Sahar Rassam is a architect and researcher based in Beirut and Toronto. Throughout her career she has been interested in traditional and vernacular architecture, post-conflict reconstruction and environmentally sustainable and low-energy architecture.
Her professional career has included: Housing Coordinator and Municipal Housing Committee Chair, United Nations Mission In Kosovo (UNMIK), 2000. UN consultant to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), Amman, 1993. Founder and principal architect, The Architectural Circle, a private practice, Baghdad, 1982-1990.
Selected Publications include: Kulla: A Traditional Albanian House Type in Kosovo. World Millennium Congress, Archi2000, Paris, September 10-12, 2001. The Role of Municipalities in Post-conflict Reconstruction: The Case of Kosovo. BAU 2001 conference on South Lebanon: Urban Challenge In The Era Of Liberation. Beirut, April 3-6, 2001. Passive and Low-Energy Architecture in Southern Arabia. Proceeding for the Symposium on Low-cost Housing in the Arab Region, Sana'a, Yemen, October 24-28, 1992. United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), 1994. Manual for Human Settlements Development: Environmentally Sustainable and Energy Efficient Techniques for Shelter in Southern Arabia. Published by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), 1993. The Thermal Concept of the Traditional Arab Market Place: analysis and proposals. Proceedings of Passive and Low Energy Ecotechniques Conference, Pergamon press, 1983.
Rassam, Sahar. 2001. Traditional Houses in Western Kosovo: A Descriptive Survey of Kullas in the Municipalities of Istok and Klina. (unpublished paper)
The Kosovo conflict rendered a heavy toll on the housing stock; more than one third of the houses were damaged and destroyed. In the western part of Kosovo the damage was more intense and amounted to around 80% of the total, due to concentrated militia resistance. Neglect and lack of maintenance in about ten years of instability also played a role. International organizations came to Kosovo in the summer of 1999 and started the reconstruction campaign. Traditional houses received their share of the destruction, but they were overlooked in the reconstruction process.
A paper describing the traditional kulla by Sahar Rassam, Former Housing Coordinator and Municipal Housing Committee Chair, United Nations Mission In Kosovo