Nasser Rabbat is the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture at MIT where he has been teaching since 1991. His interests include Islamic art and architecture, medieval urban history and historiography, and post-colonial criticism and its ramifications for the study of architectural history. He teaches courses on architecture in the Islamic world in general, in specific cities, or on particular themes such as environmentally responsive vernacular architecture. His seminars include Islamic urbanism, cultural signification in architecture, and Orientalism.
Professor Rabbat earned his BArch from the University of Damascus, his MArch II from UCLA, and his PhD from MIT. His dissertation "The Citadel of Cairo, 1176-1341: Reconstructing Architecture from Texts" won the 1991 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award from the Middle East Study Association. A book based on the same, The Citadel of Cairo: A New Interpretation of Royal Mamluk Architecture, was published in 1995. Professor Rabbat has a book of essays on architecture in Arabic which will be published in January 2002 by Riad Alrayyes Publisher, Beirut, Lebanon. The book is titled, Thaqafat al Bina1 wa Bina1 al-Thaqafa (The Culture of Building and Building Culture).
He is currently working on two projects: a book on the fifteenth-century historian al-Maqrizi and his Khitat, titled, Historicizing the City: The Significance of Maqrizi's Khitat, which will be published by Brill in 2003, and a book on the problems of representation in Mamluk sources, tentatively entitled, Shaping the Mamluk Image: The Scope of the Sources. He is also co-editing the 1999 Kevorkian Lectures at NYU, which will soon be published under the title, A Medieval Cairo for A Modern World. In addition to publishing essays in scholarly journals on Islamic cultural and architectural history and historiography, architectural criticism, and medieval urbanism, Professor Rabbat is a contributor to the following Arabic journals: Wughat Nazar, Akhbar al-Adab, Jaridat al-Funun, al-Hayat and al-Mustaqbal.
Rabbat, Nasser. Restoration Projects Critiqued. In Medina Issue Thirteen: Architecture, Interiors & Fine Arts. British Virgin Islands: Medina Magazine. (May - June 2000): 48 - 51.
Medina Magazine is a unique and ambitious project in the Middle East by a group of architects, designers and artists to collaborate to present both architecture conceived and created in Egypt, and examples from other contexts that contain elements relevant to architectural designers, students and educators working in Egypt.
This magazine that has been published in Arabic and English since 1998 is divided into three sections to aid the reader in critiquing their built environment; to see that each component negotiates with the other to form our visual world. Structure, decorative details and interpretations of spaces and how society reacts to them anchor Medina's founders' conception as apparent in the selection of articles presented on ArchNet.
Medina goes even further than presenting architectural, design and art projects; as part of their design revolution in Egypt, Medina also organizes annual design competitions for students and professionals, as well as supporting symposiums and art projects.