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 in 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 Alan K. and Leonarda Laing Distinguished Visiting Professor. He was also an 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, of Sahel Al Hiyari Projects (2005). He has also edited the proceedings of three Aga Khan Award for Architecture seminars: Shaping Cities: Emerging Models of Planning Practices (2016), Workplaces: The Transformation of Places of Production: Industrialization and the Built Environment in the Islamic World (2010) and (co-edited with Majd Musa) Architectural Journalism and Criticism: Global Perspectives (2007).
Dr. al-Asad has been a member of the board of directors of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, part of the Royal Society for Fine Arts. He served as a project reviewer for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture during the 1989, 1995, 1998, 2004 and 2007 Award cycles, and was a member of the Steering Committee in 2010, 2013 and 2016.
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.