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. "Public Spaces: Rethinking the City". In Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism in the Middle East, 99-121. 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.
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