The Site aims to track the movement of Architecture and Art in the Arab world, We are interested identifying various forms of the Arab culture within its local and global context. Searching for the shape and the tone of the Arab society, focusing on architecture, heritage and what lies in between that collectively represent the image of our society. The initiative started back in 2010 aiming to document and trace relevant topics in the field. This had evolved along the conflict and instability in the MENA region that had started with the Arab Spring in Tunisia, then Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria…etc throughout almost a decade (2010-2020). Therefore, we are focusing now on the same filed within the wider challenges brought by conflict, destruction, heritage, reconstruction and refugee crisis. We are hoping that this website would be a platform for students, scholars, researchers, academics, practitioner interested in Architecture and Art in the Arab world and willing to contribute and enrich its content either in Arabic or English.

Contact us on contact.aaarab@yahoo.co.uk

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Core Team:

Amer Alwarea (B.Arch., MSc, PhD., BREEAM AP.) Researcher, architect, urban designer, planner, and BREEAM AP. Ph.D in Architecture from the University of Dundee (2016), MSc in Sustainability of the Built Environment from University of Dundee (2011) and Master in Planning and The Environment (2010) , Post-Graduate Diploma (2007), and B.Arch (2005). Amer is currently a Research Development Manager at the University for the Creative Arts (2019-present) and a Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning- UCL (2017-2019). Amer is the founder of the initiative of the Art and Architecture in the Arab World.




Hiba Alkhalaf (B.Arch., MSc, PhD.)

Hiba holds a B.Arch. in Architecture from the University of Damascus (2006), MSc in Architectural Conservation from the University of Edinburgh (2010) and a PhD in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh (2017). She has a teaching experience for undergraduate years in architectural history and theory, studio design and heritage management at both Damascus University (2007-2009) as a full-time teaching fellow, and at the University of Edinburgh (2015-2017) as a part-time tutor. The interdisciplinary nature of her research bridges architecture, heritage conservation and sustainable urban development connecting the physical (buildings and sites), meaning (people, stakeholders and community), and the function. Hiba has been actively involved in various projects in the MENA region related to sustainable heritage management and empowering local community. She had developed capacity building training programs and worked closely with heritage professionals in Syria, Tunisia & Libya as part of Training in Action project and other short courses. She is a co-director of the project Sensing Place that provides a digital platform to aid local people to map their heritage and local values. She is also a co-founder of the Art and Architecture in the Arab World.  


Natai Al Sharkas Achmez 

Dip(Architecture-Damascus Uni)-M.Arch(l’Ecole de CHAILLOT – Damas)

Editorial Comment:

We will try to answer a number of points that we receive in a dally bases about the scoop of this website.

The recent surge of interest in contemporary visual, architectural and artistic culture in the Middle East has given rise to a number of conundrums; not least the question as to what exactly is meant by the term ‘Middle East’, or indeed what we understand by the terms Arab or Islamic Art and architecture. In a region made up of countries as diverse as Syria, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, these questions have both immediate relevance if not global implications.

It is arguable, for example, that the term Middle East can only ever be a shorthand description or, more reductively, an anachronism that recalls the language of containment employed by colonial discourse. To add to these already fraught debates, any discussion of Middle Eastern art must also take into account its diasporic context: it is a globalised phenomenon with multiple sites of production and reception that stretches from Nablus to New York, Baghdad to Berlin and Cairo to Chicago.

The website set out to explore such quandaries and thereafter contextualise contemporary visual and architectural culture from the region in a number of frameworks, including globalisation, identity, institutional frameworks at work in the region, audience reception (both regional and international), and the political upheavals that have provided a significant backdrop to the recent history of the Middle East.

The first thing to note about searching Arab contemporary art; that is, art from a region that includes 22 countries but usually excludes two other major non-Arab Muslim states, namely, Iran and Turkey (the website doesn’t do that). However, the term Arab is mobilised to designate ‘all those who subscribe in one form or another to Arab cultural realities, whether they live in one of the countries of the Arab world, in between worlds, or are members of the Diaspora’. This may at first seem far too wide a definition with which to garner critical purchase on the specificities at work here; nevertheless, it is arguable that such definitions effectively set the stage for discussions of diverse narratives and multiple practices to be understood – the level of discussion, in short, that is often lacking in overview studies of the Middle East.

To the extent that this website is intended to add to and indeed progress debate. We generate small posts as an important addition to knowledge about the region; it is the subject of artistic and architectural ‘production’ in its expanded sense. Despite the interest recently afforded Gulf States such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is in cities such as Damascus, Amman, Beirut, and Cairo (not to mention the important role played by Baghdad in the 1930s and 1940s) that we historically find institutional support for this culture. Again, the emphasis here on these cities, specifically their non-profit and non-governmental arts organisations, is useful in as much as it opens up a key concern in the Middle East today.

5 responses to “About

  1. hey!
    i’m student in damascus university and about to graduate this year…any way its nice to see a useful blog like your’s….

    good job…
    wish you all the best

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