Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan's First Female Architect's, Interview with Dwell Magazine


As profiled in our "Women of Influence" roundup in our July/August 2012 issue, Yasmeen Lari is the closest thing Pakistan has to a design superhero. After years working as an architect, designing buildings for a wide range of clients, from corporate campuses to low-income housing, she left private practice in order to focus on issues close to her heart, including developing sustainable and vernacular disaster relief housing and dedicating herself to writing, research, and her work with the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, the ambitious nonprofit she developed with her husband. Here, we ask her  questions about her architectural work, her philanthropical passions, and the unique challenges of working in her homeland.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Maryam Eskandari Interview with BBC

Muslim American Move Away from Minaret

By Jane O'Brien
BBC News, Washington

In post 9/11 America the construction of new mosques in the US has sometimes sparked controversy and even confrontation. Is that why some new Muslim houses of worship are being built without the most recognisable features of Islamic architecture - minarets and domes?

Architect Maryam Eskandari, former associate director of the American Institute of Architects, is touring the US with a photo exhibition illustrating the transition of American mosques from traditional to postmodern design. She says Islamic Architecture has long been subject to personal interpretation and set in a cultural and historical context. "The Kaaba itself doesn't have a dome, it doesn't have a minaret - that was built later on," she says, speaking of the Mecca building hat is Islam's most holy site.

"Its just a cube. So traditionally speaking that is the idea of Islamic Architecture."
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Irfan Rydhan Writes About the Top 10 Ways Not to Build a Mosque

July 6, 2012
Here are the top 10 items which the American Muslim Community should do if they do NOT want to build a new Mosque:
10. If your community finds a good sized piece of land (or an existing building) at a good price, then don’t look into the zoning or check to see if a religious assembly can legally be held there!  You can figure out the zoning later, after you have bought the land and invested a lot of the community’s money. Getting a legal use permit is a waste of time and money.  We don’t have to do that back home, so why do it here right?
9. If the site is sloped, don’t try to find out how much it would cost to grade the site (make it flat) for a new building.  The cost of grading will just scare you away and you will miss out on buying a nice piece of property at a really good price (and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?)
8. If the site is narrow or has little space for parking, don’t worry about it.  You can figure out parking after you have bought the property at a very good price.  Adding a parking garage or underground parking is definitely do-able.  It’s not that expensive, and they both cost about the same anyways. You can always tell people in the community to carpool to the mosque.  Don’t let this property get away – Buy It Now!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Arab Spring, In Diaspora

In early October 2011, as more than 400 young Arabs from different parts of the world steadily filed into a convention center in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada. Their minds were teeming with inspiring words of Al Barghouti, the success stories of Maryam Eskandari, award winning Iranian-American architect and Dima Al Ashram from Rawwad, non-profit organization that empowers marginalized communities; as well as other successful Arab scientist, engineers, and activist who spoke at the summit.

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