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. "Writing on the Architecture of Islam: The Last Twenty Years." In Building for Tomorrow, edited by Azim Nanji, 36-41. London: Academy Group Ltd., 1994.
The more than 19 essays on the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in this retrospective suggest there is a transnational and transterritorial landscape’ out of which a constructive discourse can emerge. Through a definition of architecture that engages the whole built environment and situates human and cultural concerns at heart of the conversation about the future of building in the Muslim world, the Award has led, initiated and sustained an enabling series of conversations. The essays in this volume, while different in focus and approach, indicate how the Award has fostered and forged such “a community of concern”.
Source: Azim Nanji in “Enabling Conversations” from Building for Tomorrow.