Raised in the historic city of Isfahan, Mohammad Gharipour received
his Ph.D. in Architectural Theory and History from Georgia Institute of
Technology in 2008 and Masters of Architecture from the University of Tehran in
2000. He teaches architecture at Morgan State University and is the Director and Founding Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. His
areas of research include Japanese traditional and contemporary architecture,
Persianate gardens and architecture, and restorative environments. He is the
recipient of Spiro Kostof fellowship award from the Society of Architectural
Historians (SAH) in 2008 and the author of several publications including Persian Gardens and Pavilions: Reflections in
Poetry, Arts and History(I.B. Tauris, 2013). in 2014, Dr. Gharipour was presented with the National Endowment for Humanities Faculty Award for his research on Synagogues of Isfahan, Iran. He is also curator of the Archnet collection on Synagogues of Isfahan.
Türeli, Ipek. “Small’ Architectures, Walking and Camping in Middle Eastern Cities:” In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 2, Number 1 (pp. 5-38), edited by Ipek Türeli. Bristol: Intellect, 2013.
Economic recession, conditions of restricted spending and austerity politics have led architects to seek ways of expanding architecture and to a mainstreaming of ‘small’ architectures, small-scale designs and short-term interventions, many of which focus on contesting and remaking public space. Mass mobilizations of the past years, especially the protests of the so-called Arab spring, pose new opportunities for the field. This essay first frames the six case-based articles, included in this special issue, within the literature on the politics of public space and protest. It groups the case studies around two main categories of analysis: the transformative effect of mass protests on formal public spaces (walking) and the agency of protest occupations (camping). Second, the essay identifies a lack in literature of the role (or lack thereof) played by designers in contemporary mass mobilizations in the Islamic world. It further seeks to respond to that question by providing an overview of various approaches to social engagement in architectural research and practice, under the broad categories of ‘humanitarian design’ and ‘activism by design’ with an attention to the historical specificity of the Islamic world, the examples from which tend to be of the first, humanitarian, type.
Keywords: activism by design; architecture and social engagement; mass demonstration; politics of public space; protest encampment