Christensen, Peter. "The ‘Inventive Jump’: Curiosity, Culture and Islamicate Form in the Works of Peter and Alison Smithson." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 3, Number 1 (pp. 43-68), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2014.
Using materials from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s Special Collections, this article explores scantly documented master plans and architectural designs for cities and projects in or relating to the Islamic world, located in Kuwait, Tehran, Alexandria, Khartoum and London and designed by British architects Peter and Alison Smithson from the 1950s through to the 1980s. These projects illustrate the architects’ generative approach towards Islamicate building contexts and the ways in which it at once is in sync and divergent from orientalist, colonial and developmental legacies. Examining aspects of an array of projects – from a chair to a master plan – this article illuminates the pitfalls and promise of the qualities of ‘sympathy’ and ‘empathy’ in the Smithsons’ architectural projects for the Islamic world in the latter half of the twentieth century.