Islamic Architecture and the Environment: Earth, Reed & Water

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Seminar examining historical and contemporary uses of earth/reed architecture and water systems in the Islamic world. Given the outsized contribution of industrial building materials to the climate crisis, this course asks students to reconsider the historiography of material aesthetics, hierarchies, and progress. It will also interrogate architectural origin myths, Islamic notion of stewardship, Islamic gardens, the popular rise of “vernacular” as an architectural category, and the unrealized environmental imaginations and design proposals of modernist architects working in the Islamic world e.g., Hassan Fathy, Le Corbusier, and Constantinos A. Doxiadis. Students will be in direct conversation with contemporary scholars, artists, and practitioners in the region who are engaged with designing alternative building materials, heritage conservation, environmental design, and forging new design vocabularies that incorporate natural building materials in India, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. Course is open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students.