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), the Regional Coordinator for the Arabian Peninsula of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA), and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Arabian Study (JAS, University of Exeter). She has taught courses across curricula for 15 years at three universities (AUS, University of Hawaii and Georgia Institute of Technology).During this time, Dr. Rab has held administrative positions, published outcomes of research internationally, and continued professional development as consultant for UNESCO-Paris, ICCROM-Rome, the Government of Sharjah, AEDAS-Dubai, the Getty Center for Conservation in Los Angeles, and the East-West Center in Honolulu.

Rabbat, Nasser O.
MIT
HTC PhD
1991
The Citadel of Cairo, 1176-1341: Reconstructing architecture from texts
The Citadel of Cairo, 1176-1341: Reconstructing architecture from texts

This dissertation reconstructs one of the major works of military and palatial architecture in the Middle Ages, the Citadel of the Mountain (QaI’at aI-Jabal) in Cairo. It traces its development from its inception in 1176 under Salah aI-Din al-Ayyubi until it reached its definitive and most monumental form under aI-Nasir Muhammad (1293-1341, with two interruptions). The dissertation focuses on the part of the Citadel called today the southern enclosure, which was the residence of the sultan, and of which only the congregational mosque remains standing. It analyzes the different stages of its topographic and architectural development using primarily references collated from the chronicles, biographical compendia, and legal documents of the Mamluk period, and secondarily surface archeology, toponymy, and typological comparisons with extant Bahri Mamluk palaces in Cairo. Through the reconstruction of the Citadel, the study addresses a number of wider methodological and historical issues. It evaluates the influence of the Mamluk socio-political hierarchy on the structure of the palatial complex and on the conceptualization of its spaces and forms. It stresses the importance of construing the architectural vocabulary of the period in its proper historical context. And finally, the dissertation questions the modern perception of the architectural development in a medieval Islamic environment by emphasizing the difference between its secular and religious architecture, and by showing how this perception is disproportionately molded by the latter.

See AKPIA@MIT Current Faculty

Rabie, Omar
MIT
SMArchS
2008
Revealing the potential of compressed earth blocks: A visual narration
Revealing the potential of compressed earth blocks: A visual narration

Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB) is a developed earth technology, in which unbaked brick is produced by compressing raw soil using manual, hydraulic, or mechanical compressing machines. Revealing the potential of an affordable sustainable material like CEB may help tackle today’s fundamental challenges, social equity and environmental sustainability. For one year in India, I learned and practiced the basics of this technology in Auroville Earth Institute, and then conducted a group of design and construction experimentations for a natural resort project. Through these experimentations, I tried to reveal CEBs’ capabilities through design innovation. The thesis captures my new understandings of the design competence of the material in relation to the design process, through narrating the story of this experience using images and a dialogue between the designer, mason, sponsor and the blocks themselves.

Project Architect at Kengo Kuma & Associates in Japan
Raia, Joseph
MIT
SMArchS
1995
Essaourira, Morocco--redevelopment through the introduction of a university
Essaourira, Morocco--redevelopment through the introduction of a university

Joe Raia received his SMArchS degree in 1996 while working throughout his studies at Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects, Inc. in Boston where he is an Associate today. His thesis at MIT was entitled "Essaourira, Morocco--redevelopment through the introduction of a university." Since graduating, Mr. Raia has remained involved with the academic world, serving as a thesis advisor, critic and design instructor for the Boston Architectural Center and as a juror for the University of Tennessee. Mr. Raia has received numerous awards for some of the design projects he has worked on with LWA. Most recently, the University of Pennsylvania Modular VII Chiller Plan and Athletic Facility has won the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, the AIA Honor Award, the American Institute of Steel Construction National Award, the International Institute of Lighting Designers Award, among others. Mr. Raia participated in the design of the Mugar Center for the Performing Arts at the Cambridge School of Weston, in Weston, Massachusetts, that also received the Chicago Athenaeum as well as an AIA New England Honor Award. Also a design by Mr. Raia, in collaboration with Tom Chung, for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Design Competition has received recent attention. Articles on his University of Pennsylvania design have been published in Arkitekton, L’architettura, Architectural Record, Business Week, A+U, Modern Steel Construction, Architectural Record, Southeast Asia Building, Competitions, I.D. Magazine, Architecture and Architecture Boston Year in Review. His own independent research on Essaouira, Morocco, has been published in the Arab City Center, Rehabilitation Symposium papers.

Raju, Sunitha
MIT
SMArchS
2000
Rediscoverning Place : enhancing the built heritage of Singapore
Rediscoverning Place : enhancing the built heritage of Singapore

Sunitha Raju-Ramachandran graduated from MIT with a SMArchS degree in 2000, with her thesis "Rediscovering Place: Enhancing the Urban Heritage of Singapore." After graduating, she took a position as a Project Manager at The Massachusetts State College Building Authority, where she managed, developed and financed residential facilities for the Massachusetts State Colleges. She was there only briefly before transferring to New York to work with The Brown Companies. With Brown, she was Senior Project Manager in The Houses at Sagaponac, a development project of 35 single family homes each designed by a contemporary distinguished architect. This list of architects, compiled by Richard Meier, includes well known names such as Philip Johnson, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Harry Cobb, James Ingo Freed, Sir Richard Rogers, Michael Rotondi, Samuel Mockbee, Zaha Hadid, Shigeru Ban as well as promising young architects. At the end of January 2002, Sunitha Raju and her husband Bijoy Ramachandran had their first baby girl, Anjali. Ms. Raju and her husband moved back to India in 2003 and now run a design practise called Hundredhands in BAngalore. They also have a son, Siddharth who is almost two years old.
Hundredhands (hundredhands.com) is an internationally recognized practice and has been featured in Architectural Design (UK) magazine’s survey of contemporary Indian architecture (‘Made in India’, January 2008). Other awards include an official selection for the Project South Exhibition and the Leone di Pietra at the Venice Biennale, 2006, and the Cityscape/Architectural Review Award in 2005.

Raman, Prassanna
MIT
SMArchS
2012
Exploring Urban Resilience: Violence and Urban Services in Karachi
Exploring Urban Resilience: Violence and Urban Services in Karachi

The Urban Resilience and Chronic Violence project at MIT extends the scientific concept of resilience to the analysis of chronic conflict. This thesis builds upon the project by testing the usefulness of a socio-spatial capital resilience model for cities confronting persistent violence, which offers alternative strategies for thinking about a violence-resistant city. The first test of the socio-spatial capital model is through the analysis of resilience theory -- how does the definition of resilience change in each discipline? The literature review concludes that the idea of stability is the foundation of any resilience definition, which is problematic for cities suffering from chronic violence. The second test of the model is the examination of violence in Karachi. Using the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) as a strategy of socio-spatial capital formation, the Karachi case study explores the relationship between the expansion of the OPP in the last 30 years and the levels and types of violence in Orangi, an informal settlement in Karachi. Lyari, which also suffers from violence and poor access to sanitation, is its comparison. This thesis finds that in both towns, residents have found innovative ways to cope with violence and poor development at different scales, therefore making both towns resilient. This thesis concludes by arguing that conceptualizing a city resilient against violence does not move a violent city towards peace, and proposes that the field of conflict transformation may be better suited to the study of chronic conflict than resilience.

 

Rashid,Mahbub
MIT
SMArchS
1993
City form and changing process: The case of the North End, Boston, 1860-1930
City form and changing process: The case of the North End, Boston, 1860-1930

This thesis originated from the assumption that the effects of time on city form involve complex processes and are closely related to different physical and social factors where human beings as changing agents play only a partial role. Taking the North End, Boston as a case study, it tries to explore the complexities of the combined effects of some of these processes bearing on city form. In conclusion, the thesis shows that changes in city form do not happen only because there is a deterministic need, such as a population increase, or only because human beings as the primary changing agent wants something to happen in a certain way. Evidently, none of the processes or elements, alone, can sufficiently explain the changes in city form. The relationship between the processes bearing on city form is far more complicated and is generally non-deterministic in nature. At the most abstract level that can be conceptualized as a three dimensional relationship, acting between 1) the stimuli like economic and population growth provoking change, 2) the adaptive change required by the stimuli, and 3) a wide variety of factors that mediate between this stimulus-response relationship, sometimes by enhancing it and at other time by retarding it. The thesis tries to extrapolate the characteristics of these mediating factors, and the relationship between the city and humans as changing agents in the form of some intrinsic regularities and constraints of the changing process in city form.

 

Rewal, Arun Kumar
MIT
SMArchS
1992
Continuity and settlement structure--a study of tradiational and colonial spatial patterns in Benares, India
Continuity and settlement structure--a study of tradiational and colonial spatial patterns in Benares, India


This thesis explores the relationship between the physical structure of Benares and continuities within its physical form.
It traces the development of the spatial structure of the city and analyses the physical characteristics of the different spatial patterns in Benares. Grounded in an examination of settlement plans, the study concentrates on the spatial structures of the traditional and colonial settlements at different scales of the city's organization.
The study concludes that, although the spatial form of the traditional settlement is distinct from the colonial settlement, some of the principles underlying the spatial structures of both the settlements are similar. It identifies the flexible nature of the plan, the dynamics of the foci, and a whole and part relationship, as characteristics common to the spatial structure in both settlements. This study maintains the hypothesis that these characteristics are essential to the simultaneous existence of global and local orders, in which parts of the settlement are differentiated from one another, yet the whole is intelligible from the parts. Furthermore, the other settlements of Benares, reflect a simultaneous existence of the global and local orders only when each settlement is considered in relation to the structure of the city as a whole. Within each of the other settlements, only one type of order exists, either local or global.

 

Rizvi, Kishwar
MIT
HTC PhD
2000
Transformations in early safavid architecture: The Shrine of Shaykh Safi al-din Ishaq Ardabili in Iran (1501-1629)
Transformations in early safavid architecture: The Shrine of Shaykh Safi al-din Ishaq Ardabili in Iran (1501-1629)

Shrines in the Islamic world may be viewed as spatial constructs of ideology that are built as monuments to secular, as well as religious, authority. However, owing to the diversity of their patrons, these institutions are also loci for the subversive power of customary ritual as resistant to that hegemony. Such supposed polarities are not necessarily antagonistic, but exist simultaneously and enrich our understanding of devotion and its cultural location. This dissertation provides a specific context within which shrine formation is studied during the early Safavid period (1501-1629), by focussing on the shrine of the fourteenth-century Sufi mystic, Safi al-din Ishaq in Ardabil, Iran.
The shrine of Shaykh Safi was a temporal and architectural aggregate, the evolution of which has never before been studied. As the ancestral shrine of the Safavid rulers of Iran, this monument provided a template for the development and propagation of sixteenth-century architecture. The shrine of Shaykh Safi was a theatre for the enactment of royal ceremonial as well as a dynamic public institution, both these aspects incorporated and negotiated through its architectural program. Moreover, as an interface between the Sufi image of the first Safavid shahs and the more imperial one favored by the later dynasty, the shrine of Shaykh Safi was a site of experimentation where Safavid architectural vocabulary was developed, one which chose selectively from past metaphors and transformed them according to the changing social and political climate of early modem Iran. In my research I investigate the complex relationships between politics and popular piety, charity and commerce, religion and sovereignty, and their resolution at this important site.

Kishwar Rizvi is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Yale University. She is the author of The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: History, religion and architecture in early modern Iran (London: British Institute for Persian Studies, I. B. Tauris, 2011). Another book, co-edited with Sandy Isenstadt, Modernism and the Middle East: Architecture and politics in the twentieth century (University of Washington Press, 2008) was awarded a Graham Foundation publication grant. She has also been awarded a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for research on the 1605 Safavid "Shahnama" (Book of Kings) at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. Her current research focuses on ideology and transnationalism in contemporary mosque architecture in the Middle East, for which she was selected as a Carnegie Foundation Scholar.

Rutkouskaya, Hanna
MIT
SMArchS
2012
Redefining Heritage in Bukhara: the Narrative of Uzbek National Consciousness as Envisioned by the Multiethnic Soviet State
Redefining Heritage in Bukhara: the Narrative of Uzbek National Consciousness as Envisioned by the Multiethnic Soviet State

This thesis focuses on how Bukhara’s architectural heritage was interpreted and redefined by local architectural professionals between 1965 and 1991, a period characterized by heightened interest in architectural heritage and increased restoration of monuments. Architectural professionals criticized the earlier Soviet “nihilist” treatment of historical Bukhara in the 1920s–1950s and instead framed their work as an attempt to correct earlier mistakes. This thesis analyzes restoration and architectural projects proposed for Bukhara by examining images and text available in the professional Uzbek SSR architectural journal, Architecture and Construction in Uzbekistan (ACU). Using these journals, this thesis illustrates how architectural professionals engaged in creating new meanings for Bukhara’s historical environment as an important part of the new identity construction shaped in conditions of Soviet nation-building and strengthening Uzbek national sentiment. Increasingly alienated from the Soviet center, local professionals developed a renewed understanding of Bukhara’s urban heritage in the 1960s-1970s. Marked by almost utopian excitement, their projects envisioned Bukhara as a place of recreation, leisure, and tourism that spoke to the larger desire to belong to the modern world by matching the modern role assigned to heritage. With tourism finally possible in the 1980s, Bukhara’s historical monuments were subjected to “museum-ification” and prepared for display. The importance of displaying national heritage in late Soviet Uzbekistan was in summary a shy attempt, rehearsal, and preemptor of what was yet to come in the future, when in 1991 trans-republic boundaries were replaced by the contemporary ethnically-defined national borders, and an imaginary other, created as a part of the identity construct in the 1980s, eventually became a real global other.

 
Saad, Philippe
MIT
SMArchS
2005
Writings for acquisition : Hellenizing Alexandria, Egypt
Writings for acquisition : Hellenizing Alexandria, Egypt

This research work started with the exploration of E.M. Forster’s major publication on Alexandria published in 1922, Alexandria a History and a Guide, considered until now ’the Classical Guide for Alexandria;’ or ironically ’the guide for Classical Alexandria?’ In fact, Forster’s version of history recounted a Classical heritage all the while effectively attenuating the importance of eleven centuries of Islamic rule and commercial prosperity. As for contemporary name places, they are merely reference points useful to the modern visitor as a means for imagining the missing ancient city. In so doing, Forster relied on a historical tradition without which his book could neither have been written nor have enjoyed such enormous popularity. My thesis investigates the historiography of Alexandria’s literary history from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, with a particular focus on this last century which gave birth to the tradition of looking at Alexandria with Classical eyes. Having pointed at the tradition of looking at Alexandria through Classical eyes, I explore primary European sources (maps and travelers’ descriptions and commercial treaties) describing Alexandria from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries to identify the key moment when the western interest for Hellenistic Alexandria emerged and neglected its Christian and Islamic heritage. I first examine in the literature of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the prevalence of Alexandria as a major Ottoman port-city actively involved in the trade between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Second, I reveal that the Christian history of the city was of high value to the European travelers who dealt tangentially with its Hellenistic and Roman remains.   (cont.) I therefore affirm that the abandonment of the walled city of Alexandria after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517, was neither the result of an economic decline nor the consequence of Ottoman misrule, as it appeared to the European visitors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. With this already acquired knowledge, I argue that the European obsession in Hellenistic Alexandria had its causes outside the geographic boundaries of the city. Indeed, this hinge-period coincides with the rise of a new humanism in Europe in the end of the seventeenth century. It was mirrored in Alexandria through the writings of several travelers and envoys such as Corneille le Brun, Benoit de Maillet, Frederick Lewis Norden and Comte de Volney who from one side, resurrected Hellenistic Alexandria in their writings while from the other, dejected the Arab or Islamic civilization occupying and disfiguring this land of antiquity. However, despite their concern for historical accuracy (achieved through travel and archeology), my analysis points out contradictions that betrayed their attempt to reconstruct solely the Hellenistic and Roman city and assign a decline paradigm for the Ottoman town. Engravings as well as paragraphs in the literature they provide reveal the flourishing commerce Alexandria was exerting with Mediterranean cities of the Ottoman Empire, Europe and North Africa. To further support this argument, I examine two mosque patronages that put Alexandria not only on the trade map, but also on the pilgrimage route to Mecca.   (cont.) Studying the eighteenth-century European scholarship on Alexandria, my thesis concludes that this period of unconsolidated knowledge and messy discourse in Europe paved the way to the linear vision of Alexandrian history adopted unanimously after colonialism and the rise of European empires. My thesis brings to a close that Forster’s acclaimed book has not been the product of a single individual of the twentieth century, but rather the culminations of a cultural and political tradition whose roots lie beyond the geographic boundaries of Alexandria.

 

Sabouni, Farrah
MIT
SMArchS
2014
Introverted Architecture and the Human Dimension: The Conflict of Placemaking in the Disconnected Urban Fabric of Doha, Qatar
Introverted Architecture and the Human Dimension: The Conflict of Placemaking in the Disconnected Urban Fabric of Doha, Qatar

 

Sakr, Yasir
MIT
SMArchS
1987
The mosque between modernity and tradition: A study of recent designs of mosque architecture in the muslim world
The mosque between modernity and tradition: A study of recent designs of mosque architecture in the muslim world

In this study of four recent projects of mosque architecture in the Muslim world, the works of architects Abdel Wahid El-Wakil, Rasim Badran, Robert Venturi and Halim Abdel Halim conciliate the cultural heritage of Arab-Muslim societies with the Western modernizing design methods that have been introduced since the beginning of the twentieth century. The designs of the four architects addressed the apparent dilemma of the duality between tradition and modernity, in an effort to suggest a character for the identity of the contemporary mosque architecture in a dynamic cultural environment The study seeks to discern and to evaluate the theoretical models and the methodology employed in the design process of each project, with the intention of understanding their cultural compatibility. All the projects are located within the same general area, Iraq,Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and all are based on the hypo style mosque, although they differ in their fundamental use of the architectural vocabulary. Reflecting on the hypostyle mosque and its traditional place in the liturgy as well as its identifiable historical transformations, we can weigh the responses of each design solution to its contextual requirements and to a historical continuum.

 

Sartawi, Mais

 

MIT
SMArchS
2010
The lure of the west:
 Analyzing the domination of western firms in the gulf region
The lure of the west:
 Analyzing the domination of western firms in the gulf region

For the past three decades, architecture in the gulf region has undergone a wide ranging-amount of transformations. The discovery of oil during the mid 20th century transformed countries with in the region from small, significantly poor cities that depended merely on pearling and trade as a source of income, to being marked today as the wealthiest countries in the world. The increase of oil revenues allowed cities within the region to become a playground for the rich, including local figures of authority. Their visions have turned each country to a laboratory for architects to use their creativity in testing new heights of modernization, which turned the interest and attention of major Western firms and star architects. As the pace and magnitude of construction increased, it brought along with it a new architecture trend of Large-scale projects, dominating the urban fabric of each city. Moreover, the Gulf region finally found its place on the world map. One would expect local professionals and architects to take part in these new transformations. Surprisingly enough, Local architects have been, and still are, absent from their own architecture scene. This thesis aims at not only highlighting some of the reasons that have allowed for the strong presence of Western firms in the gulf region, but more importantly, why local architects have not participated in the growing market.

 
Sayed, Hazem
MIT
HTC PhD
1988
The Rab' in Cairo- A window on Mamluk architecture and urbanism
The Rab' in Cairo- A window on Mamluk architecture and urbanism


This dissertation is a reassessment of Mamluk architecture and urbanism in Cairo, based on a detailed study of one of the more important elements in its urban fabric, the rab' or apartment building. This building type is investigated via its extant examples and the extensive archival collection from the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. The salient features of the rab' are identified, and its variations noted. The relation of the rab' to private dwellings is elucidated, and the changes that occurred in the residential architecture of Cairo from the early Fatimid through the Mamluk periods are presented. Its role in the urban fabric and in the patterns of pious endowments is analyzed through reconstructions based on waqf document. New information about Mamluk architecture and urbanism brought to light by the study of the rab' is used to reassess some of the more widely accepted characterizations of the Mamluk period.

 

Schmidt, Laura
MIT
SMArchS
2010
Islamic automata in the absence of wonder
Islamic automata in the absence of wonder

This thesis looks at the interpretive difficulties posed by the Islamic automata, or hiyal manuscript--an ingenious genre of medieval illustrated manuscripts that describes and depicts mechanical devices such as water clocks, trick vessels, and automata. I choose to focus on the ways in which the automata manuscript has been viewed by scholars, rather than providing a history of the manuscripts themselves, precisely because this latter effort is complicated by a scholarly anxiety with what, exactly, Islamic automata manuscripts are, how they were used, or if (and how) they are valuable. This anxiety reveals not only a deeply subjective discontent with our totalizing "bourgeois" notion of technology - one that claims that we progress only by perfecting our implements - but also points to an inability to overcome this discontent. The way that this discontent is revealed through automata is that this "bourgeois" notion is not only totalizing, but also European. Automata scholarship thus allows us to see how European technology itself can be totalizing. The thesis reviews interpretive trends of this literature: The art historical origins of automata scholarship; mid century scholarship that touted the functional principles of the devices, and today's framework, which places automata in a linear technological evolution towards robotics, cybernetics, and advancement of human self-reproduction. Automata scholarship throughout has maintained a sterile distance from the historical context of the automata production. To close this gap, I argue, the ideological character of the Islamic automata manuscript must be revealed and its problematical relationship to technology disenchanted at every step.

 
Sejpal, Shraddha
MIT
SMArchS
1987
Theory and city form : the case of Ahmedabad
Theory and city form : the case of Ahmedabad

The thesis seeks to formulate an approach to urban design intervention in the walled city of Ahmedabad, by first developing an understanding of the context. This is to be undertaken by applying the methodological tools suggested by two theories of city form, those of Kevin Lynch's "Theory of Good City Form" and N.J. Habraken's "Concept of Territory" which forms part of the book, "Transformations of the Site." In applying two different theories together to the city, the study endeavors to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the city. The exercise of applying theories to the city, also provides way of evaluating the theories, and their efficacy as methods for observing cities. The observations derived from the application of the theories, may be helpful as a basis for formulating strategies for urban design intervention in the walled city of Ahmedabad.

Senior Associate, Urbahn Architects, New York, NY

Sengupta, Ranabir
MIT
SMArchS
1986
Perception of old towns, historicism, and and temporality
Perception of old towns, historicism, and and temporality


The crux of this inquiry deals with one of the qualities which have been attributed by architectural and urban design theorists to the old, traditional town - its overwhelming sense of visual unity. In this study, it is argued that this unity is somewhat of a perceptual aberration which might arise out of structuring the perceptions of the old town in terms of its common denominator of oldness. The all-pervading sense of age could, to a certain extent erase other irregularities, so that the old town may be cognized with a powerful sense of unity. The first part of the study plants this central issue within the larger context of architectural theories and practice. Certain aspects of the theories of Christopher Alexander and Aldo van Eyck which are contingent upon the issue of the old town are expounded. The issue is also linked with the widespread architectural movement in the eastern world to create a culturally and socially responsive architecture. An important corollary of this movement is the imagery of the old town. The second part of the study deals with a perceptual test conducted to gain some insight into how old buildings are perceived. Rome has been taken as a case for this inquiry. Finally, in the third part, attempts are made to explain the results of the test through phenomenological means. Certain notions of temporality which impinge upon the perception of the old town are briefly touched upon. The social and cultural intentions with which architects seek inspiration in such towns are also touched upon to gain a greater understanding of the central issue.

 

Sergie, Lina
MIT
SMArchS
2003
Recollecting history: Songs, flags, and a syrian square
Recollecting history: Songs, flags, and a syrian square

Symbols have played a major role in the development of a Syrian national identity since the beginning of the 20th century. These representations are national, official, and/or public (flag, song, and square), that are repetitively performed by successive generations of Syrian citizens, thus forming the historic collective framework of Syrian memory.
The symbols are remembered as past public sites of independence and freedom while they currently signify an imposed loyalty to the authoritarian Syrian regime. In the translation of nostalgic memory as active resistance, the double play of meaning (both official and personal) creates an opportunity to subvert domination. This subversion is inherent in every official performance, in every pledge to the flag, in every performance of the anthem, and in every mandatory demonstration across the public squares.
This thesis weaves the visual and spatial representations of power and the subsequent subversions for empowerment to narrate an untold, recollected, Syrian history.

Lina Sergie Attar is an architect educated in Aleppo, Syria. She received her MArch degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001. She graduated in 2003 with an SMArchS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. She has taught architecture, interior architecture and art history courses in Boston and Chicago. In 2010, Lina curated "The Archetist," an exhibition at the Sunny Art Fair in Amman, Jordan. Lina is co-founder of Karam Foundation, NFP, a charity based in Chicago. She blogs at tooarab.com.

Shaikley,Layla Karim
MIT
SMArchS
2013

Upgrading Settlements for IDPS (Internally Displaced Persons)

Upgrading Settlements for IDPS
(Internally Displaced Persons)

The most recent war in Iraq has resulted in a large wave of internal and external displacement with increased sectarian violence and ethnic tension. Subsequent conflict has exacerbated conditions within the nation and further increased displacement. Throughout the country, over one million Iraqis are currently displaced. Inadequately supported by infrastructure due to a negligent dictatorship and consecutive wars, over 250 settlements have peppered Baghdad’s landscape and aggravated the capital’s insufficient infrastructure. It is clear that the rapid rate at which informal settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs) are being established exceeds the rate in which settlements are forming. Many settlements have exhibited user-initiated incremental housing processes. The topic of this thesis is upgrading settlements for IDPs in Baghdad, Iraq through user-initiated methods. Baghdad is facing an overwhelming amount of sub-standard IDP settlements, and while some settlements are turning into slums, other settlements are becoming more durable. Community action can be a solution for the problems addressed in semi-durable settlements that have exhibited enough solidarity through incremental processes to reach a semi-durable state. This thesis examines the solution through three methods. First, it looks at a historical review of incremental housing processes parallel to Iraq’s housing policies and history to understand the nation’s current housing crisis. It finds that Iraq has struggled in addressing housing needs for the low-income sector since its independence. Following the historical review, this thesis screens IDP settlements in Baghdad to evaluate the feasibility of upgrade for different types of settlement. In the screening process, settlements that exhibit semi-durable characteristics and are available for secure tenure are most eligible for upgrade. One particular semi-durable settlement is studied: Al-Sadeq in Baghdad’s peripheries. Al-Sadeq is evaluated based on the following measures of durability: infrastructure, housing, and social networks. As hypothesized, findings supported the role of incremental housing principles and community action to improve the settlement’s state of durability. Lessons are extracted from community field research. As hypothesized, social cohesion and community action are the catalysts that allow incremental methods of infrastructure and housing improvements to thrive. This is especially important in a conflict zone as Baghdad, where displacement is often a direct outcome of danger. In such environments, social networks can provide feelings of security to invest in development. Lessons for communities like Al-Sadeq include the power of community action in incremental housing processes and user-initiated development. Lessons from the historical review shed light on the ineffective solutions for mitigating social housing concerns in the nation’s past. Lessons for the government in this study challenge the lack of an established tradition of community action in public sector projects in Iraq.

 

Shawa, Ala'Edeen
MIT
SMArchS
1991
Manufacturing enterprises in the Gaza Strip : case studies in production under extreme regulatory restrictions
Manufacturing enterprises in the Gaza Strip : case studies in production under extreme regulatory restrictions

The situation in the occupied territories is distinguished from other cases of authoritarian, colonial or even military rule by the high level of consistency and the wide range of administrative levels at which the occupying power has been able to implement its restrictive policies. This regulatory framework has remained flexible, expanding in scope of coverage and consistency of implementation throughout the years of occupation, guided by shifts in Israeli policy and the intensity of rejection and the pattern of response by the Palestinian population.
Palestinian manufacturing firms that were initiated and functioned within this framework were molded by its limiting guidelines and plagued by the vulnerabilities it promoted. All their activities had to comply with Israeli policy, pose no real threat to Israeli producers or contribute effectively to a viable local process of economic development. Most of these firms evolved in a few less restricted subsectors and engaged in rigid production processes that specialized in the mass production of a limited range of consumer goods. Some of the firms that were initiated outside this framework, but eventually forced to function within it as a result of intensified surveillance of informal activities, were able to develop an independent foundation, flexible production processes and links with the local and Israeli economies.
The advent of the Palestinian uprising in 1987 brought with it a further intensification of the regulatory framework that bordered on the virtual obstruction of economic activities in the territories. This situation placed the two broad firm categories under a serious test of survival. Firms within the two categories were left with the choice of functioning within the new obstructive regulatory framework and maintaining some access to formal sources of raw materials, machinery and technological transfer which could only be obtained from or through Israeli sources, or of functioning outside the system and remaining physically confined to an obstructed local economy. The goal of this thesis is three-fold: first, to identify the governmental and non-governmental components of this regulatory framework and shed light on their functions and the reasons behind their effectiveness; second, to discuss the impact of this regulatory framework on the structure and characteristics of local firms that were initiated and functioned within it and others that were initiated outside; third, to compare the response and the level of success or failure of firms within the two categories to shifts in policy as well as to the changes of economic and political conditions during the years of the Palestinian uprising.

 

Sherali, Hafiz
MIT
SMArchS
1991
The architectural character of islamic institutions in the west
The architectural character of islamic institutions in the west

This thesis stems from an awareness, reinforced by personal design experience, of a dilemma which exists about character, in terms of appropriateness of and the representation of Islam, in the Institutions built for Muslim immigrants in the West. While architects building in Islamic nations are fighting their own battles against modernism in architecture in order to maintain continuity within the context of their traditional and contemporary cities, architects building for Muslim communities overseas are searching for appropriate images for their Institutions in cultures which historically have been unaware of the true nature of Islamic civilizations in the world.    This study attempts to understand the complexities involved in designing for such building programs, which include mediating between the clients’ insistence on the re-creation of the architectural traditions which have been left behind, and the immediate urbanistic, symbolic, social and political forces of the contexts which weave and knit the buildings in their surroundings. Within the limited scope of this endeavor, emphasis is placed on consideration of the architectural character of these religious institutions. However, one cannot completely ignore other aspects of the histories of these buildings, which illustrate the process of their making. These buildings are often loaded with self-conscious and fully acknowledged historical references, taken from the so called generic tradition of ’Islamic Architecture’, and are collaged to impress upon the believer or non-believer alike, with recognizable imagery and form, the religious and ideological associations of their functions.    However, this method of orchestrating often leaves an unstable territory, within which a critical evaluation of them reveals the inherent contradictions. The theoretical discourse of the thesis will deal with, on one hand, a wide range of general issues, such as the image of Islam in the eyes of the West, the human need for continuity and the use of typology in architecture, and on other hand, the distillation of arguments on specific topics such as the iconography of Islamic architecture and the various interpretations put forward to explain its extensive use of geometry and ornament. The case studies of the Friday Mosques in London and Rome and the Jamatkhanas in London and Burnaby extend and demonstrate the above dialogue with the past and will form the basis of formulation of design principles which might be utilized in future building programs.

Hafiz was born on 29th September 1964 in Karachi, Pakistan.
His five year undergraduate studies were undertaken at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA and he graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor in Architecture (B.Arch) with a concentration in Structural Mechanics. He received the 'Notre Dame Scholar' award for academic excellence and was awarded a scholarship for his undergraduate education. Hafiz received a Masters of Science in Architecture Studies (S.M.Arch.S.) degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA in 1991. The program was under the auspicious of the Design for Islamic Societies, a unit of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (AKPIA). He was recipient of the MIT Tuition and the Aga Khan Scholarship for Architecture.
Hafiz worked in Vancouver for one year prior to his Master's degree with Design Synthesis Inc. on Jamat Khana Projects in North America. He joined the firm of Amirali Qamar Chartered Architect in 1991 in Karachi, Pakistan and progressed to a Design Associate of the firm.
In 1998, he established the firm of Collaborative Design in Karachi. The firm has grown to a medium sized organization comprising of twenty professionals. The Faculty Office Building at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Lahore & Kinshaha Jamatkhana, Master Planning of Serena Hotel in Sust in Gilgit-Baltistan, Extension to Islamabad Marriott Hotel, Network of Branches for Soneri Bank Limited, United Bank Limited and Atlas Bank Limited and Custom Residences are some of the recent large scale projects of the firm. He has an Architect's practicing license of The Pakistan Council of Architects, Karachi Building Control Authority and the Cantonment Board.
Hafiz has been affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network as a member/ Director on the Aga Khan Housing Board, Pakistan from 1993 to 1999 and Aga Khan Education Service from 1999-2005. Presently, he is Chairman of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan from 2005 July and is responsible for Governance of the institution.
Hafiz is married to Shaheen and is a father of two children Sana aged 14 years and Iliyan aged nine years.

Shetty, Rajmohan Devdas
MIT
SMArchS
1984
The impact of kinship systems in the generation of house types
The impact of kinship systems in the generation of house types

The objective of this study is the identification and analysis of some of the social and cultural factors that have had a critical influence in the structuring of traditional environments. Subsequently it could be broadly viewed as an attempt at developing a more inclusive framework of inquiry and analysis of built form and the structuring of built environments undergoing processes of transformation. The focus of the study is a Muslim settlement in the historic core of the city of Calicut, situated in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. The inquiry, however, restricts its scope to the investigation and analysis of a particular socio-cultural institution namely, the matrilineal kinship structure in its traditional form, which to an extent still persists - in relation to the nature of its impact on the built environment. The analysis is to a large part an examination of the artifactual data which comprises of a documentation of four house types, against ethnographic studies that have been conducted in this particular context and related ones. In view of the fact that the more recent developments in this context have led to some significant changes in the social and cultural realms, the concluding remarks focus on some important positions put forth in recent times, in relation to processes of change in traditional societies. This has been undertaken on the premise that in order to understand the meaning of architectural products as objectifications of human relations as against object relations, it is crucial to understand the mediations between architectural/planning products and the social whole.

 

Sobti, Manu Prithvish
MIT
SMArchS
1995
Timurid central Asia and Mughal India: some correlations regarding urban design concepts and the typology of the muslim house
Timurid central Asia and Mughal India: some correlations regarding urban design concepts and the typology of the muslim house

This thesis commences with the basic premise that Timurid Central Asia (which included the regions of Khorasan and Transoxania), with its monumental achievements in Urban Planning and Civic Architecture, beginning with the reign of Tamerlane (1346 - 1405); served as a literal source of inspiration for the urban form of Mughal cities. As an additional corollary to this premise, it puts forward the thesis that the formal similarities observed between the architecture of the Timurids and the Mughals were not purely coincidental; but were indeed the result of a conscious exchange of ideas and images in a varied number of ways. The Mughals seem to have essentially emulated the Timurids in terms of the basic grammar of their architectural creations, and the final product was always unique in terms of the extent, purity and the mix of constituent elements. This cross-cultural ’borrowing’ seems to have become more direct and relatively refined when one considers developments in the realm of city planning; where to a large extent, there seems to have operated a ’stereo-typical’ notion or model of the urban settlement - predominantly Timurid or deriving from Timurid precedents; which is thereafter applied and overlaid with ’Indianized’ or ’Persianized’ notions in order to develop the characteristics of the Mughal city. The first part of the thesis examines how pre-Timurid precedents could have contributed towards the conception of a Timurid Urban Model. The characteristics this model and its variations are subsequently discussed with reference to specific cases. The second part discusses correlations between the Timurid and Mughal city in terms of a matrix of political and social variables derived from conditions prevalent in Timurid and Mughal society. The third part of the research looks at factors or agents which may have caused the this cultural interchange to occour between the two cultures.

Manu P. Sobti is an Islamic architecture and urban historian, currently an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee USA. He has a B.Arch. from School of Architecture - CEPT (Ahmedabad, India), a SMarchS. from MIT (Cambridge), and a Ph.D. from the College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta). As a recognized scholar and an innovative educator, he is director of SARUP-UWM's India Winterim Program (2008 – present) and the future India Avatar Program (commencing 2012). Since its inception in 2008, the India program has collaborated actively with faculty and students from India, including the School of Architecture CEPT (Ahmedabad), and the College of Architecture (Chandigarh), in a series of urban-mapping exercises that document urbanity in the Indian subcontinent. In partnership with the Art History Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sobti also co-coordinates the Building-Landscapes-Cultures (BLC) Concentration of SARUP-UWM's Doctoral Program, creating opportunities for student research in diverse areas of architectural and urban history, and in multiple global settings.
Sobti's current research focuses on the urban history of early-medieval Islamic cities along the Silk Road and in the Indian Subcontinent. In recognition for his work on urbanism and urban history, he has received several prestigious awards, including the Trans-disciplinary Research Collaborative Award from the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for his work on "Borderland Ecologies" (2011 – 13), the Global Studies Research Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for his work of "Apples and Material Culture in Kazakhstan" (2010-11), the Hamid Bin Khalifa Research and Travel Fellowship for Islamic Architecture and Culture for his research on "Color in Islamic Gardens" (2009), the Center for 21st Century Studies Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for his work on "Medieval Urbanity along the Amu Darya" (2009-10), and grants from the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research in Seattle (2009-10), the Graham Foundation of the Arts in Chicago (2008-09), the French Institute for Central Asian Studies in Tashkent (2003), and the Architectural Association in London (2001). He has also received multiple teaching and course development awards, including the BP-AMOCO Teaching Excellence Award at the Georgia Institute of Technology (2001), and the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2011). He has published widely in journals, books and monographs, and presented his research at more than 50 national and international venues. He is currently completing a manuscript entitled The Sliver of the Oxus Borderland: Medieval Cultural Encounters between the Arabs and Persians for Brill Publications (Leiden, Netherlands) – a comprehensive work that collates his noteworthy fieldwork in libraries, repositories and archives across Central Asia. His ongoing, extensive research on the city of Bhopal (Central India) - founded by migrating Pathans from Jalalabad in Afghanistan - is also part of an impressive monograph.

Srivastava, Manish
MIT
SMArchS
1996
Architecture and development as instruments for political control and marginalization in Lucknow, India
Architecture and development as instruments for political control and marginalization in Lucknow, India

A critical inquiry was undertaken to explore the role that architecture, development, architectural criticism, and urban intervention played, as representational and ideological tools, in the process of British colonial formation in Lucknow, from 1765 to 1858. Results show: (1) Architecture and development played a crucial role in annexation of Lucknow by the British in 1856, (2) Orientalist architectural criticism was an instrument to justify the annexation of the city and the deposition of its rulers, (3) the British government used urban intervention and massive urban surgery to establish their political and social control over Lucknow, and (4) through the representation of the pre-colonial city as an impediment to progress and change, the British colonial enterprise permanently destroyed the indigenous socio-political economy and culture that symbolized the flouring city between 1765 and 1858. Since then, Lucknow has yet to recover.

 

Sutton, Summer
MIT
SMArchS
2012

Implications of "Neo-Orientalist" Conservation in Fez, Morocco:
Need for an Innovative Non-Profit Alternative

Implications of "Neo-Orientalist" Conservation in Fez, Morocco:
Need for an Innovative Non-Profit Alternative

The exotic and mystical image of Morocco has been imbedded in the minds of outsiders even before the French protectorate was established in the early 20th century. Many countries whose modern history has its origins in an outside hegemonic power tend to be ambivalent towards the impact of the colonizer's continued presence in the contemporary culture. Morocco, for example, has grown to embrace the foreign interest in its exotic world and now even encourages the oriental depictions of its country in order to increase foreign private investment, ultimately to preserve the historic heritage of the city. The result of this preservation strategy is a paradoxical urban fabric of enhancement and atrophy made apparent in the architectural disparity between modern developments by foreign investors and the often dilapidated locally owned riads. This mixture of urban divergences also adds a special character to the city, which would make anyone question the need to intervene, but I will argue that the identity and sustainability of the heritage city is ultimately in question. Through research and interviews with foreign investors, developers and local property owners in Fez, this thesis will identify the unfolding implications and opportunities of the current riad restoration movements in the city. It will evaluate non-profit alternatives for architectural conservation. The outcome of this research will establish the basis for ARCHeritage, a non-profit organization aimed to direct the future development of the city using historically appropriate design standards as well as micro-financing incentives for the renovation of locally owned property in order to help local businesses keep up with the modern forces of development in Fez.

 

Talwar, Pratap
MIT
SMArchS
1993
Incremental development schemes: An evaluation of land tenure options in Khuda Ki Basti, Hyderabad
Incremental development schemes: An evaluation of land tenure options in Khuda Ki Basti, Hyderabad

This thesis evaluates the opportunities and pitfalls of partnerships between the state and illegal subdividers, in the development of land for the poor. Illegal subdivider, also known as dalals in the subcontinent, have for the last decade been the predominant suppliers of land for the poor. They have been most successful in channeling unclaimed or disputed public and private land for the poor through petty commercial subdivision. The Incremental Development Scheme, in Hyderabad, Sindh, was an experimental initiative by the Hyderabad Development Authority (HDA), that responded to the concern that land delivery to the poorest is decreasing in even such illegal sub-markets, caused by growing scarcity of land and burgeoning demand. Along with phasing land development costs, the agenda of the scheme was to combine the marketing and development experience of dalals, with state projects targeting the poor. This thesis investigates i) the positive and unique contributions of the alliance between the state and dalals that overcome barriers to traditional state or subdivider developed
schemes, ii) the factors affecting tenure security for users and dalals, iii) the feasibility of land and housing policies targeting the poorest exclusively, iv) the physical layout implications of incremental development schemes. While it is not possible to comprehensively estimate the costs and benefits of joint development by the market and the state, the Incremental Development Scheme achieves three significant results that are likely to have important bearing on future policy. First, the combination of tenure and procedural restrictions was instrumental in encouraging new owner-occupiers over owner non-occupiers. This is a valuable insight into techniques of controlling rampant speculation. The second unique achievement of the scheme was that it was able to sustain access for the poorest even when the project had matured and was desirable to higher bidders. Lastly, the Incremental Development Scheme successfully lead development on the urban fringe, perhaps a future prototype of state guided urban growth.

 

Tohme, Lara
MIT
HTC PhD
2005
Out of antiquity: Umayyad art and architecture in context
Out of antiquity: Umayyad art and architecture in context

This dissertation explores the relationship between the art and architecture of the early Islamic period to those of pre-Islamic Bilad al-Sham (the region encompassing the modem-day countries of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel), and focuses on the Umayyad bathhouse as a paradigm through which this relationship is articulated. The visual culture of the Umayyad dynasty (661-750CE) is of extreme importance, not only because it constitutes the foundation of Islamic art and architecture, but more importantly because it serves as the main link in the chain of cultural transmission from the Greco- Roman and Byzantine worlds to the Medieval Islamic world. The first section of this dissertation explores the ways in which this relationship has been studied as well as the nature of the primary sources, and suggests a new method of how best to study and understand Umayyad art and architecture and their relationship to precedent and contemporaneous cultures. The second section examines the cultural, architectural and political changes in Bilad al-Sham between the fourth and eighth centuries CE, and how the events of these four centuries shaped the art, architecture and culture of the Umayyads.   (cont.) The third and fourth sections concentrate on transformation of the shape and function of the bathhouse in late antiquity, and how the bathhouse was adapted to fit the needs of both pre-Islamic and Islamic late antique cultures in this region. This study concludes by suggesting that Umayyad architecture and culture can best be understood only when interpreted as part of the rich regional and cultural milieu of late antique Bilad al-Sham.

Lara Tohme is the Knafel Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Co-Director of the Architecture Program at Wellesley College. She completed her PhD at MIT in 2005. Her research explores the intersections among religious and cultural groups in the Mediterranean region, and it focuses on the relationships between religion, architecture and politics between 600 and 1250 CE. In particular, her scholarship explores two distinct regions and historical periods: the Umayyad period in Bilad al-Sham (modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Palestine) between ca. 661 and 750 CE and the Norman period in Sicily, ca. 1070-1190 CE. She recently published articles on the role of monasteries and country estates in eighth-century Syria in Negotiating Secular and Sacred in Medieval Art: Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, eds. Alicia Walker and Amanda Luyster (Ashgate, 2009), and on early Islamic bathhouses in Bathing Culture of Anatolian Civilizations: Architecture, History and Imagination, ed. Nina C. Ergin (Peeters Publishers, 2011). She co-authored The Umayyads: The Rise of Islamic Art (Art Bo International, 2001), and her work has also been published in
Al-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean and The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. She is currently completing a book, Constructing Identity: the Making of a Mediterranean Architecture in Medieval Sicily, in which she explores the topics of the development of Norman architecture in Sicily and the place of Norman architectural production within the broader context of the medieval Mediterranean. At Wellesley College, Lara Tohme teaches a variety of courses on the history of Islamic, western medieval, Mediterranean and Byzantine art and architecture.

Turker, Deniz
MIT
SMArchS
2007
The oriental flaneur: Khalil Bey and the cosmopolitan experience
The oriental flaneur: Khalil Bey and the cosmopolitan experience

This thesis offers an account of the professional life and aesthetic pursuits of a remarkable figure of the nineteenth century: Khalil Bey, an Ottoman diplomat and art collector whose career took him from one cosmopolitan city to another. Although, his collection of French art has gotten considerable attention in Western scholarship, due primarily to his commission of Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World, an in-depth study of his life hasn’t yet been produced. It is in this regard that this thesis frames Khalil’s life chronologically and details his diplomatic career, his three-year sojourn as an art-collector and his evolving egalitarian and reformist ideals. The aim here is to offer a critical interpretation of the figure of Khalil Bey, and in so doing, complicate the teding how masculinity, in the age of modernity, was deeply unfixed.rms in which nineteenth-century masculine identity is cast. The overall aim is not to define anew such Baudelairian categories as flaneur, dandy, artist, and bohemian, but rather allow the possibility of how a cosmopolitan Oriental like Khalil Bey, who seamlessly navigated between the capitals of the West and East, offers a compelling model of self-fashioning, and a means of understan

Pursuing a doctorate at Harvard University.
Vincent, Lieza
MIT
SMArchS
MCP
2004
When home becomes world heritage: The case of Aleppo, Syria
When home becomes world heritage: The case of Aleppo, Syria

Lists are valuable tools for conservation. One such list for the conservation of cultural heritage objects is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. In this thesis, I seek to understand how this international device impacts planning at a local level, specifically in the context of development and under political constraints typical of the Middle East. I do this through the case study of Aleppo, Syria. Since the end of the French Mandate, Aleppo’s old city has undergone major transformation as a result if three main periods of planning interventions. From the 1950s to the late 1970s, a series of master plans called for the destruction of certain sections of the city’s historic core. By 1978, the implementation of parts of these plans prompted a local and international campaign to safeguard the Old City of Aleppo, culminating in its designation to the World Heritage List in 1986 and the initiation of a joint Syrian and German rehabilitation project in 1992. This thesis discusses these different moments in Aleppo in an effort to understand to what extent UNESCO and the World Heritage List impacted change in planning priorities in the old city. In order to do this, I give a historical background of planning in Aleppo from 1930s to the moment of World Heritage nomination in 1978. This section discusses the historical conditions that contributed to the old city’s rapid decay. Next, I review the period of World Heritage nomination to illuminate how decisions were being made about the old city by local authorities in conjunction with professionals from UNESCO in order to halt master planning in the old city and move forward with a policy of conservation.   (cont.) I then discuss the influence of the List on the implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation strategy for the old city by a well-known international development agency, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). This section will exhibit how the project raised the standards of the planning profession in Aleppo, and even in Syria. I ill also discuss the project’s role as a force of political opposition. The thesis concludes by evaluating this cultural heritage rehabilitation effort’s success within the context of a state that refuses political reform.

 

Wang, Chuan
MIT SMArchS
1992
The transformation and continuity of the traditional dwelling in Suzhou, China
The transformation and continuity of the traditional dwelling in Suzhou, China

This thesis is a brief study of factors influencing the transformations of traditional housing and neighborhoods in the context of social change. It aims at clarifying permanence and change in the built environment and identifying the ways in which people express themselves in transforming their place of residence. This thesis examines how the residents of Suzhou transform their traditional courtyard house because of socio-economic change and modernization and yet retain some spatial and social patterns which are important to them. My purpose is to examine the neighborhoods with a positive eye, trying to select the good points and not just looking at what is wrong with it. How can creative involvement in the built environment be supported in the future? How can indigenous design solutions be encouraged. The courtyard houses in Suzhou have undergone many changes during the last four decades.    The traditional courtyard house in Suzhou is a type of house that had slowly developed over more than two thousand years. At the beginning of the twentieth century it was still untouched by influences of the West and the industrial revolution. Though the first transformations of the Suzhou courtyard house occurred at the beginning of this century, the most important transformation happened during the last few decades. Due to socio-economic factors, such as the Cultural Revolution, the severe housing shortage, the courtyard house, once inhabited by one extended family, had to be shared among several families. New shelters had to be built in the traditional compound. Building materials and construction techniques also changed. The resulting living environment seems disordered at first sight. But underneath the messiness, the deployment of new additions and people’s living patterns show some continuity of the traditional ways.    The case study might reveal the traits that have continued to survive in the physical form and social patterns, despite all the complex changes in the society that time has inevitably caused. The case study exemplifies the continuity and transformations of the traditional dwelling environments in Suzhou. An attempt is made at the same time, to identify some basic principles and directions by which the architectural language of housing and urban form in such a study can be considered.

 

Williamson, Emily
MIT SMArchS
2014

Understanding the Zongo: Processes of Socio-Spatial Marginalization in Ghana

Understanding the Zongo: Processes of Socio-Spatial Marginalization in Ghana

The spatial processes of marginalization and ghettoization have been described, labeled, and theorized extensively in the United States and Europe, yet there has been little research dedicated to these processes in the literature concerning urban Africa. Rather than using prescribed Western concepts, this thesis interrogates the spatial processes of marginalization by beginning with the local and particular – in this case, the Zongo, a fascinating, and understudied historical phenomenon in Ghana. Zongo means “traveler’s camp” or “stop-over” in Hausa and was used by British Colonial Officers to define the areas in which Muslims lived. Traditionally, the inhabitants of these settlements were Muslims migrating south either for trading purposes or as hired fighters. Today, Zongos have become a vast network of settlements and there is at least one Zongo in every urban center in Ghana.
Since these ethnic groups were not indigenous to the territory, it is not surprising that many were historically marginalized. This thesis, therefore, uses history as the primary mechanism by which to dismantle, complicate, re-construct, and understand the Zongo phenomenon – to demonstrate how it has evolved over time - with and against political, economic, and religious forces. Rather than a sweeping comparative approach between settlements, the strategy is to deeply investigate its most extreme case of marginalization – that of the Zongo located in the coastal city of Cape Coast. It seeks to answer what combination of historical and social factors have caused the Cape Coast Zongo to become so marginalized. The research identifies five periods, Imperialism, Segregation, Nationalism, Industrialization, and Globalization, that mark important ideological and political shifts in the history of marginalization in Cape Coast and then examines what themes emerge from this particular historical case that may be generalized for all Zongos. Furthermore, the thesis contributes to larger theoretical discussions explaining how, why, and when ghettoization appears and functions in West Africa.

Emily Williamson is a second year SMarchS-AKPIA candidate. Her current research focuses on the processes of spatial marginalization of the Zongo, a network of Islamic settlements in Ghana, West Africa. In her thesis, she asks what historical factors have shaped these urban and architectural transformations in the urban context of Cape Coast. Emily holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree in Education and Art from Colby College. Emily has previously worked as an architect in Washington, DC and has collaborated on community-based design and cultural heritage projects in Ghana, Peru, and Haiti

 

Yahya, Maha
MIT
HTC PhD
2002
Unnamed modernisms : national ideologies and historical imaginaries in Beirut’s urban architecture
Unnamed modernisms : national ideologies and historical imaginaries in Beirut’s urban architecture

Since the commencement of post-war reconstruction in 1991, Beirut has been radically transformed through a series of large development projects that seek to reconcile the war induced fragmentation of both city and national identity whilst reclaiming its "historic" position as one of a global network of cities. These changes are grounded in a series of historiographic approaches to memory, architecture, and urbanism. This dissertation argues that a critical approach to the city in this context has to come to terms with the omissions that constitute its history and the ambiguities of its multiple political locations. It contends that these ambiguities are grounded in two specific events unleashed by the historic transition of Beirut from a thriving cosmopolitan port city and capital of an Ottoman province carrying its own name and spanning over a vast territory into the capital of a smaller new nation state under French mandate (1888-1943). The first is the ambivalence that characterized the projection and formation of national identity under mandate (as opposed to colonial) rule and the second is the superimposition of a capital city on the site of a cosmopolitan port city during this same period.   (cont.) This overlap between the messy cosmopolitanism of the port city, with its own antithesis, the universalism associated with modernism in the capital city generated a condition of architectural and urban impossibility that continues to haunt its making. ased on a diverse body of primary imperial, colonial and local archival research, 19th and 20th century literature and memoirs, travelogues and visual material such as photographs, post cards and maps, as well as the insights of recent work on orientalism, colonialism, nationalism this study offers the first critical examination of the connections between political change and modern architectural-urban production in Beirut.

 

Yazar, Hatice
MIT SMArchS
1991
Architecture in miniature--representation of space and form in illustrations and buildings in Timurid Central Asia
Architecture in miniature--representation of space and form in illustrations and buildings in Timurid Central Asia

This study attempts to explore a number of questions about the use of an architectural language in Timurid and Safavid miniature paintings of 15th and 16th century Central Asia. Of these the most important are the following: Is there a language of architectural characteristics that can be identified in the miniature? What is this language? Is it possible to find comparative expressions and representations between the painting and the architecture? Due to the lack of other . records stating otherwise, architecture of this period is often described only as a craft; is it possible to identify a discourse between artists, writers and architects that indicates common ideals and intentions for such things as beauty in form and space? In answering these questions five different methods of analysis were used. The first method was an analysis of the visual space and the formal organization of the miniature.    The second method was an analysis of the content and the culture that the miniature visualizes. The third method was an analysis of the experiential space and perception of contemporary architectural forms still in existence. These were then studied in a comparative juxtaposition with the images of the architecture. This comparative analysis was organized in a fourth method as a matrix of diverse concepts and ideas in a search for possible interrelationships between several sources including literature, poetry, Arabic inscriptions and Ko’ranic verses. A final comparative method took the form of three dimensional constructs of the miniatures in order to attempt a parallel analysis of the spatial perception of the architecture and the miniature. The question of whether an architectural language could be identified in the miniature paintings was answered positively.    Starting from a basic level, there were consistent similarities between architecture and miniature in building elements and typologies. The search that was made at the conceptual level revealed many possible common expressions such as those of passage, of entrance and its use, of focal paints and of nodes in the architectural and the miniature space. Building and form also appeared to be contemplated at the philosophic and spiritual level. In addition, an expressive vocabulary of design was revealed in the treatment of such architectural forms as iwans, pistaqs and their perception as rhythmic and urban structures. The shallow compressed space that emerged in the constructed interpretation of the miniature appeared to be reflected in the compact spaces created by accretions of cells of varying depths in the Ulugh Beg Madrasa in Samarkand. A potential for further significant interpretive exploration appears to have been revealed in these records of a remarkable time and culture.

Hatice Yazar (M.S.Arch.S., B.Arch., OAA, MRAIC, BCIN, LEED AP) is a principal at WZMH Architects and has managed and led multi-disciplinary teams on large WZMH projects in Canada, the Middle East and China.  She opened and managed WZMH's Hong Kong office for two years. She serves as Managing Principal on major commercial, mixed-use projects such as Nation Towers in Abu Dhabi, Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto, and casino projects including both phases of the Windsor Casino.  Currently Hatice is working on expanding WZMH's substantial body of over 4 million sq ft. in sustainable design targeting LEEDTM Gold or better, with sustainable technology initiatives including adaptive building reuse as at 222 Jarvis Street in the Toronto core, and Quinte Consolidated Courthouse in Ontario.
Hatice joined WZMH in 1993 after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Master of Science in Architecture Studies.  She received her Bachelor of Architecture (1984) from Carleton University, is a LEED TM Accredited Professional and member of the Ontario Association of Architects and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. She has held speaking engagements including Clean Tech Forum in San Francisco, Urban Green Expo in New York.

Young, T. Luke
MIT SMArchS
2000
Low-income communities in world heritage cities: Revitalizing neighborhoods in Tunis and Quito
Low-income communities in world heritage cities: Revitalizing neighborhoods in Tunis and Quito

Since the 1970s, international preservation and funding agencies have promoted revitalization projects in developing countries aiming to, among other things, benefit low income communities. For the most part, these projects have resulted in visibly improved physical spaces, reflecting upgraded infrastructure along with conservation of the architectural fabric. These outcomes are impressive in light of decades of neglect and decay. The impact on low-income residents, however, remains obscure. In what cases have the poor really benefited from these revitalization projects? Through what specific channels can low-income communities benefit from interventions? How have governments in these countries responded to the external pressure to benefit low-income residents given their often limited institutions and budgets?
This thesis seeks address these questions. In particular, it aims to understand the conditions under which revitalization projects in historic cities of developing countries can benefit low-income communities. It begins by considering the evolution of international philosophy, following the shift from a central focus on monument preservation to that of urban revitalization, with a notable difference being the incorporation of social objectives in the latter phase. It then turns to exploring how these goals of revitalization have played out in two World Heritage Cities, Tunis and Quito. Findings indicate that low-income residents have indeed benefited from revitalization projects in both cases. Drawing from these experiences, this thesis reveals four common elements in the process through which this favorable outcome was achieved: 1) a significant component of public participation, 2) a semi-public development agency with operational flexibility and innovative financing strategies, 3) international catalysts in the form of World Heritage recognition and collaboration with international organizations and agencies, and 4) image improvement leading to a renewed self-image of the neighborhood. While these four elements by no means offer a template for success, they do indicate institutional structures that may support developing countries' efforts to reach the poor while revitalizing their cities.

T. Luke Young studies urban revitalization and traditional settlements and his thesis was titled "Low-Income Communities in World Heritage Cities: Revitalizing Neighborhoods in Tunis and Quito." Mr. Young graduated from the AKPIA SMArchS program in 2000. Thereafter he worked for the municipality of Washington, DC in the Office of Planning, assisting in the preservation and adaptive-use of structures in historic neighborhoods. Mr. Young recently published a book on the history and development of the city entitled Washington: Then and Now. He is currently assisting the Colombian government with developing a social housing program and micro-credit financing strategies for low-income residents.

Yusaf, Shundana
MIT SMArchS
2001
Monument without qualities
Monument without qualities

Traditional interpretations of monuments look either at the process of production or of the nature of reception. In this thesis, I take a slightly different approach and look at the monument that exists in peoples' imagination prior to what is actually constructed.
The mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founding leader of Pakistan, provides an appropriate subject for such an approach. Jinnah was a larger than life figure, who embodied for most of the citizens of the new nation the ideals on which the country was founded. The imagination of his mausoleum is therefore intertwined in very dense ways with the popular imagination of identity, nationhood, and national ideals. Another reason for favoring this approach is the availability of direct information on popular conceptions of the proposed monument. These conceptions were recorded in a series of letters written by ordinarypeople to Miss Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and by most accounts the protector of his idealistic legacy.
This mode of inquiry raises a number of theoretical issues. One is the articulation in these correspondences, of the appropriation of the ideal of. the monument in a moment before it is built. It problematizes the entanglement of the monument with what de Certeau calls 'strategies of power' and 'tactics of below' by illuminating facets of the nature of each. Behind this lies a fundamental question.
How does one gain access to and think about a modern monument in order to be able to understand its nature and to narrate its story? I use content of these letters to approach this question.

Pursued a doctorate from Princeton University.