Lectures, Conferences & Events

13 June 2024


Jateen Lad awarded RIBA International Award for Excellence 2024

Jateen Lad has been awarded a prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects International Award for Excellence 2024 for his Sharanam Centre for Rural Development in south India.

This award is considered one of architecture’s highest global accolades, celebrating buildings from around the world that demonstrate visionary thinking, design excellence and social impact.

The judges praised the project’s “exceptional beauty, functionality and tranquillity” and consider it “a world class exemplar for the future of low cost, innovative and green community buildings.”

Images available at the following links: www.jateenlad.com

Sharanam Centre for Rural Development (architecture.com)


April 29th 6pm classroom 3-133 and live stream link here:


Robberto Fabbri. “Nomadic Narratives. Architectural Transplants”

Roberto Fabbri is an architect and associate professor at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi. His research interest focuses on urban development, architecture, and heritage in Gulf cities. As a United Nations Development Programme consultant, he contributed to heritage rehabilitation projects in Kuwait and is currently a member of the Modern Heritage Technical Committee in the UAE. He co-authored the double volume “Modern Architecture Kuwait 1949-89” (2016 and 2017), “Urban Modernity in the Contemporary Gulf” (2021), and “Impatient Cities of the Gulf” (2022). In 2024, Roberto is the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture Fellow at MIT.


The talk explores Abu Dhabi's ongoing urban transformation, focusing on Saadiyat Island’s cultural plans and the country's strategies for a post-oil economy. In the early 2000s, Saadiyat offered an investment opportunity for upscale residential land and a tourist attraction anchored by renowned museum architecture. Later, the project evolved beyond shaping a new urban fabric, now defining the city's brandscape and contributing to the national narrative. While retracing the trajectories of recent architectures on the island, the talk explores the notion of context, challenging the idea of a tabula rasa often associated with Gulf cities. Instead, it studies preexisting conditions and narratives and how architects, clients, and developers choose to embrace or deliberately ignore them.


AIA Architect article featuring Professor Nasser Rabbat, and 2 other MIT architecture alumni; Raya Ani, and Tarek Rakha

Nine Arab American architects you should know



April 12, 3pm -6pm in Stella (7-338) (refreshments will be served) (recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGBlgcBAEl0&t=1776s )

Critical Encounters: Thinking Through Architecture in the Arab World

Celebrating the launch of ‘Critical Encounters: Nasser Rabbat,’ the second volume of the Dongola Architecture Series published out of Beirut, please join us for a conversation about the importance of homegrown architecture publishing with Sarah Chalabi, co-founder of Dongola publishing house and Raafat Majzoub, editor-in-chief of the series. 

Dongola Architecture Series (DAS) is a platform to publish multi-layered readings of conversations with Arab architects and architectural thinkers working across the region’s contemporary landscapes. Dongola’s inquiry of architecture is rooted in the discipline’s lack of discipline, in the way it generatively leaks into other fields as a true intersection of thought and practice. Architecture allows us to speak to the nature of our times, and in this case, the pertinence of our contemporary cultural production in expanding our world beyond current pessimism about the future.

The Dongola team will be joined by Prof. Rabbat. The discussion will be moderated by Prof. Azra Aksamija.  The team members will share their process behind the first three volumes of the series (the first on Ammar Khammash, the second on Nasser Rabbat, and the planned third on Bernard Khoury).   They will share their vision for its growth and impact on knowledge production and architecture education for the Arab region. Prof. Rabbat will expand on the issue of the production of architectural knowledge, especially outside the West, historically and today.


March 11th  6pm classroom 3-133 and live stream link here: https://mit.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=698629ed-f298-4019-b549-b11e0162a229

Yuka Kadoi. “Building Mosques in the Eastern Periphery of the Muslin World, ca. 1930s”. 

Yuka Kadoi (PhD in History of Art, Edinburgh) is an art historian and art historiographer, currently holding an Elise Richter position and directing an FWF (Austrian Science Fund)-sponsored research project, Persica Centropa: Cosmopolitan Artefacts and Artifices in the Age of Crises (1900-1950), at the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies, Department of Art History, University of Vienna. A native of Tokyo, she acquired a dual background of East Asian Studies (i.e. Japanese Oriental studies) at Kyoto and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (i.e. British Oriental studies) at Edinburgh, besides her main expertise in the art, architecture and material culture of pre-modern Eurasia. Her research interests lie in the mobility of artefacts, history of collecting and critical museology. She is the author or editor/co-editor of seven books and three special issues of peer-reviewed journals, including her award-winning Islamic Chinoiserie: The Art of Mongol Iran (EUP, 2009/2018), as well as the author of more than sixty articles in scholarly journals and edited volumes. She is currently finalising the manuscript of her second monograph, The History and Historiography of Persian Art, 1900-1935 (under contract with EUP). She has held fellowships and visiting professorships from the Warburg Institute (London), IASH (Edinburgh), CASVA (Washington, DC), LAU (Beirut), Museum of Ethnology (Osaka) and CEU-IAS (Budapest), while having curated several exhibitions in the past (Chicago [2010], Edinburgh [2014] and Hong Kong [2018]). 


How could a mosque be designed and built in a place where there was no pe-existing tradition of Islamic architecture, such as Japan? This talk explores the Far Eastern frontier of Islamic architecture by examining two distinctive case studies of Japan's modern mosques – Tokyo Mosque (Tokyo Camii; 1938) and Kobe Mosque (Kobe Grand Mosque; also known as Kobe Muslim Mosque; 1935). Stylistically different, these buildings reveal the arrival of refugees and expatriates from Muslim-majority countries, especially Tatars, as well as the establishment of their community base in a rapidly modernized and cosmopolitanized insular country. Moreover, they demonstrate the involvement of architects and religious activists from yet another frontier of the Islamic world – namely, Tsarist Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Resembling Tatar mosques in Kazan and Astrakhan on one hand and generally vernacular religious structures typical of East Europe on the other hand, the stylistic uniqueness of Islamic architecture in Japan was due to its geographical isolation, surrounded by the sea borders among several distinctive cultures across the Pacific Ocean. For the Tokyo and Kobe mosques it is difficult, if not entirely impossible, to associate themselves with any unified form that can be typically viewed as “Islamic” according to the conventional canon of the Islamic architectural style that predominantly evolved in the Middle East and North Africa. Yet Japanese responses to the production, exchange and consumption of Islam offer unique windows on Pacific Ocean connectivity and the region’s hitherto unexplored process of articulation with the wider world. It also provides an invaluable opportunity to broaden our understanding of the role of frontier culture in the spread of pan-Turkic religio-cultural sentiments across Eurasia in modern times.


February 29th 6pm Long Lounge (7-429)

Léopold Lambert -Editing The Funambulistis

Léopold Lambert is a Paris-based trained architect. He is the editor-in-chief of The Funambulist, a print and online magazine dedicated to the politics of space and bodies. He is the author of four books analyzing architecture's complicity with settler colonialism and structural racism, in particular in Palestine, Algeria, Kanaky, and France's banlieues. The two most recent of these books are Bulldozer Politics: The Palestinian Ruin as an Israeli Project (fr, B2, 2016) and States of Emergency: A Spatial History of the French Colonial Continuum (fr, PMN, 2021; eng, Columbia Books on architecture and the city, forthcoming 2024). His next book project investigates the key and the spoon as two objects mobilizing architecture's political violence and the escape from it.

The Funambulist started in 2010 as a blog, featuring Léopold Lambert's articles about the many forms through which architecture is materializing regimes of political oppression on bodies; a conversation that seemed underaddressed back then. In 2013, it was augmented with a podcast whose ambition was to exfiltrate knowledge produced within universities.


Marking a new editorial endeavor, the first issue of The Funambulist magazine was published in August 2015. Since then, the magazine has been published six times a year, each time mobilizing a particular approach to the spaces of the anti-colonial, anti-racist, queer, and feminist struggles (among others), and a commitment to building internationalist solidarities. The magazine currently counts 51 issues, 650 contributors, and close to 4,000 subscribers across geographical scales.

In November 2023, The Funambulist initiated a new project consisting of translating the magazine in several languages, thereby sharing its resources with plurilingual imaginaries. Starting issue 50, the magazine exists in a francophone version, and by the end of 2024, a hispanophone version should emerge as well.


February 22nd 8am EST  @IAP House- zoom link https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84092748262?pwd=ztT8zoolPLQLDbFZ7WD28eHGg9FZLW.1  Zoom Meeting  Meeting ID: 840 9274 8262 Passcode: 0eBAUt

Professor Nasser Rabbat - The Trajectory of Islamic Architectural History

Karachi Chapter - Institute of Architects Pakistan: Topic: *Global Learning Series: Nasser Rabbat  IAP-Karachi Chapter* Islamabad, Karachi, Tashkent.




December 8th   12pm Long Lounge (7-429) 

Mayssa Jallad is a Beirut-based bilingual singer-songwriter, architectural researcher and teacher. Her first solo album “Marjaa: The Battle of the Hotels”, explores the histories of urban battles that occurred during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), in collaboration with Beirut's music and art scene today. The album is based on the thesis she wrote during her Masters in Historic preservation at Columbia University's GSAPP. Mayssa will be performing excerpts of "Marjaa" as well as taking questions from the audience. Food will be served. https://rupturedthelabel.bandcamp.com/album/marjaa-the-battle-of-the-hotels.


December 4th at 6pm in classroom 3-133 and live stream here https://mit.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2160e2cc-c221-4989-a15f-b0c7010d6ef9

Balayet Hossain: A lost city image of the ancient city of old Dhaka that integrates Islamic urbanism with water.

Dr. G M A Balayet Hossain is an accomplished Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at AUST, Dhaka. Serving as a coordinator of the Postgraduate organizing committee, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the academic landscape at his institution. He is a fellow member of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners and a member of the Institute of Architects Bangladesh. 

Dr. Hossain's teaching portfolio encompasses Climate and Architecture, Housing, Human Settlement, and Development Issues courses. He also guides Design Studios and Field Studies, offering students valuable hands-on experience. His dedication extends to supervising theses in architectural and urban areas. 

His academic journey has been marked by prestigious awards and accolades. Notably, he was honored with a 'Merit with Title' Research Doctorate and the Italian Ministry of Education Scholarship for his PhD in 2015. Furthermore, his architectural prowess was recognized with the Dean's Honor Award in 2005, and he received a Special Prize at the 'Space and Responses' exhibition, demonstrating his outstanding talent. 

Dr. Hossain's research focuses on investigating and revealing the spatial position of water, explicitly the Transformation of Urban Spaces and Water, with a publication record in refereed journals. He conducted the Banvashi research project, responding to a flood-responsive hut design to address climate change in Bangladesh's low-lying areas. 

A dedicated member of the academic community, Dr. Hossain actively participates in conferences and workshops, sharing his expertise and insights in water, architecture, and urban studies. His research, which focuses on water-resilient cities for the future, is inspired by his passion for water in tradition, which combines sustainability, functionality, and spirituality. 


In the ancient city of Dhaka, a compelling manifestation of Islamic urbanism entwined with water is found in the Buriganga Riverfront—a pivotal facet of the city's historical growth. This bustling riverfront was a dynamic center of trade and activity, with its Islamic architectural marvels, including mosques, mausoleums, minarets, forts, bridges, and caravanserais, thoughtfully oriented toward the river, fostering a sense of openness and connectivity with the surrounding environment. The ancient fort of Mughal Dhaka, notable for its ingenious water management and conservation systems, secured a consistent water supply, even during drought. This integration of water features and edifices reflects the core principles of Islamic urbanism, which prioritize the sustainable and functional development of urban environments. Though the Mughal-era structures of ancient Dhaka have dwindled with time, their legacy persists, reminding us of the region's rich cultural heritage. The past reliance on water in Dhaka has not integrated the city's modern growth in terms of sustainability, functionality, cultural variety, and spiritual fulfillment. The research aims to reveal spatial position of water insights from archaic Dhaka and recommending water centric urban development for future Dhaka by investigating how the past remains to represent the precepts of Islamic.


December 1st at 6:30pm at Lasell University, Winslow Academic Ctr. Rosen AUD  1844 Commonwealth Ave, Auburndale, MA 02466.

Professor Nasser Rabbat, Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, MIT & the Founder of the Center for Arabic Culture talks about his life as part of the CAC Human Library series.

Nasser Rabbat is Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT.  He was on sabbatical in the academic year 2022-23 and received two prestigious fellowships. The first was the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Visiting Professorship at the I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, in Florence, Italy in the Fall of 2022.  The second was a Getty Senior Scholar fellowship at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles from January to June 2023.  His latest book, Writing Egypt: Al-Maqrizi and His Historical Project came out from Edinburgh University Press in December 2022.  During his sabbatical, he completed an Arabic version of his book on al-Maqrizi, which will be published in 2024, and wrote several chapters of his history of Mamluk Cairo.  He also lectured at the University of Rochester, NY; New York University in Abu Dhabi, UAE; the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence; Loyola Marymount University, LA; UC Santa Barbara, CA; as well as the I Tatti and the Getty Center. 


November 28th 5pm at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University Rm 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge.

Professor Nasser Rabbat discusses The Khitat of al-Maqrizi: Narrating the History on the Tempo of ‘Kharab’  


November 13, 2023 - 6pm 

 in classroom 3-133.  Lecture recording here: https://mit.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=fea3d8a4-bc8e-4f9a-ba6d-b0ae0137f499

 Peter Christensen: Dignity Matters

Peter Christensen is the Arthur Satz Professor of the Humanities and the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Director of the Humanities Center at the University of Rochester. He is the author of Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure (Yale University Press, 2017), Precious Metal: German Steel, Modernity and Ecology (Penn State Press, 2022) and Prior Art: Patents and the Nature of Invention in Architecture (forthcoming from MIT Press, 2024). He has received fellowships from the John Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, The Institute for Advanced Study, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Commission, the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the Forum Transregionale Studien, among others. His interests lie in Europe’s entanglements with the world in the 19th and 20th centuries, architecture as a project of industry and infrastructure, and critical digital humanities. 


What does dignity look like? Before the Modern period, dignity—the state of being worthy of honour and respect—was largely conceived as a quality that was either hereditary or earned. Modern values transformed this and put forth the tenet that all human life—irrespective of class—deserves dignity. Today, when one conjures in their mind’s eye an image of what this universal, modern idea of dignity looks like they might conjure up an image of a person in a space that meets all of their basic needs. The space might hint at a life of sufficiency, peace and contentment: walls and a roof, natural light and fresh air, doors and windows for connecting with and retreating from the world. In all likelihood, this image includes little that is over the top, such as fancy cars or endless space, because our modern notion of dignity excludes excess. To be sure, dignity is not manifested by creature comforts alone; it is also born out in the right to work, the right to have a family, and the right to have access to decent healthcare and education, along with the ability to live in peace and experience happiness and all of the other emotions that give life meaning. Unlike a standard of living or wealth, however, dignity does not grow ad infinitum. Rather, it exists in the proverbial “sweet spot” between poverty and excess, and the material manifestation of space and the quality of life connoted by dignity most readily communicate the degree to which an individual lives with dignity. In sum, although dignity is multivalent and culturally inscribed, it is also a universal concept that is inherently tethered to our built environment. Dignity is a matter of design and a matter of living.

This talk will look at a series of architectural projects tethered to a rhetoric of dignity in the modern period, assessing the ways in which history informs our understanding of dignity as a threshold condition for architecture. These projects include Worpswede in Lower Saxony, New Gourna in Upper Egypt, and the projects of Rural Studio in Hale County, Alabama. Examining both the successes and failures of these projects, this talk will coalesce in a reflection on the role of dignity in the 21st century, particularly as a conundrum in an era of climate crisis where the consumption of resources must abate at the same time that much of the developing world seeks to achieve the dignity threshold.



Sama Alshaibi, Sadik Alfraji, and Huma Gupta

October 26, 2023 - 6:00pm 

Part of the MIT Fall 2023 Architecture Lecture Series. In collaboration with the Aga Khan Program and the Art, Culture, and Technology program. 

This lecture will be held in person in Long Lounge, 7-429. Lectures are free and open to the public. Registration is required to attend in-person. Register here or watch the webcast on Youtube.

From the Great Flood to the Great Migration

Internationally renowned Iraqi artists Sama Alshaibi (b. 1973, Iraq) and Sadik Kwaish Alfraji (b. 1960, Iraq) will be in conversation with Dr. Huma Gupta on Thursday, October 26th at 6pm in the Long Lounge to discuss their respective artistic practices as they relate to the deep histories and projected futures of environmental change, population displacement, and climate crises across Iraq. Today, Iraq is the fifth most vulnerable country to extreme temperatures, water scarcity, and food shortages. Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry recently projected that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers will run dry making Iraq "a land without rivers" by 2040 due to the confluence of upstream dams, resource mismanagement, and effects of climate change. This panel discussion deals with the transhistorical themes raised by the exhibition Iraq: Beyond the Two Rivers (Currently on view in Keller Gallery until Nov 3). Panelists discuss these themes through Alshaibi's Iihya’ (Revival, 2023) video art piece and Alfraji's Those House Beyond the Army Canal (2022) animation in conversation with Dr. Gupta's long-term research on Iraq and book project The Architecture of Dispossession.  
Iraq: Beyond the Two Rivers engages with the deeper histories of al-Iraq – a place known by many names such as Sumer, Mesopotamia ‘land between rivers,’ cradle of civilization, site of the great flood, or even the garden of eden. At the heart of its civilizational lore stand two great rivers – Tigris & Euphrates. Their alluvial plains and convergence open to thousands of miles of marshlands abundant with reed, clay, flora, fauna, and trade routes to the Indian ocean, which over 7,000 years ago facilitated early experiments in city-making. However, rapid urbanization and construction of monumental structures like Ziggurats also gave rise to cautionary tales of Great Floods and mass deforestation leading to the near demise of humanity in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Humanity is faced with a similar predicament today, so this discussions considers other models of care, craft, dwelling, and inter-species kinship in the marshes of Iraq that might inspire us once again to reimagine our interconnected worlds.


Join us on October 6, 2023 at 5:30 pm for the opening of a new Keller Gallery exhibition, Iraq: Beyond the Two Rivers, an exhibition curated by Huma Gupta, Assistant Professor in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. 

Image of woman in boat.

                                                                                                                                Still from Sama Alshaibi, Iihya’ (Revival), 2023

Iraq: Beyond the Two Rivers is a transhistorical meditation on architectural ambition, great migrations, urban design, climate change, and the radical promise of other ways of dwelling and building in today’s world. This exhibition is inspired by Dr. Huma Gupta’s fifteen years of architectural research on Iraq for her forthcoming book The Architecture of Dispossession. It puts artworks by renowned contemporary Iraqi artists in conversation with works Gupta commissioned and produced with a team of MIT students. The exhibition takes viewers on a multimedia journey through a video art piece by Sama Alshaibi set in Iraq’s marshes, an animation by Sadik Kwaish Alfraji set in Baghdad’s migrant neighborhoods, film stills from Hussein al-Asadi’s forthcoming documentary, a photograph by Mohanad al-Sudany focused on indigenous buffalo-breeding communities, an architectural model composed of reeds, earth, and cement by Bella Carmelita Carriker, and a large mixed media mural with archival video by Huma Gupta, Hajar Alrifai, and Mahwish Khalil.

On the twentieth anniversary of the 2003 U.S. invasion and the fourth anniversary of the 2019 Tishreen protest movement, it is also necessary to move beyond narratives of conflict to engage with the deeper histories of al-Iraq – a place known by many names such as Sumer, Mesopotamia ‘land between rivers,’ cradle of civilization, site of the great flood, or even the garden of eden. At the heart of its civilizational lore stand two great rivers – Tigris & Euphrates. Their alluvial plains and convergence open to thousands of miles of marshlands abundant with reed, clay, flora, fauna, and trade routes to the Indian ocean, which over 7,000 years ago facilitated early experiments in city-making. However, rapid urbanization and construction of monumental structures like Ziggurats also gave rise to cautionary tales of Great Floods and mass deforestation leading to the near demise of humanity in the Epic of Gilgamesh. 

Today, however, Iraq is the fifth most vulnerable country to extreme temperatures, water scarcity and food shortages. And situated on top of some of the largest oil reserves in the world, Iraq’s marshes and its inhabitants have been targets of ecocide since the 1980s. Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry recently projected that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers will run dry within Iraq by 2040 due to the confluence of upstream dams and effects of climate change. Although catastrophe rapidly approaches, this exhibition reminds viewers of other models of care, craft, kinship, wetland stewardship, and interspecies cohabitation that persist and hold the potential to revive this ancient landscape. In the words of Malcom Ferdinand, “To unsettle the Anthropocene announces the search for new sea and land arrangements through which, faced with the storm, it is possible to inhabit the bridge together and to build a world-ship” (Decolonial Ecology, 2022).

About the MIT Department of Architecture
The MIT Department of Architecture opened its doors in 1868 as the first Architecture department in the United States. MIT Architecture is currently home to around 250 graduate and undergraduate students. Numbered among the Department’s over 5,000 alumni are Sophia Hayden ’1890, Robert R. Taylor ‘1892, I.M. Pei ‘40, and Charles Correa ‘55.   

Exibit will be open from October 6th thru November 3rd

Location: MIT Keller Gallery, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, 7-408, Cambridge, MA

Visitor Information

The Keller Gallery at MIT

77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 7, Room 408, Cambridge, MA 02139

Free and open to the public

Monday through Saturday, 9AM to 6PM

Learn more about the exibit: https://architecture.mit.edu/news/exhibit-iraq-beyond-two-rivers







Saturday March 4, 2023
10:00 am to 5:00 pm in MIT Room 56-114
Building Like a State:
Architecture and Nomad-State Relations in Historical Perspective
In person only, will not be accessible remotely. Register here.


March 20 
Something Else is Possible
Vivien Sansour
Founder and Director of Palestine Heirloom Seed Library
 In person only, will not be accessible remotely. Register here.

April 10
Ottoman Tour d’Europe: Architecture, Urbanism, and Late Ottoman Travelogues 
Semra Horuz
AKPIA@MIT Post-Doctoral Fellow
 In person only, will not be accessible remotely. Register here.

April 24 at 12:30 pm
Against the Regime of Emptiness
Samia Henni
Cornell University
Via zoom only. Register here.

Thursday, May 4 in room 7-429 (Long Lounge)
Part of the Department of Architecture Lecture Series
Wetland: A Future Vernacular
Wael al-Awar
Nominee Principal of WaiWai Design, curator of UAE National Pavilion 2021,
winner of Golden Lion with Kenichi Teramoto
Aired simultaneously on YouTubeRegister here.

Thursday, May 11 in Room 1-190 from 4 - 7 pm
Film Premiere | Climate Futures, Cities Past

The Sultan's Architect Called Home: Raimondo D'Aronco Between Turkey and Italy
Sharon Smith
AKPIA@MIT Post-Doctoral Fellow