Category Archives: Medinanet

Avenue Mosque in Kuwait

The mosque, Avenues Masjid,  is said to be designed by Zahad Hadid for a commercial area in Kuwait city. No reliable source confirmed such information. It is mostly displayed in some Kuwait websites.

Medinanet open discussion on this project in the light of the Islamic Architecture ethics and principles.

Its  outer form, that is the only part displayed for the public  is very controversial. The design of a mosque dictates a multidirection approach that responds to various requirements such as urban setting, internal functionality, spiritual values, cultural context, etc.

A mosque is mostly an inward looking space where most activities are taking place in isolation from the outerworld. Material aspect of mosques thus becomes secondary in the design of mosques. Does this formal approach  turn architecture, especially when it comes to religious buildings, into a matter of visual consumption?

Prayer in mosques is conventionally made in parallel rows that are set behind the Imam. The length of first rows is recommended in Islam. A columnless space also helps in insuring the continuity of these rows. The Qibla wall is recommended to be opaque and simple. Can such a curved form fit the function of the mosque that is mostly dictated by the mode of the Islamic prayer, conteemplation and spirituality?

In relation to context, most mosques were and still are nodes in the city where roads and streets converge to them. They were entirely integrated in the urban fabrics and only known by their minarets and gates. Their courtyards were surrounded by shops and public open spaces that generated  community life.  Doesn’t  this trend of isolated pieces of architecture accelerate  the desintegration of cities and the continuity  of the modernism spirit that is based on competitivity, and hegemony of architects names?

Is creatvity  shifitng architecture to a mere game of forms and subjective play of desires?

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Some Lessons from the Holy Qur’an on Housing (3)

Dr. Spahic Omer

4. The house as a microcosm of culture and civilization

The house is a microcosm of culture and civilization because the primary elements of society: individuals organized along with the family lines, are born, raised and educated in them. The strength of the institutions of the family and house denotes the strength of a society and the verve of its cultural and civilizational agenda. Similarly, frailties in the institutions of the family and house denote frailties in a society and in its cultural and civilizational agenda.

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Some Lessons from the Holy Qur’an on Housing (2)

Dr. Spahic Omer

2. The house and the subject of privacy

Islam is very firm in calling for privacy protection. However, as one is required to safeguard his privacy and that of his family, he is likewise required to respect the privacy of others. Deliberate invasion of one’s privacy by whatever means and degree is deemed a serious offence with far-reaching consequences. It falls under the category of inflicting harm or damage (darar) on others, which cannot be tolerated in Islam.

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Some Lessons from the Holy Qur’an on Housing

Dr. Spahic Omer



In this paper, I shall discuss some major aspects of housing which the Holy Qur’an, the primary source of Islam, deals with, directly or indirectly. Those references are deemed very crucial as they constitute part of Allah’s revelation to man, as well as because they were aimed at contributing to the cleansing of the nascent Islamic society from all the erroneous beliefs and practices that had resulted from people’s earlier rejection of truth and its ways, replacing them with the new ones instead, which were inspired and guided by Allah’s direct intervention, i.e., revelation.

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Some Lessons From Prophet Muhammad In Architecture

The Case Of His Mosque In Madinah

 Dr. Spahic Omer


This paper discusses some lessons in architecture that can be gleaned using the Prophet’s Mosque in Madīnah as a case study. The paper deals with the following main themes: the meaning and significance of Islamic architecture; function–form relationship; respect for the environment; cleanliness; comprehensive excellence; promoting just social interactions; safety; and the relationship between the indigenous and foreign influences in the spheres of Islamic architecture. Every theme discussed signifies a permanent feature of Islamic architecture which derives its strength and merit from the Prophet’s experiences. Hence, a close analogy is always drawn in the paper between those architectural features and the Prophet. 

 Keywords: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)[1], Madinah, the Prophet’s mosque, Islamic Architectur


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The First Built Environment Development Symposium

Real Estate and Housing sustainability Organized by College of Architecture and Planning, University of Dammam , Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The First Built Environment Development Symposium: Real Estate Development and Housing Sustainability aims to reach future sustainable real estate and housing development which maintains the attained achievements while leading the physical development of the country in a scientific and practical manner away from individual interpretations and arbitrary decisions and resolve the problem of high cost real estate.  The Symposium will take place on  17-19 Zul Qaedah 1431 corresponding to 25-27 October 2010. The events will run in two places: in the College of Architecture and Planning and in Dammam Chamber of Commerce building. For more information see:

the 4th International Conference on Built Environment in Developing Countries

The School of Housing Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia will organise the 4th International Conference on Built Environment in Developing Countries on 1-2 December 2010.  The 4th ICBEDC 2010 aims to cover a variety of topics related to built environment in developing countries. Presenters and participants are advised to submit their abstract before June 30, 2010 via email: or fax: +604-6564067. For further information, please email to and refer to conference’s website:

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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