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. "Cultural Projects: An Enthusiastic Embrace". In Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism in the Middle East, 68-97. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012. (Arabic version)
Beginning at the end of the first Gulf War, the Middle East entered a new era of architectural and urban development defined by increased levels of globalization and private sector investment. In the decade that followed, the region was home to a wealth of architectural projects that challenged conventional thinking about architecture and the Middle East itself. Mohammad al-Asad provides an in-depth examination of an abundance of these projects, from homes and schools to hotels and religious centers. Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism in the Middle East examines the economic, political, and cultural context in which the projects were created. The book’s photographs bring attention to previously unaddressed aspects of modern Arabic architecture, highlighting local talent emerging throughout the region.
This article is an Arabic translation of the original English version, which can also be found on Archnet.