All posts by Dr. Mustapha Ben-Hamouche

Taxidermy Vs Urban Dynamics

THE Paradox OF Preservation In Urban & Architectural  Heritage

Dr. Mustapha Ben-Hamouche

Urban and architectural heritage in the Islamic world is gradually becoming an object of preservation policies due to the ever increasing cultural awareness. Old buildings and cities are believed to be the fortress of culture that helps societies preserve their identities and face the eradicating globalization. However, preservation policies, mostly based on the intervention of the State, protective measures and the freezing of building against any change and alterations, are  often in contradiction  with the urban dynamics and incremental process that generated such  cities and buildings. Considering  the  emptiness of  these cities and buildings from their original content,  such policies become, in a sense,  like an action of  taxidermy that “reproduces a life-like three-dimensional representation of a dead  animal for permanent display”.

Architectural Design as a Place-Making Process

Mustapha Ben-Hamouche

Teaching Architecture; CAAD and the lasting Modernism!

Despite the fall of modernism and the rise of many post modern movements that praise cultural context such as vernacularism, neo-traditionalism and regionalism architectural education is still maintaining a lot of the modern traditions especially in architectural education (Ozkan S. 2005, Frampton K.1986, Steel J. 1997).

One major deficiency of modern architecture is its failure to respond to local considerations and context, and the belief of its predecessors in the universal location-less solutions. Factors such as climate, geographic conditions, and culture and tradition ways of living were often neglected.

In the Arab Gulf countries the abundance of financial resources and the booming but imported IT made of  the countries large laboratories of unusual forms and bizarre projects that praise “creativity” and disregard the local circumstances[i].



Projects were mostly iconic and were developed at an abstract world that is in the minds of architect and in the design workshop. They are then parachuted on site with a few modifications. Often sites are rather modified or remodeled to accommodate the idea of the architect.

Projects are often made to please the ego of the designers, glorify their names or that of the political leaders. CAAD in this perspective seems to be the most efficient graphical as well as design tool in supporting the wave of iconic projects trend, and sorting out the desired miraculous projects. Strangeness is thus become a sign of creativity and success.


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