Topic for Debate
Beyond Tradition: Arab-Islamic & Post Modern
From Khan Khalili (Cairo) to Medina al-Salam (Dubai), massive contradictions and paradoxes characterise contemporary urban-architectural fabrics of Arab-Islamic space in modern industrial cities and post-modern / industrial spaces of flows. Over used, but "what is to be done?" Where / what are the discourses about where to go with planning as turbo (manic) capitalism rips through the petro-dollar patch and reverberates into the seams of the disposessed (Palestine / Iraq) and the left behind (Damascus .. you name it)? Where / what are visions for reconstruction beyond de-construction. Zaha Hadid vs. US Military, an ultimate force of de(con)struction in the Muslim world map. Could Taliban de-face-ing Buddahs in Bamiyan compare to US devestation of the Iraqi urban fabric, from Baghdad to Falluja? What counter visions can we create?
Jamil Brownson
Beyond Tradition: Arab-Islamic & Post Modern

Hai, Jamil. I just want to ask you with all of those theory of a "anything" you said. Why should we create counter visions? When does it end when every visions have the counter ones? How about join them all?

I don't have the experience like you do about these kind of things, I just wanna ask.

Thanks for the answer.
Farid Nazaruddin
Beyond Tradition: Arab-Islamic & Post Modern
Jamil, this is a huge question... and the answer is going to depend on which stance and domain you are coming from and trying to answer. What axactly are you looking for? Plus, are you looking for a specialist answer or are you just looking for ideas from a general public who don't really know much but can give their raw feedback?
Sara Sharaf
Beyond Tradition: Arab-Islamic & Post Modern

The responses already indicate the direction, the 'new' vision' by stating clearly what architecture will not be. It cannot be in anyway regarded as 'counter' to prevailing styles without relegating construction planning to mere reaction to prevailing styles. This is neither natural nor evident in the development of Islamic architectural contemporaneous or historical. What has established Islam as truly global philosophy is the manner in which both Muslim secular and religious architecture has in fact transcended the artisic norms of previous cultures, adapting previous technologies and imbue them characteristics of Muslim faith and community. This is not polarity, but transcendence. As such, it is of the essential nature of Islam to be discerning of intrinsic values, in art and architecture without falling victim to trends, social assumptions and transcient 'visions' offered by purely secular materialist cultures. In my opinion, Islam does not eschew modernity any more than tradition, but requires continual melding of both because of inherent societal uses and the absolute spiritual intent of right-guided belief. In the age of globalisation, Islam remains more like the gentle, forming actions of water on stone - conforming, yet not conforming. Clearly, water does not run"counter" to the riverbed - but smoothly and relentlessley carves out it's own space.
Islam, with roots deep in the deserts has become like water, expanisve at times, constricted at others but absolutely essential to life. So the 'new vision' which is sought for building, for community planning will not be designed 'just to counter' other forms (although it may doubtless be perceived as such by some), but rather as gracious enlargement, adaptation of global styles.

Anthony Stewart
Beyond Tradition: Arab-Islamic & Post Modern
The issue of the "democratisation" of Arab-Islamic nations especially in the Gulf is intrinsically tied to the idea of community and thus architecture. Part of the problem is described correctly by Jamil as being a lack of vision. If these societies are to be viable in the long-run beyond the end of petro-dollars an architectural vision for what exactly contemporary Arab-Islamic architecture can be needs to be worked out now. And I am not talking about top-down Aga Khan type theorising which at this point seems largely irrelevant in light of the zeal of construction and architecture in places like Dubai and Qatar. In looking for forward-thinking architecural visions, we must look at remedies to the dark flip-side of the shiny new Gulf city-states, the chaotic architectural and urban conditions in which most people of the Arab-Islamic world, ironically rich and poor, live in today. Architecture while not a solution onto itself can make meaningful additions to the grassroots idea of community and thus aid the process of democratisation in these countries whose societies have been boiling over for many years because of the pressure of internal and external factors intent on polarization and unilateral gains.
Gokhan Karakus
Beyond Tradition: Arab-Islamic & Post Modern
Gokhan, I agree with you. Petro-dollars in Arabia will eventually run out and there needs to be a viable, sustainable neo-vernacular established beforehand.
Frank John Snelling


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