Mohamad Nahleh

Lecturer in Architecture and Urbanism

Mohamad Nahleh is a lecturer in architecture and urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His interests include postcolonial literature, environmental history, urban theory, and Islamic cosmology. Nahleh’s research and practice champion new relationships between design and the night. Rather than a backdrop against which contemporary modes of practice might be celebrated, the night in his work acquires a political sovereignty that dismantles the strict link between ‘night design’ and operations that strive to repress darkness—physically or symbolically—through illumination. His approach involves (1) defying the metaphors of the Enlightenment and its associated systems of surveillance and (2) proposing alternatives to the technologies that address the night only as a canvas to be dimmed through reduced or altered forms of artificial illumination. His work extends to rewriting history, devising new modes of community engagement, mitigating nighttime heat stress, and designing spaces that honor nocturnal legacies and traditions. His forthcoming book, Design After Dark, studies the transformation of the night in the Middle East following the expansion of Ottoman, French, and Zionist colonial projects. It reveals, in particular, how the people of Jabal ‘Amil in Lebanon collaborated with the night to design their liberation. His research has been published in several journals and magazines, including Places, the Journal of Architectural Education, Thresholds, and the Funambulist. Nahleh is also a registered architect in Lebanon. His ongoing projects include the Path of Nightrise—a seven-kilometer walking trail that archives Jabal ‘Amil’s rich nocturnal legacy through a series of stations along the Litani river. He is now a Journal of Architectural Education Fellow.