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.
Kusno, Abidin. "Invisible Geographies in the Study of Islamic Architecture." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 5, Number 1 (pp. 29-35), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2016.
This article presents a series of ideas, a mosaic if you will, about the ways in which cultural tourism design conceives and presents places and how these are received and experienced. Starting with how individuals confront culture, where forms of tourism combine religious and social aspects, it considers the impact of those great contemporary equalizers – television and the internet – on the mechanisms through which we interpret the places we visit. Part of this mix entails the experience of place and the narratives presented by the native cultures to the visitor through the expression of (authentic?) places and architectures. These are illustrated by the manifestation of different types of hotels and resorts within four main rubrics: the vernacular resort evoking a sense of place; efficient place of business within the construct of modernism; the supra-real images of twenty-first century globalization; and the reference to the past through historic built environments. This essay outlines a chain of events in touristic architecture: from that of the design and production, its transmission and impact, to the interpretation of the object by architects and writers; and its impact on the receivers – the tourist being amongst them. Aided (or confused) by the new media, tourist architecture at its worst can be an excuse for the indulgence in neo-vernacular kitsch and the formulaic, but at its best may be viewed as aiding a process of self-definition – an exploration of cultural identity.