Mohammad al-Asad is a Jordanian architect and architectural
historian. He is the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Built
Environment in Amman. Dr. al-Asad studied architecture at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and history of architecture at Harvard University,
before taking post-doctoral research positions at Harvard and at the Institute
for Advanced Study at Princeton. He has taught at the University of Jordan,
Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was the Alan K. and
Leonarda Laing Distinguished Visiting Professor. He was also adjunct professor
at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Dr. al-Asad has published in both Arabic and
English on the architecture of the Islamic world, in books and academic and
professional journals. He is the author of Old Houses of Jordan: Amman
1920-1950 (1997) and Contemporary Architecture and
Urbanism in the Middle East (2012); and co-author (with Ghazi Bisheh and
Fawzi Zayadine) of The Umayyads: The Rise of Islamic Art (2000) and
(with Sahel Al Hiyari and Álvaro Siza) Sahel Al Hiyari Projects (2005).
He is the editor of Workplaces: The Transformation of
Places of Production: Industrialization and the Built Environment in the
Islamic World (2010), and co-editor (with Majd Musa) of Architectural
Journalism and Criticism: Global Perspectives (2007) and Exploring the Built Environment (2007).
Al-Asad, Mohammad, editor. Workplaces: The Transformation of Places of Production: Industrialization and the Built Environment in the Islamic World. Istanbul: Bilgi University Press, 2010.
A large part of the world’s population, including increasing numbers of people in the Muslim world, spend a majority of their time in places of production, such as factories, workshops, and industrial facilities. In most cases, industrial facilities are built with only economic performance in mind; the welfare of those who work in these buildings has not been a major a concern.
One of the numerous themes that the seminar, which was entitled “Workplaces: The Transformation of Places of Production,” explored, was the rapidly-changing nature of many industries and their modes of production. The old sheds that contained traditional production lines are becoming obsolete, and at the same time, the overwhelming growth of cities in many Muslim countries has meant that what were peripheral industrial sites are now located within dense urban areas. The transformation of these sites to accommodate new urban realities has become a major challenge for authorities. Many old industrial spaces were considered liabilities for their surroundings, but, with imaginative programming, some of them have been transformed into assets that support a healthy urban life. Also, while older industrial facilities are being reconfigured to accommodate new functions.