Society of Architectural Historians
The Establishment of a Field: Architectural Education in MENA
The founding of the pioneering architectural programs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) stretched over a long durée, spanning from the establishment of architectural program at the Cairo University founded in 1880 to the foundation of the Government School of Architecture in Karachi in 1954. The complex timeline of these programs/schools vary significantly and was shaped both by the global dynamics and historic condition of the respective country’s political and economic trajectories. A parallel history of these programs will shed new light on how various key architectural concepts such as vernacular, climate, regionalism, modernity, and tradition were developed. Although most progenitors implemented Euro-American architectural curricula as their pedagogical template, very soon the questions of context, regional history, and social responsibility became imperative. At a time when in the MENA countries the emerging nationalist sentiments oscillate between ‘tradition’ and ‘development’, educators intervened not only to establish architecture as an autonomous intellectual domain but also to impact the practice of architecture.
This panel invites interdisciplinary studies that situate the establishment and development of the institutions against the unique socio-political contexts. Submitted papers may address a wide range of issues regarding the history of architectural education in the early and mid 20th century, including but not limited to, the introduction of new pedagogical techniques, and how the transnational exchanges of architectural pedagogy and its interlocutors influenced the epistemological discourse of the discipline. The papers may also explore to what extent architecture was seen as part of a broader institutional infrastructure (e.g., engineering, fine arts), and how the woman architects/educators, minorities, students, and even the public challenged the normative of architectural pedagogy. The papers may also explore how these programs adapted or resisted the hegemony of European and American pedagogy.
Farhan Karim, University of Kansas.
Mohammad Gharipour, Morgan State University.