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.
Khan, Hasan-Uddin. "Being, Forgetting, Remembering: Stewardship, Spirituality, and Change in the Vernacular Built Environment." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 4, Number 1 (pp. 5-27), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2014.
The correlation between belief in the stewardship of the earth and vernacular architecture yields a sensitivity to nature and to the spirituality of place in building construction. Patterns in nature are thus reflected in the organic forms of buildings and in various urban interventions. The notion of stewardship is also deeply embed in the teachings of Islam and other religions and cultural systems. Past architecture exhibits knowledge about the relationship and balance between the built and natural environment (A Place of Being). The scientific revolution, the industrial revolution and specialization seemed to bring with them the separation of beauty and utility and also encouraged an aggressive attitude toward the exploitation of nature. In the larger project of modernity ‘progress and development’ deepened the rupture between the built and natural realms (A Place of Forgetting). In the past two decades or so, environmental awareness and economic imperatives have begun to generate programs that have resulted in built works that attempt to heal the scars in the landscape and to be more sensitive to place (A Place of Remembering). Today, some architectural projects, based on ethical concerns, are beginning to reconnect contemporary architectural projects to the wisdom of the past in order to produce solutions for a sustainable built environment (A New Place of Being), and perhaps a new vernacular built environment.
Keywords: a place of being/forgetting/remembering; authenticity; stewardship; sustainability; vernacular architecture