DE sign:
(Deconstructing in-order to find new meanings)

A blogging space about my personal interests; was made during training in Stockholm #Young Leaders Visitors Program #Ylvp08 it developed into a social bookmarking blog.

I studied #Architecture; interested in #Design #Art #Education #Urban Design #Digital-media #social-media #Inhabited-Environments #Contemporary-Cultures #experimentation #networking #sustainability & more =)

Please Enjoy, feedback recommended.

p.s. sharing is usually out of interest not Blind praise.
This is neither sacred nor political.

Tuesday, July 1

Aleppo Citadel "Kal'et Halab"

Featured at this Week's issue of "The Damascene Rose Window Weekly" https://paper.li/Woroud/1394570954 by an Archnet post 

How forgotten Spanish masons' tiles transformed American cities

Article: How forgotten Spanish masons' tiles transformed American cities

Throughout New York City and beyond, the largely forgotten Guastavinos built some of America'€™s greatest public spaces
Have you ever noticed the vaulted tile ceilings of the Oyster Bar inside the Grand Central Terminal? Have you ever walked under the polychrome tile arches and vaults of the Elephant House of the Bronx Zoo?
The Museum of the City of New York is revealing a secret kept for decades behind many iconic American public buildings.
At least 200 of New York’s most prominent Beaux-Arts landmarks were built more than a century ago by a father-son team of masons from Spain.
Not only did Rafael Guastavino Sr. and his son (also named Rafael) help build some of the nation’s most iconic structures between 1881 and 1962, they also revolutionized American architectural design and construction with their tile-vaulting system.

Once you identify some of their architectural chef-d’oeuvres, you’ll start seeing them all over.
Their ceilings grace landmarks around the country from the Nebraska State Capitol to the dome of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. They even ornament ordinary buildings. One of them is the Engine No. 3, a small brick firehouse built in 1916 not far from the U.S. Capitol.
Although they helped build more than 1,000 buildings in 11 countries, the name Guastavino remained largely unknown.
In an effort to shed light on the story of these avant-gardist architects, the Museum of the City of New York has just opened the exhibition “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America’s Great Public Spaces,” running through Sept. 7.
Originally curated by John Ochsendorf, a 2008 MacArthur Fellow and professor in architecture at MIT, the exhibition first opened in 2012 in Boston. It was the result of a seven-year cooperation between Ochsendorf’s team and the city’s public library. Last year, the exhibition moved to the National Building Museum in Washington.
The latest exhibit is substantially expanded to highlight some 20 key Guastavino spaces in New York’s five boroughs.

Kindly check Full original Article http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/3/28/slideshow-forgottenspanishmasonsatilestransformedamericaascities.html

CSBE Book Lists on #Architecture

Favorite Book Lists on Architecture and the Built Environment

Copied of CSBE http://csbe.org/activities/favorite-book-lists-on-architecture-and-the-built-environment/

"CSBE has asked a number of distinguished colleagues to each provide us with a list of their favorite books on architecture and the built environment, and to explain why they selected those books. A new list will be added to the CSBE website periodically."


Nasser Rabbat

Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic ArchitectureDepartment of ArchitectureMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
This is both a story of an unusual architectural experience, the building of the village of New Gourna in Upper Egypt, and a loosely-structured philosophical musing on society, ecology, poverty, pride, craft, the built environment, modes of empowerment, and architectural professional engagement in community building.  It is also the book that marked my formation as an architect more than any other book, even though I came to be very critical of the book and the ideas of Hassan Fathy later on when I became a historian and a critic.  I read the book in its French edition in one night in 1978 (No Arabic edition was yet available anyway).  I was a fourth-year architecture student looking for ideas for a graduation project.  Fathy’s book was a revelation, an eye-opener, almost a transcendental experience (for a materialist man at least).  I stayed up all night reading and bursting with identifications with what I read.  Not only did the book inspire my graduation project but also my plans for my academic and intellectual future.  It was through my interest in environmentally sensitive architecture, which I learned from Fathy, that I graduated to looking at historical examples, and ultimately to history pure and simple.  I also learned from Fathy a certain architectural idealism, which still informs my academic politics, and a certain social realism, extracted negatively from Fathy’s writing, which still encumbers my attempts to be optimistic towards the possibility of building a fair and civic society in the Arab and Islamic worlds without a critical and sustained struggle against established socioeconomic and religious structures.
Grabar was my PhD advisor and I learned a lot from him, both in the classroom and outside, mostly over meals or drinks.  He was a charming, sublimely erudite scholar.  His impact on the study of Islamic art and architecture is immeasurable.  His opus magnum was The Formation of Islamic Art: a series of highly speculative and provocative lectures delivered in the early 1970s, the book remains till today one of the most thoughtful attempts to theorize Islamic art and architecture.  Focusing on the problems of the emergence of Islamic art and architecture in the first three centuries Hegira and their relationship to the art of Byzantium and Persia, the book investigates how a nascent Islamic artistic tradition acquired and disseminated distinct forms and meanings primarily in conjunction with its cultural, social, and ideological contexts.  This strongly historicizing framework gives the book its energy and underscores its palpable sense of purpose.  It also endows it with remarkable coherence despite the otherwise selective character of its content.  But the book's significance lies ultimately not in answering questions about the formation of Islamic art, which it actually avoids doing; it is rather in setting the tone for a whole generation of historians of Islamic art and architecture to begin to reassess the geographic, historical, religious, and cultural boundaries of their discipline.  As such, The Formation of Islamic Art became the foundation upon which most historical interpretations in the field have depended until now.
Candilis was an Azeri/Greek/French member of Team Ten, but I did not know that when I first met him.  He was the teacher of one of my teachers, who was not particularly kind, but very intelligent, and who invited Candilis to give a talk at our school at the University of Damascus. I was mesmerized by the life story of the architect and its entanglement both with his professional pursuit and his architectural modernist ideology.  Reading his book later just reconfirmed my first impression.  Here was a compassionate modernist who tried to practice what he preached, even when his firm was involved in very large, government-sponsored projects.  He and his two partners built elegant, streamlined housing projects and university campuses in the Arab world that distilled the essence of a self-historicizing, or evolutive, modernism.  His book reads like a novel with a strong but utterly sympathetic central character with a strong mission who managed to convince colleagues, bureaucrats, and ordinary citizens of the validity of his design, and built it.
This short, sweet, and lyrical book opened my eyes to the aesthetics of environmentally responsive design.  Scanning the history of spatial and architectural solutions to environmental constraints from Roman bath to Islamic gardens, Heschong presents a convincing argument about the embeddedness of environmental considerations in many human activities, cultural preferences, and design.  She explores how the senses work together to achieve what she terms delight in architecture: an aspiration for architecture akin to the kind of feeling one experience with music, nature, and art.  This small book was like an exegesis for me as I was negotiating my way around the hard science of climatology, passive solar design, and the mechanics of sustainability during my March years at UCLA.  I recommend it to every architect committed to environmentally responsive design who wants to maintain the ethics and aesthetics of his/her commitment.
April 17, 2014


Nadim Karam

Founder, Nadim karam & Atelier Hapsitus
Beirut, Lebanon
I remember buying this book from a bookshop in Aoyama, Tokyo that always stayed open until 3am – often the best time for browsing through books. Nitschke’s perceptive anthropological approach to Japanese concepts of space and time through their rituals, language, and culture is a fascinating read that gives depth to Japanese spatial concepts that have now become familiar in the West.
Rudofsky spent a lifetime challenging the traditional boundaries of architecture, touching on anthropology, fashion, and design with his curiosity and desire to heighten the sensuality of the daily business of living, eating, and dressing through design. Architecture without Architects is the product of his many travels, a humbling lesson to us architects about the beautiful simplicity of indigenous architecture.
This book was offered to me by one of my students, who felt that there are similarities between my work and Hejduk's. The book is full of drawings, plots, scenarios, objects, and subjects, all of which are intermingled with extravagant ideas and architectural shapes /installations full of imagination, elevating the observer to a parallel world full of dreams and stories.
This is a book to savor slowly. The contrast between the rigorous mathematical organization of the 55 cities that the book features in its eleven chapters and the poetry of the description of each of the cities in a manner that is not bound by any urban or physical limitations is wonderful. There is also the poignancy of the encounters between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. Not sharing a common language, they are free to wander together through the imaginative potentialities of cities, using only visuals.
This book, of course, was the product of September 11, 2011 and its aftermath in European cities that spurred a whole new enquiry into terrorism, war, and cities. I was writing “Can Cities Dream?” at the eve of our own summer war in 2006, when we had to leave Lebanon suddenly. I remember coming across this book, and how it struck a chord with me. Virilio writes in the grey areas between physics, philosophy, politics, and urbanism - sometimes straying into anecdotes, but then comes back with a perceptive punch.
May 4, 2014


Rahul Mehrotra

Professor and Chair, Department of Urban Planning and Design
Graduate School of Design
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
The following are books I read during my first three years of architectural education, and they continue to be the ones that I would say have had the greatest influence on me, and that also have stayed with me.
This book showed me how to think outside the box. The author systematically deconstructs the taboos that condition our thinking - which often limit creativity on account of the biases we already have embedded in our minds. I read this book during the month I entered architecture school, and it was the greatest introduction one could get to conceptual thinking as a critical tool for design.
This book is a classic in that through abstraction, Christopher Alexander blurs the boundaries between the vernacular, timeless, modern, and the everyday, as well as between architecture and the way people inhabit space. Besides equipping designers to think at the fine grain, it also was for me a great introduction to design research and its usefulness as we observe the world around us
The mind-blowing thing about this book was that besides communicating through its title the finite nature of our planet and its resources (something that took the world many decades to articulate), it provided an amazing insight into how systems are interconnected and into the synergies that are critical to creating a sustainable and efficient management of the planet. But the concepts here were also a fabulous introduction to understanding cities and more complex landscapes.
In some sense, this was my introduction to ecology, environmentalism, and optimistic thinking. A wonderful format of quotes, stories, ideas, and projections of the future collide in this little paperback. It went on to become a trilogy with the Peter Principle and Peter Prescription. I would describe The Peter Plan as a primer that gave real images (through people and stories) to what books like Silent Spring and other literature on environmentalism from the early 1970 were warning us about.
This is a seminal book, which I read the year after it was published. It was confusing for me as a student on account of the richness of its disparate images, but it added an incredible dimension to the otherwise pure historical narratives we were being offered in architecture school. Studying in India, this book also made sense because as students we saw the coexistence of many architectural vocabularies in the Indian urban landscape, and the book’s arguments were therefore familiar to us. But, fortunately, as one saw the implications of post-modernism, the book finally taught me to watch out for the pitfalls of the superficial caricaturing of history in contemporary architecture.
May 18, 2014


George Katodrytis

Associate Professor of ArchitectureAmerican University of SharjahSharjah, United Arab Emirates
This novel makes you see cities differently. This book is like space; every time you revisit it has a different meaning. You should read it at the beginning of your architectural career. It will open a new world of spatial possibilities that will make sense every time you visit a new city. You should also read this book before you visit Venice.
This book is a series of essays on contemporary architecture using the uncanny and alienation as a way to understand why architecture can be fragmented. The complexity of space is related to the "unhomely" modern condition.
All architects should be urbanists. This book is a manifesto about the city, the street, its media, its anarchy, and the visual interpretation of complex urban systems. It elevates the collective and participatory condition of culture into a mainstream popular approach.
Moving beyond looking at cities as romantic places made of historic squares and pedestrians, this book - through the analysis of Las Vegas - celebrates the system and dynamics of speed, of signs, of surfaces, and of artificiality. Read this book and then drive through the city.
Architectural space, like a film script, can only be experienced through time. This book is a visual essay of photographs, notations, and tectonics, constructing narratives of experience and events to geometric spaces. I bought this book in Paris when I worked with Bernard Tschumi. The next day in the office, I understood better the Parc de la Villette project. Read this book before you visit New York.
The technology of optics and war machines was in effect a simulation of space as image and representation. This book will open possibilities of looking at architectural space as illusion with edited sequence of scenes as though looking through a viewfinder. Read this book before you go to a film.
June 1, 2014

Mohammad al-Asad

Founding Director
Center for the Study of the Built Environment
Amman, Jordan

I consider James Ackerman, who is 94 years old, to be one of the greatest architectural historians of our day. This book presents an example of superb writing on architectural history, theory, and criticism. Ackerman's writing is clear, concise, incisive, and illuminating. One only wishes that most of today's architectural historians and critics are able to write half as well as and half as clearly as he does.
I do not recall who it was, but someone once wrote that if he is stranded on a deserted island and could only have one book, it would be this one. The book provides a most useful guide for designing architectural elements, spaces, and environments, ranging from a window to a kitchen to a town. It provides very thoughtful information based on how people interact with and relate to the built world around them.
This book features in-depth and honest conversations about architecture with a number of the great architects of their time including Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, Charles Moore, Paul Rudolph, Robert Venturi, and Denis Scott Brown. I read it as a third-year student of architecture; it transformed my understanding of architecture.
Jan Gehl is one of the great urbanists of our time, as is evident in his design / planning work and his writings. Our understanding today of how cities may interact with people in a humane manner that values the pedestrian and celebrates public spaces where all can come together is very much influenced by Gehl's work and by his writings, including New City Spaces.
William Mitchell died prematurely in 2010. He was a true visionary. He wrote beautifully and insightfully about how the ongoing revolutionary changes affecting information technologies are transforming our built environments and how we interact with them. Much of what he predicted in his writings is taking place today.
Witold Rybczynski has an ability to communicate the complexities of architecture and urbanism in a crisp and clear manner to both specialists and to the general audience, but without descending into oversimplification and overgeneralization. In the first of these two books, he addresses the evolution of the house; in the second, he addresses the evolution of the city.
This book has been reprinted a number of times, most lately in 2009. It provides a sharp and witty attack on both Modern and Post-modern architecture. It also serves as a strong reminder to architects that they should not take themselves too seriously, for their influence on society and on the built environment is far more limited than they wish to believe.

D. Fairchild Ruggles

Professor of art, architecture and landscape history
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Editor’s note: After publishing a number of the lists of favorite books on architecture and the built environment, we received a note from Professor D. (Dede) Fairchild Ruggles pointing out the absence of books written by women in the lists. She commented that the lists imply that women have not written any interesting books on architecture and the built environment. The lists obviously express the choices of their individual authors and do not make claims of universalism. Still, Dede’s comments do point out the fact that the lists published so far do not fully cover the considerable diversity and richness of contemporary architectural writing, particularly in relation to gender.
Consequently we asked Dede, who herself is an accomplished author, if she would share with us a booklist that presents her selection of the writings of prominent women authors on architecture and the built environment, and also asked her if she would provide a short introduction to the list that addresses the issue of gender and the practice of writing on architecture and the built environment. In response, she developed the list and introductory comments provided below.
With Dede’s list, our endeavor on favorite booklists begins to feature a richer and more diverse selection of writings on architecture and the built environment. We very much thank her for that.
Gender is often treated as an intervention in a practice of architectural history and theory that is already in place, already gendered as male, and on which it therefore has a marginal impact. This notion of limited intervention is not a description of how things actually are, but rather a byproduct of the continuing blindness to gender as a significant force in the making of the built environment and writing about it. However, since Joan Scott’s famous “Gender: A Useful Category of Analysis” first appeared in 1986, it is no longer tenable to assert or imply through omission that gender doesn’t matter. Gender is an important aspect of how we think and write about architecture. Just as it affects the space that we write about, it has a formative effect on the writers themselves. Among other things, gender awareness teaches us to be cognizant of how we construct lists and canons that, although written with innocent intentions, serve to exclude not only women but also non-Europeans and others characterized by religious, ethnic, class, or sexual difference, the canon both creating the category of difference and then using it to justify exclusion. Awareness is key here. The incomplete list of key authors below who wrote classic texts and/or changed what we know about the built environment is a modest intervention that places women back into the conversation about favorite writers about architecture.
Wilhelmina Jashemski, Gardens of Pompeii (published in two volumes in 1979 and 1993)
This archaeological work on the gardens of Pompeii literally created a new field of study. Instead of seeing Roman (and all other) gardens entirely through the lens of literature, Wilhelmina Jashemski has allowed us to view them as archaeologically knowable entities, thus giving us a better understanding of their forms and materials.
Dolores Hayden draws important, ground-breaking connections between politics, urban space, gender, and ethnicity. Her work has provided us with a richer understanding of how Americans of diverse backgrounds have shaped their landscapes, towns, and buildings.
This book became an instant classic, stimulating architects and historians to think about registers of design that are typically ignored by architects as tasteless and yet are encountered constantly in the everyday landscape: billboards, signs, motels, parking lots, and casinos. It demands that architects “learn from the existing landscape” and “gain insight from the commonplace.”
Gwendolyn Wright writes about urbanism, the role of history in architectural design schools, and architectural history, especially the history of domestic housing. Housing — and there are far more ordinary homes built than grand museums, palaces, and public buildings — is a virtually ignored field, but it is an architectural arena in which the impact of women consumers and non-professional builders becomes most visible.
Alice Friedman is a pioneer in writing about gender in European and American architecture. In Women and the Making of the Modern House Friedman investigates the role that women architectural patrons have taken on in transforming domestic architectural design. She examines a number of iconic houses of the twentieth century, and creates detailed portraits of these houses as well as of the people who commissioned, designed, and lived in them through examining personal letters, diaries, office records, photo albums, and interviews.
Labelle Prussin is a leading historian of African architecture. In African Nomadic Architecture she extensively explores the technologies, styles, designs, as well as the symbolic and ritual meanings of the tent and related vernacular architecture in various African cultures.
This edited collection has in a short space of time gained fundamental importance. The essays examine the historiographic and socio/cultural implications of the mapping of British architectural history with particular reference to eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain. They consider a range of writings from biographical and social histories to visual surveys and guidebooks. The book has become an essential reference on methods and critical approaches to architectural history, and also the kind of evidence used in its formation.
Other women scholars who have made an impact on my own work in Islamic architecture and landscape history include Janet Abu-Lughod, whose many publications include Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious (1971); Nurhan Atasoy, whose Garden for the Sultan (2002) opened up the topic of Ottoman gardens; Catherine Asher, author of Architecture of Mughal India (1992), which is now the definitive source in that area; Naomi Miller, the historian of French and Italian Renaissance architecture as well as built garden elements such as fountains; and Ann Bermingham whose Landscape and Ideology (1986) illuminated the intimate yet masked connection between landscape and politics.

This Story was featured at the "Damascene Rose Window Weekly online Digital Publication" issue

Saturday, May 10

Ila Souria II

Ila Souria II

selected Videos from the second Ila Souria conference

Ila Souria I

Ila Souria I
Selected Videos of Ila Souria First Conference on the Material & Immaterial Re/Construction

مشاريع عمارة و يوطوبيات، من أجل وضع برنامج تعليمي متحرر و ثائر...
كلود يعقوب
مهندس معماري، مدرس و باحث، مختبر سيتو-باراغراف Citu-Paragraphe ، جامعة باريس ٨

ملخص : ما الذي سننقله لأجيال المستقبل من المصممين المتدربين، الذين سيبنون غداً سوريا جديدة، و مختلفة ؟ كيف و ماذا سننقل لهم من أجل إعادة تأسيس و ترميم المدينة/الدولة (بمعناها اليوناني القديم Polis) حول القيم الثورية الحالية و المستقبلية ؟ هذه المدينة/الدولة (Polis) التي تُذكِّرنا، بجانبيها السياسي و المدني، ببعض "اليوطوبيات التي أصبحت واقعاً"، إن كان ذلك في الزمن الحالي المباشر أو في المستقبل الشامل. مما يشكل تساؤلاً حيوياً له علاقة بما هو "مشترك"، و الذي يعني الجميع و في نفس الوقت. و بالتالي، لم نعد فقط بحاجة لما هو "موجود بشكل مسبق" و إنما المقدرة على "العمل معاً" هي التي تفرض نفسها بهدف بناء مساحات غير مادية و مادية. و بهذا تُمثِّل اليوطوبيات فعلاً إنسانياً عادلاً و مُبرَّراً. مخرج ٌمناسب من الأزمة، يحقق نوعاً من التوازن في العالم غير المستقر و المضطرب الذي نعيش فيه، كما أنها جواب واضح على التساؤل الذي تتطرحه العمارة و المعماري، و حل بديل يجمع ما بين الرؤية و الواقعية و القضايا الحيوية لمجتمع تنقصه المساواة، و المشاركة و القيم الأخلاقية. ستكون مهمتنا تعريف الأجيال الجديدة السورية (من طلاب، و أساتذة، و سكان مدنيين)، و عن طريق "تربية الحرية"، بيوطوبيات الماضي التي شكلت واقع اليوم. و بهذا نستطيع معاً رسم يوطوبيات اليوم التي من شأنها أن تمثل واقع الغد...

الكلمات الرئيسية : العمارة ؛ المصمم المتدرب ؛ علم التربية ؛ الثورة ؛ يوطوبيا .

ما هي الممارسات المرتبطة بإعادة الإعمار؟
إيرين لابيري
مهندسة معمارية

ملخص : كيف لنا أن نتصرف إزاء الكارثة عندما يسقط النظام؟ بهدف رسم خطوط مستقبلية فيما يخص المدن و الإسكان و المساحات بشكل عام، يبدو لنا أن التحضيرات المسبقة ستكون : - تحليل المشاريع و الإنجازات التي سبقت الثورة (فيما يخص عملية صياغتها، و من ناحية الشكل و المواصفات)، - تحليل المنطق المُتبع من قبل جيش النظام في قصف و تدمير المناطق المدنية و الأحكام "القانونية" المرتبطة بذلك، - تأثير التوزع العمراني على نمو الثورة، - التفكير المبدئي بالمعايير التي يجب وضعها، بحيث أن تخدم و تؤطر المشاريع المستقبلية التي ستمثل، لدى اعتمادها، الأسس التي سيمكن لصانعي القرار و المواطنين الاعتماد عليها. تهدف هذه المداخلة إلى البدء بهذا العمل، بالاعتماد خصوصاً على دمشق كمثال.

الكلمات الرئيسية : المدينة ؛ إلغاء ما كان قائم ؛ الحدود ؛ الممارسات ؛ المزيج
rest of the Videos in Arabic: http://www.ilasouria.org/ar/videos/

Curated List on Architecture & UPlanning |  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmkdbSmeocC-8fmkDX0zJ42BL5ssUGDIG