Alumni Bios & Abstracts (last names H through Z)

Name

Degree 
&
Year

Thesis and Abstract

Biography

Hadimioglu, Cagla

 

MIT
SMArchS

2002

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.

 

MIT
SMArchS

1999

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 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.

 

MIT
SMArchS

1992

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/

MIT
HTC PhD

2014

Modernism with Style: History, Culture and the Origins of Modern Architecture in Berlin, 1780-1870
This dissertation traces the continual, but overlooked, impact of Islamic architecture on practicing architects in nineteenth-century Berlin. As such, it examines the origins of Modernism by considering design strategies by architects in post-Schinkel Berlin. The reasons and motivations for this interest in Islamic architecture by German architects are not easily connected to imperial prerogatives. Rather, this dissertation argues that the use and interpretation of Islamic architectural forms by German architects during this period—often characterized as a “crisis of style”—provide insight into Germany’s uncertain path to Modernism in the twentieth century.
Lost within the historiography of style debates during the first half of the century, which sought to establish a new style appropriate for a modern industrial society, existed proposals that rejected both trends of an uncritical eclecticism and pure industrial abstraction. These architects sought a solution to this crisis by challenging the cultural aspects of style. Thus, it was through the study of Islamic architecture that some German architects found an unlikely answer, which differed from those proposed by advocates of design reform in contemporary Britain. For some, Islamic architecture came to be understood as sharing a common ancestry in classical antiquity, yet it was different and abstract enough such that it would not be closely associated with either the Neoclassical or Gothic. As such, Islamic forms were unlikely to be associated with the political, ideological and religious ideas so ingrained in Europe’s architecture.
This dissertation alters traditional understandings of Modernism by demonstrating how this “path,” ultimately not taken, can be used to reconceptualize our understanding of what Modernism is, was, or could have been. Thus, instead of attempting to establish a different type, or “alternative’” Modernism, the dissertation challenges the historiography of the modern canon significantly in order to understand Modernism as a global condition, while simultaneously rejecting the inherited limits of the term ‘modern’ as a formal or stylistic category only. By exploring what these architects sought outside of Europe, and studying how they integrated what they found into their work during the rapidly changing nineteenth century, this dissertation significantly challenges Modernism’s established historiography.

Christian Hedrick's dissertation, entitled Modernism with Style: Form, Meaning and the Origins of Modern Architecture in Berlin, 1780-1870 challenges commonly held presuppositions about the origins of modern architecture by exploring hitherto unacknowledged design strategies by Berlin architects in the second third of the nineteenth century. The project examines the reception and interpretation of Islamic architectural forms within German architectural discourse and practice from Karl Friedrich Schinkel through Carl von Diebitsch. The dissertation seeks to enrich, rather than undermine, the modernist narrative by highlighting the culturally variegated nature of modernism’s origins. His research has been supported in part by grants from the ARCE (American Research Center in Egypt) and the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), among others. Most recently he was the recipient of the Scott Opler award from the Society of Architectural Historians. His interests include the ‘global history’ of architecture, Islamic architecture, and architecture’s historiography. He is currently preparing a chapter for an edited text on the World’s Exhibitions and will spend the summer of 2014 working as a consultant for Archnet leading a project that assists instructors by providing original resources in the teaching of Islamic architecture.

Heng, Teh Joo

MIT
SMArchS

1989

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
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

MIT
SMArchS

1995

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.

 

Hirsch, Rachel MIT
SMArchS


2020

Constructing Mughar Burhanpur 
In 1601, Emperor Akbar successfully conquered Burhanpur, a major Sufi center and capital of the Khandesh Sultanate. A decades-long process of urban construction followed, transforming the city into a regional capital on the frontier of the Mughal Empire. However, the twenty-first-century challenges of reconstructing the seventeenth-century city have largely obscured Burhanpur’s significance, and isolated attempts at textual analysis or conservation fieldwork have provided only partial understandings of the city’s history. Responding to these challenges, this thesis proposes a method that privileges the experiential elements of understanding a city—whether gathered from textual accounts, personal observation, or visual evidence—and posits them within a larger discourse of travel and place formation. From this method emerges a reconstruction of a new Mughal capital that was built in a series of spatial and architectural developments carried out between 1601 and 1631. The function and form of these layers of construction shifted rapidly over the course of three decades based on the needs of the expanding Mughal Empire and the priorities of the individuals sustaining it. Taken together, this thesis reveals a previously unknown process of producing a Mughal capital constituted through successive shifts in patronage that, while varying in their urban priorities, shared the collective goal of creating a legibly Mughal capital. 

 

Hossain, Shakeel

MIT
SMArchS

1988

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
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.

Director, Water and Adaptation Initiative at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

Ismail, Tanya MIT
SMArchS

2016
Passive Architecture Tool for Exploratory Design: Case of Qatar
By the middle of the twentieth century, the growing global demand for fossil fuels flooded the Gulf States with wealth that led to an unprecedented scale of city building. Today, Qatar is one of the highest consumers of energy per capita, with over seventy percent of energy in the residential sector depleted by air conditioning. In raising a metropolis from the sand, reliance on mechanical systems led to the largely unanimous abandonment of traditional building techniques that evolved from the hyper-arid environment to ameliorate harsh thermal conditions. Faced with a growing energy crisis, design professionals in Qatar have the opportunity to reduce demand and to maximize the potential of building and site by incorporating low-energy passive solar strategies into architectural designs. This thesis recognizes the limitations of existing tools to assist with performance-based decision making during the early stages of the design process and proposes a new conceptual framework to explore architectural design and climate-sensitive strategies as drivers of the conceptual design with simultaneous feedback on cost-benefit implications. The thesis identifies single family residences as a key sector for future development and presents an interactive digital interface for generating site-specific design solutions and evaluating passive cooling strategies against selected performance indicators. Seeking to clarify the relationship between cost, energy, and design, the interface integrates existing tools in a gaming engine, Unity3D, to synthesize a component-based building system with analysis. The application requires little technical knowledge to operate and understand, allowing for quick experimentation and feedback. The simulation offers indicative estimates of embodied and operating energy alongside capital and operating costs while simultaneously allowing the user to assume an immersive first person perspective to experience the spaces. The tool is geared towards generating a process of iterative sketching and evaluation at the conceptual design phase in a simplified interface that allows for the flexibility of geometric expression while minimizing the level of complexity required for user input. Embracing a belief in technology as a vehicle of social and environmental change, this thesis offers early insight into the efficiency of passive strategies and their economic implications throughout the building lifecycle. The result is greater transparency of the dependencies and compromises between pivotal variables for a variety of stakeholders. By allowing the architect freedom of form with low time investment, such an instrument offers an enhanced preliminary design methodology, promoting continuous negotiation between different configurations, and supporting divergent thinking through models. User testing and feedback demonstrates the potential of the tool to encourage energy-conscious decisions at the start of the design process, redefine the existing workflow, and engage users in a critical dialogue towards a culture of passive design.
 

Jabr, Abdul Halim

MIT
SMArchS

1995

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.

 

 James, Allison

MIT
SMArchS

2015

The Architecture of Procession: Political and Spiritual Pathways between the Qutb Shahi Necropolis and Golconda Fortress
This thesis is an exploration of the role of processional architecture in articulating the Qutb Shahi necropolis in southern India at the beginning of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (mid-16th c).  More precisely, it analyzes two processional pathways that connected Golconda Fortress to the Qutb Shahi necropolis. The pathways were significant because of the political and spiritual qualities they held.  They extended northward toward a Sufi shrine and water complex, and beyond that to the antecedent capital of Bidar 135 kilometers to the northwest.  Later, these paths would be important in connecting Golconda and the necropolis with the city of Hyderabad founded in 1592.
Methods used to examine these pathways are a mix of historical, topographical, visual, and spatial investigations as they relate to the wider political and spiritual patronages of the sultanate. The first part of each chapter provides context of the wider patronage of each sultan.  The second part explores the landscape of procession by moving through the pathways as they were laid out.   The third part shows how the series of structures take advantage of the natural topography by framing key “views” of the processional ways and thereby connect Golconda to the necropolis.  The final section of each chapter shows how these larger perspectives help to interpret the spatial layout of tombs on the necropolis.
Through this analysis of four spatial relationships, the thesis shows how the tomb complex was defined by an initial pair of orientations to the East and South, which shifted to a primary emphasis to the South during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah (1550-1580), and back to the East during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (1580-1611.)  As the Sultanate evolved, the pathways became, and remained, as important as the critical monuments of spiritual and political significance that they connected.

 

Jalia, Aftab

MIT
SMArchS

2008

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
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.

 

Jarrar, Sabri M.

MIT
SMArchS

1990

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.

 
Karimi, Pamela MIT
HTC PhD

2009
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 an architect and an architectural historian. She earned her PhD from the History, Theory & Criticism of Art and Architecture Program at MIT in 2009. Her primary field of specialization is art, architecture, and visual culture of the modern Middle East. Her second area of research is design and sustainability in North America. Before joining the Art History faculty at UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Karimi taught at Brandeis University, NYU, Wellesley College, and Lawrenceville School. She is the author of Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era(Routledge, 2013) and co-editor of Images of the Child and Childhood in Modern Muslim Contexts(Duke, 2012), Reinventing the American Post-Industrial City(Sage, 2015) & The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East: From Napoleon to ISIS(Aggregate Architectural Collaborative, 2016). Her essays and reviews about the modern and contemporary art of the Middle East have appeared in Harvard Design Magazine, ArtMargins, Jadaliyya, Art Journal, Ibraaz, Bidoun, Honar-e Farda,and the Arab Studies Journal, among others. Karimi has lectured widely and most recently she contributed to Artefacts of the Futureat ICA/Boston, TU Delft’s Global Petroleumscapeproject, Oslo Architecture Triennialand Chicago Architecture Biennial. Her major curatorial projects include Urban Renewal and Creative Economy in Massachusetts Gateway Cities and BeyondStateless: Artists Respond to the Refugee Crisis, and Black Spaces Matter: Exploring the Aesthetics and Architectonics of an Abolitionist Neighborhoodat the Boston Architectural College’s McCormick Gallery. She has held fellowships from the Iran Heritage Foundation at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the American Association of University Women, and the Society of Architectural Historians. Karimi has been the co-recipient of the University of Massachusetts Creative Economy Fund twice in 2012 and 2016. In 2014 she earned the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Green Award. In 2018 she received the highest recognition for pedagogical achievements at the University of Massachusetts system, winning the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Co-founder of Aggregate Architectural History Collaborativeand a former member of the editorial team of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Karimi currently serves on the editorial and scholarly boards of Thresholds Journal(MIT Press) and the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey, respectively. Karimi is the Associate Director of the Office of Undergraduate Researchat UMass Dartmouth.

 

Khodr, Ali MIT
SMArchS


2017

Planning a Sectarian Topography: Revisiting Michael Ecohard’s Master Plans for Beirut 1941-1964
Scholarly discourse around the work of French architect and urban planner Michel Ecochard in the early days of the Lebanese nation state frames his master plans for the capital Beirut as modernist tools for an ailing urban agglomeration, without considering the possible ramifications these plans could have had on the social and sectarian structure of the city. Throughout the scope of this thesis, I will present a re-reading of Ecochard's work, detailing how he introduces an urbanity of social integration in a sectarian city rife with sporadic acts of urban violence. I will also argue that Ecochard's planned interventions are based on a careful reading of Beirut's socio-political and economic divisions following Lebanon's independence in the 1940's, and throughout the nation-building era in the 1960's. By studying and analyzing Ecochard's personal archives, notes and drawings; I will maintain that Ecochard's plans for the city reflect his vision for the peaceful integration of communities by promoting access, functionality and the articulation of communal public spaces, rather than viewing the plans solely as the agents of urban modernization. Reflecting upon the broader discourse of Ecochard's planning initiatives across Lebanon, at the time, I seek to position the architect/planner within the shifting political contexts of post-independence Lebanon. I will also address the nuances experienced by Ecochard as he attempts to intervene on Beirut within two spatial and temporal moments. The first concerned with planning a colonially inherited city. And the second, occurring at a time when Beirut becomes an economically driven safe haven, coinciding with the presence of a nationalist political agency attempting to restructure the capital with the intention of strengthening social and urban integration. The similarities and discrepancies surrounding the shifting architectural and urban dynamics between the 1941 and 1963 Plans will be key to this study.

 
Kotob, Jenine MIT
SMArchS


2013

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.

 
Lamprakos, Michele MIT
PhD


2006

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.
 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.
 
Lenssen, Anneka MIT
SMArchS

2014
The Shape of the Support: Painting and Politics in Syria's Twentieth Century
This dissertation offers an intellectual history of painting in Syria in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s that accounts for new regimes of political representation, from French Mandate rule to the mass mobilizations of youth-oriented ideological parties to Cold War cultural diplomacy. After an extended introduction that lays out the conditions for the emergence of modem art in Syria, each subsequent chapter situates an artist or artists in a specific institutional setting that provided new terms for critically evaluating the stakes of painting against new ideas about art and its social activation. Chapter Two reads the work of Adham Ismail (1920-1963) against the Baath political movement of the 1940s, as he mobilized an aesthetic theory of the arabesque to produce radical paintings meant to inculcate Arab modes of cognition supporting a Arab polity. Chapter Three chronicles the Syrian artists who traveled abroad to the Italian art academy system in the early 1950s, detailing the patronage networks that produced "modern Arab art" as an identity category while promoting a conception of Mediterranean aesthetics as a shared milieu of free exchange. Chapter Four analyzes Fateh al-Moudarres's (1922-1999) transgressive critique of heritage ideals in Syria, an interrogation of regional identity that brought surrealist automatic painting methods into coordination with the modernist cultural project of Shi'r (Poetry) magazine in Beirut. The final chapter explores the debate about painterly abstraction that was centered around the College of Fine Arts at the University of Damascus in the 1960s and conducted against the waxing and waning of enthusiasm for different tenets of artistic responsibility. Taken together, these case studies of Syrian painting practices and their politics not only shed light on a little-understood formation within the expanded field of modernist practices, but also support a historiographical investigation into the writing of history from the periphery of centralizing market activity. Here, the political party, foreign fellowship, literary magazine, and national university are recognized as generative institutional supports, such that the European bourgeois norms of gallery, museum, and free press are not presumed as a necessary condition for modem painting.
Anneka Lenssen is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Beautiful Agitation: Modern Painting and Politics in Syria (UC Press, 2020) and co-editor with Nada Shabout and Sarah Rogers of Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents (Museum of Modern Art, 2018). She has also been awarded a 2022 fellowship from the Humanities Research Institute of NYU Abu Dhabi for research on a next book, on experimental art pedagogy in the postcolonial art worlds of the Eastern Mediterranean countries.
 
Liuni, Francesca MIT
SMArchS


2016

Experiencing Mathematical Proves: Syntax of an Astrolabe
The goal of thesis is discussing the way historical scientific instruments are exhibited in Art or Science Museums. The astrolabe and the related mathematical theories, as developed in the Arabic and Persian tradition between X-XI Century, are taken as emblematic case for this analysis. The proposed solution is the design of museum spaces which translate the language of this instruments through the syntax of the space itself. The debate has its premise in Benjamin’ concept of historical experience which is essential not only for clarifying our approach to the discipline of History of Science but it is also a pivotal point for addressing the question of how we can understand these objects. A historical scientific instrument is the by-product of the scientific knowledge of a specific time and place.
It is a synthesis, a representation which concentrate the plurality/multiplicity of knowledge in the materiality of one object, it is the picture of Benjamin’s Concept of History. The knowledge the astrolabe embeds is the scientific knowledge of the Arabic and Persian mathematicians of X-XI century and its construction is a tangible proof of the exactness of mathematical theorems it relies on. Hence, the language of this object has to be the language of mathematics. Its terms and primitives compose the grammar of the axiomatic method (derived from Euclid) and the proof is the syntax of this linguistic system. The design proposes a three-dimensional version of mathematical proofs of some of the theorems used for the construction and functioning of the astrolabe. It is an attempt of bringing the proof from the two-dimension of the paper to the three-dimension of the visitor in order to provide him an experience that is the spatial experience of a proof brought in his three-dimension. The Architecture visualizes the process of reasoning of the mathematicians by creating a space that looks like a sketch. The sketch is tool we use for visualizing our process of reasoning, hence the design has to follow the “rules” of sketching and materialize its lines.

 
Maamari, Daniella Samira MIT
SMArchS

2020

Reviving Cosmopolitan Beirut : A Case Study of Three Modernist Art Spaces
Prior to the Lebanese Civil War, Beirut boasted a vibrant art scene. The war took its toll on the city's infrastructure, leading to the relocation and shutdown of the existing galleries and art institutions. Since the war, art in Beirut is being revived along different tracks, in tandem with its complex geopolitical identity. My thesis argues that artists, gallerists, and architects collaboratively assert a specific message and image of Lebanon, by creating a nostalgia appealing to certain moments in Beirut's past (or the prospective future). I track the architecture of the different art galleries and institutions and supplement it with the kind of art they exhibit, to create preliminary categories, each vying for its own identity of Lebanon. In the thesis, I choose the modernist architecture category as the emblematic postcard image of prewar Beirut, featuring the modernist architecture that endured the war and came to represent Beirut's cultural Renaissance.
I chose to focus primarily on the following three representative examples of modernist art spaces in Ras Beirut: Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Saleh Barakat Gallery, and Dar El Nimer. The self-funded art spaces are located in Ras Beirut, an area ingrained in the Lebanese national memory as the site of mutual coexistence between Christians and Muslims. I contextualize the physical qualities of each gallery within the concurrent local and regional sociopolitical conditions to examine the role they may be playing or the political agenda they may be pushing. I analyze the image projected by the institution through the archival material, texts, catalogues, interviews with the directors of the spaces, the curators, and the architects who renovated/designed them, as well as their general reception by the public through newspaper clippings and occasional art reviews.
With their focus on Lebanese and Arab artists, a sentimentality towards the area's history, and a disdain with the city's postwar development, these galleries mobilize modernist buildings to resurrect the cosmopolitan Beirut, the modernist cultural hub of the Arab left intellectuals in the 1960's and early 1970's.

 
Mahmood, Saman MIT
SMArchS


1999
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. 

MIT
SMArchS

2014

Enabling and inhibiting urban development : a case study of Lahore Improvement Trust as a late colonial institution
This thesis examines the Lahore Improvement Trust in relation to the urban development of the city of Lahore in mid-twentieth century. LIT was responsible for most major urban development in the city from 1936 up until 1975, when it metamorphosed into the Lahore Development Authority. However, its impact on Lahore's urban history is surprisingly under-recognized, and this may be due to the relative failure of the body itself in delivering a large part of its mandate, despite being responsible for major morphological changes in the city. The formation of LIT, like other Improvement Trusts in India, was based on a real need for planned urban development of a rapidly expanding city. This thesis argues that the structure of such a body was, however, based on conceptual frameworks that were introduced in India by numerous different British institutions, with the aim of either 'testing out' or for furthering a particular colonial agenda. These inherent structural beliefs were carried through numerous cycles of 'reform' before being applied onto the Improvement Trust network which, this study argues, followed a strict path dependent paradigm in a late colonial institution such as LIT. Using the annual reports of LIT, I show that this was evident in the modus operandi of the body, to the point that despite being able to implement individual projects that can be considered successful to a certain extent, it failed to develop or implement a coherent urban vision. Projects under LIT were fragmented instances in the larger urban morphology of the city, which failed to respond to the more pressing problems in the city. Its failure to register itself as a viable body was further exacerbated by the body's incapability to deal with issues such as housing shortage in the city. This was particularly evident in the face of a major shock as Partition in 1947. A huge influx of migrants from East Punjab and riots within the city that caused major infrastructural damage within the city meant that the deficit of the body carried itself exponentially beyond the event of Partition in 1947. That the Trust exhibited institutional inertia well beyond the Partition in its mode of operating explains the weak progress it made beyond that event, and its eventual dissolution into Lahore Development Authority in 1975. Hence, while most projects implemented by the Trust were moderately successful, the lack of a holistic urban plan, a result of both structural (internal) and situational (external) problems, was where LIT failed to deliver causing it to leave an ineffectual mark on Lahore's urban history.

 

Mejel, Jalal Bezee

MIT
SMArchS

1990

"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.

-Siti Studio Architects: Los Angeles, CA. 1986-8, then 1990-91.Chairman of Nuft International Trade Co. ( Oil & Gas) 1998- Now. (www.nuftco.com).
-Chairman of Albaraka Investment and Trade Co.: Albaraka Mall; Retail and fashion (www.albarakamall.com). 1992 -  now.
-Chairman of Alkhaleej NDT engineering, Iraq, Since 2012. Oil field services. (www.khaleehndt.com).
-Chairman of IWAN Architectural and design services. Iraq, since 2011. (www.iwaniq.com).
-President of Rawafid  Al-Iraq political party, 2012 - now: Provincial government seat and National Parliament seat.
-Deputy Chairman of Iraqi Business Council, Amman, Jordan, since 2006. (www.ibcjordan.org).
-Active in promoting political reform in Iraq, with focus on the return of refugees and rebuilding their lives and their homes. Leading a team to develop master plan to rebuild Al-Anbar province in terms of Social, economic, environmental and infrastructure.

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
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
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.

 

MIT
SMArchS

1995

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
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
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.

MIT
SMArchS

1994

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
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.

 

MIT
SMArchS

2001

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
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.

 

Nisar, Muhammad Hasan MIT
SMArchS


2022
An Experiment in Piety: The Three Domed Suhrawardy Tombs at Uchch Sharif

Although reduced to a small city today, the intact historic urban fabric of Uch in present day Pakistan still recalls its spiritual and economic hey-day in the medieval period: a stronghold of the Suhrawardy Sufi order, a central site on trade routes linking India to Central Asia and Iran, and a popular refuge for the Sufis, saints, princes, artisans, and poets either escaping the onslaught of the Mongols in Central Asia during 13th century or seeking new patronage.
This thesis will look at the three 14th-15th century monumental tombs of Baha al-Halim, Bibi Jawindi, and Ustaad Nuriya at Uchch. Though enigmatic in their own right, these three monuments have not been the subject of any dedicated study and generally been ignored in scholarship. This thesis will enlighten the Suhrawardy order’s attempt to entrench themselves at Uchch and establish it as the new capital of Suhrawardy learning and pilgrimage through a program of monumentality. I will demonstrate that this attempted acculturation or entrenchment can be read in the architecture of these three tombs and make corollary connections to the switch in the religious attitudes of the leadership from orthodoxy to asceticism to explain the idiosyncrasies in this building program.
Therefore, this acculturation can be noted both in religious aspects and in architecture of these tombs signaling the overall attempt to herald Uchch as the new center of gravity for Suhrawardy learning. Though formally this corpus operates within the Central Asian traditions of Islamic mausolea, drawing inspiration from Seljuq and Samanid monuments, this research will demonstrate that it is localized through its materiality, structural differences, and program of ornamentation which anchors it in the traditions of commemorative architecture of the Indus Valley.

 

Orbay, Iffet

MIT
HTC PhD

2001

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
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.

http://oza-architects.com/

MIT
SMArchS

1994

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
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.

 

MIT
SMArchS

1990

"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

1994

MIT
HTC PhD

2002

 

 

 

 

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
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
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
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
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
This thesis addresses the urban redevelopment of Essaouira, Morocco as it relates to its economy, urban tissue and cultural identity. As architects we herald the importance of context; a loaded term which describes an environment, built and natural, habits of people and local traditions, all attributes which play a vital role in the development of a design strategy. Interestingly when context becomes culturally unfamiliar architects struggle to characterize the attributes which define that specific context. In selecting Essaouira one of my goals is to develop a methodology towards understanding a context. This thesis attempts to reveal the past, present and future attributes which define Essaouira after which provide a synthesis for the redevelopment of Essaouira through the introduction of a university. The thesis commences with an analytical study of Essaouira, including historical development, development policy, migration patterns, building typologies, land use, pedestrian and vehicular movement and present conditions. It is safe to say that in my two visits to Essaouira I have walked down every street both in the old and new sections of the city and have begun to establish an intuitive sense of the city. While the analytic and synthetic aspects may appear quite independent from one another, in fact the thesis developed through a meandering back and forth between the two, providing questions, then answers and questions once more.

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.

MIT
SMArchS

2000

Rediscoverning Place: Enhancing the built heritage of Singapore
The thesis looks at Conservation in Singapore: how it started, what were its initial goals, how these changed over years, and the impacts of the same. These questions are dealt with by studying the three conservation districts of Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Clam, which were the original settlements for the three main populations namely, the Chinese, Indian and Malay respectively. The one thing common to all these different populations is the history of Singapore and the built fabric which represent this history. The three areas represent the unique cultures, lifestyles and traditions of the different populations that give these areas the character they possessed until conservation came about. The built fabric has been saved, but does it represent the true essence of Place? The three districts have undergone rapid changes in the last two decades and the process is questionable. It has resulted in sociocultural and economic imbalances largely due to a strong hand by the State. The thesis along with these issues, also addresses the question of whether the conservation effort is catering to the right people. Finally, based on the analysis of these impacts, current guidelines and policies, the thesis proposes strategies for making these conservation districts culturally more significant & at the same time economically feasible.

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, Prassana

 

 

MIT
SMArchS

2012

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.

MIT DUSP PhD Candidate

MIT
SMArchS

1993

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
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.

 

MIT
HTC PhD

2000

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 historical Bukhara : professional architectural vision of the national heritage in late Soviet Uzbekistan (1965 - 1991)
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
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
Doha, the capital city of Qatar, has become a metropolis of disconnected inward-facing megaprojects with no regard to the remaining fabric of the city. This can be owed to the relatively short urbanization period that the country has undergone, with its heavy reliance on international firms. The consequence is a city that has lost much of its historic core and vernacular architecture, and is defined by the large development projects that dot the capital. These mega-projects are treated as self-enclosed cities within the larger context of Doha. They are internally facing, turning their back to the city as a whole. The individual developments may be deemed successful, however not connecting to and addressing the larger fabric of the city negatively impacts Doha’s urban environment. While proper design can address the disruptive nature of towers and mega-projects in the city fabric, the issue needs to be acknowledged at a larger scale. Unless there are regulations in place that enforce desired urban design qualities, the city as a whole will fall victim to the whims ofeach individual designer, which is the case in West Bay, the Central Business District of Doha. This project aims to demonstrate the insufficient built environment within the West Bay site, and note how the lack of regulations have created forms that turn their back to the city, producing an uninviting urban fabric with no regard to the human dimension. The realities of the planning process in Qatar are examined, along with comparative cases and literature on urban design, in order to propose recommendations for an alternative to the urbanism that currently exists.

 

MIT
SMArchS

1987

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.

http://www.just.edu.jo/eportfolio/Pages/Default.aspx?email=ymsakr

Sartawi, Mais

 

MIT
SMArchS

2010

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
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
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
SMArch

1987

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

MIT
SMArchS

1986

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.

 

MIT
SMArchS

2003

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.

Sezer, Yavuz MIT
HTC PhD

2016

The Architecture of Bibliophilia: Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Libraries
Libraries were a new building type of Ottoman architecture by the beginning of the eighteenth century. However, they quickly gained a considerable place among the endowments of Ottoman elites and remained one of the most carefully approached architectural questions throughout the century. More than twenty purpose-designed libraries were built in Istanbul until the early nineteenth century. This dissertation investigates the social and cultural conditions that paved the way for this library movement, the dynamics that affected the variety of architectural formulas developed for these buildings, and the receptions of the trend in the elite circles. The Ottomans designed some of the libraries with allusions to the image of mosques and to that of the pilgrimage shrine, and thus created symbols of the highly venerable status they gave to the effort of learning, especially to religious studies. In several library buildings, they made identifiable quotations from other monuments. This variety in library architecture is interpreted here as a reflection of the rise of knowledge of architectural past as a subject of gentlemen's curiosity, akin to interests in history, geography and literature. The latter genres had remarkably large places in library collections compared to the public collections of earlier centuries that lacked their own buildings. The broad demand for the accessibility of books in a wide range of fields certainly formed a pillar of the library movement, but the rivalry emerged between the dignitaries to donate rich libraries as urban landmarks demonstrates the power of this investment as a social asset and a political gesture in the eighteenth century. These were predominantly manuscript libraries; manual reproduction of books and accessibility of rare items were quite important in this library regime.

Yavuz Sezer was born in Istanbul in 1979. He graduated from the History Department of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul in 2002. He received his MA from the same department with a thesis on the perceptions of traditional residential architecture as a category of historic heritage in the early twentieth century in 2005. He began his PhD study at MIT-AKPIA in 2008. He is currently writing his dissertation entitled “Architecture of Bibliophilia: Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Libraries” with the supervision of Nasser Rabbat.
He presented a version of one of his chapters with the title “Pilgrimage to the Library: The BaytulMamur Analogy in Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Libraries” in the workshop “Ottoman Manuscript Cultures” held at Deutsche Orient Institut in Istanbul in May 2014, and a section of another chapter with the title “Fatih I. Mahmut Kütüphanesi” (The Mahmut I Library at Fatih) in the conference “I. Mahmut ve Dönemi” (Mahmut I and His Period) organized at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul in September 2014.

Shaikley,Layla Karim

MIT
SMArchS

2013

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
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.

 

MIT
SMArchS

1991

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 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
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.

Soltan, Meriam

MIT
SMArchS

2022

Motivated Fictionality: Worldbuilding and The Thousand and One Nights

This thesis posits Edward Lane’s 19th century illustrated and annotated edition of The Thousand and One Nights as key to having made legible the telling and picturing of the tales as a worldbuilding practice. To do so, it frames Lane’s translation—one of the earliest and the most profusely illustrated Nights of that period—as a carrier of disparate social, political, and cultural histories by investigating the contemporaneous trends in Victorian-era knowledge production that informed the realization of the edition. Characterized by a commitment to ethnographic realism, Lane’s copious explanatory notes as well as the 574 woodcut prints designed by British illustrator William Harvey for the text are understood as having together built into the tales colonial-era research and representation meant to offer an authentic vision of the Orient for unfamiliar readers. Explorations of how and why that representation of the Orient through the Nights could become, for many, the Orient itself are in turn channeled to propose Lane’s Nights as both a product and producer of its time. By foregrounding this reciprocity, one that recognizes instances wherein our world has been shaped with and through the Nights in tandem, this thesis invites an understanding of the stories not as a finite collection, but as a living fiction consistently animated by exchanges between the real and the imaginary.

 

Srivastava, Manish

MIT
SMArchS

1996

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
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
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.

http://www.thompsondesigngroup.com/

Takesh, Suheyla MIT
SMArch

2018

Iconographies of Pain in Mahmoud Sabri’s Work
Out of Iraq’s most noteworthy modernist artists, Mahmoud Sabri was perhaps the most attuned to human suffering. Subjects of political martyrdom, social injustice, and the plight of the dispossessed permeate his work throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The period of Iraq’s rapid modernization and chaotic political transition from a monarchical regime to a republic in 1958, followed by a Ba’ath military coup in 1963, left the artist with no shortage of tragic events to reflect upon and respond to in his work. His Communist beliefs and a sensitivity to social and economic inequality guided his artistic vision, presenting the world through a lens of human pain caused by political repression.
This thesis argues that Sabri’s practice in the 1950s and 1960s combined an abhorrence of discrimination with a constant desire to reach the people, especially the working-class, through his art. In light of this, his engagement with Iraqi heritage was not conceived around a formalist or a historicized line of inquiry, but around an exploration of the deep roots of a national identity through popular practices and vernacular customs. As an active contributor to modernist experiments in Baghdad’s artistic milieu, Sabri drew from local traditions associated with the notion of martyrdom in the 1950s, which was bolstered by his turning to international iconographies of pain and oppression in the 1960s, to create realist images that condemned injustice exercised by the country’s ruling elite. A paradoxical figure in many ways, Sabri combined in his work an interest in the local and the universal, the religious and the secular, in Iraq’s past and its political present. Being both a man of the people and a member of the intelligentsia, an Iraqi and a long-time exile, an outspoken supporter of realism and a later convert to abstractionism, Sabri was no stranger to contradiction and internal conflict. What remained consistent in his early practice, however, was a political drive and a heightened sensitivity to the plight of the oppressed, which was layered with a belief that an answer to the predicaments of the disadvantaged could lie in Communism.

 

Tohme, Lara

MIT
HTC PhD

2005

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.

Tolgat, Sera MIT
SMArch

2018

Planning for Scarcity in Jordan Valley: In Defense of Environmental Flows in Climates of Aridity
Scarcity is relative, as water resources can be mismanaged, shared inequitably and allocated asymmetrically. Half a billion people live under conditions of severe water scarcity in many arid and semi-arid regions, marked by an increasing demand for water and unprecedented droughts.[1] The Jordan River basin, a peri-urban regional corridor, is in a particularly water-stressed region with worldwide lows in per capita water availability that is projected to decrease further by 20 percent by 2050.[2]Both the valley’s communities, especially smallholders, and fragile habitats of the watershed will be hard hit by the impact of a drying climate. The collapse of Jordan River, which has seen its flow reduced to a small fragment, and decline of the Dead Sea down-stream are flagged as ecological disasters. However, beyond being merely a physical constraint or a supply issue, the problem of scarcity is also shaped by the politics of allocation.
Through layers of geospatial data, from archival maps, surveys and remote sensing data, I show how the history of land resettlement, water allocation and infrastructural development can complicate restoration efforts today. The Regional NGO Master Plan, drafted by experts from Israel, Jordan and Palestine, makes the case for the need to rehabilitate Jordan River by allocating 400 MCM, a third of pre-industrial levels, as the required inflow for restoration. I argue that restoring the river goes beyond direct flows and should be defined to include critical ecosystems that affect the hydrological cycle of the entire basin, including buffer systems and conservation reserves that support local communities.
In the absence of fair reallocation mechanisms and regional design at the scale of the watershed, a roadmap to establishing common environmental flows is infeasi-ble. Rather than offering a utopian vision for the rehabilitation of Jordan River, as an addendum to the masterplan, I develop six geospatial propositions in defense of establishing environmental flows in contexts of scarcity.
[1] Miletto, M. et al., “Migration and its inter-dependencies with water scarcity, gender and youth employment” UNESCO World Water Assessment Program (2017).
[2] Kool, Jeroen. 2016. Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley: Final Report of the Regional NGO Master Plan.

 

Turker, Deniz

MIT
SMArchS

2007

 

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
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
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
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

 

MIT
HTC PhD

2002

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.

http://carnegie-mec.org/experts/?fa=926

Yazar, Hatice

MIT
SMArchS

1991

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.

MIT
SMArchS

2000

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
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.

https://faculty.utah.edu/u0850182-Shundana_Yusaf/teaching/index.hml