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).
The rehabilitation of the 1950s National Gallery and the park around it is proposed as a model of collaboration between government departments, NGOs, international funding agencies and private initiatives. The project doubled the available exhibition space through the renovation of the main gallery and the creation of a 1'055-square-metre extension over an existing c. 520-square-metre building. The surrounding park was redesigned not only to provide an outdoor exhibition space for sculpture, but also to serve an educational role. It is a water-conserving public park, the first of its kind in the Middle East.