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.
Sawruk, Theodore. "Reconstructing Afghanistan: An Architecture Curriculum for a ‘New Way of Life’." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 2, Number 2 (pp. 371-395), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2013.
Afghanistan is a country rich in culture and history, but also one devastated by decades of war. The destruction extends beyond cities to include the social, economic and educational constructs of life. In 2008, the University of Hartford was awarded a $1.33 million grant to help re-establish the engineering facilities at Herat University. The grant mission also facilitated the creation of a new achitectural programme to address the growing needs of contemporary Afghanistan. Over the next three years, scholars worked to forge an innovative curriculum, one that melds the historic traditions of a centuries-old city with the contemporary needs of a western-style Islamic society. When the ideally conceived curriculum was finally taken to Herat University for approval and implementation, a new and harsher reality emerged. This article chronicles the events that reshaped the proposed curriculum. It relays how the current state of the profession, cultural traditions, gender bias and economic realities came to bear on the development of this new programme, and how western preconceptions were revised by local realities. Finally, it documents how the melding of these realities supplanted initial utopian agendas in the creation of a more viable, integrated curriculum that supports an evolving, unique and contemporary architectural identity.
Keywords: Afghan women; Afghanistan; University of Herat; architectural education; architecture curriculum; female architects