Dr Samir Mahmoud is an Assistant Professor of Architectural History and Theory at the Lebanese American University (LAU). He is also director of the Mediterranean Cultural Academy (MCA), an unusual study and travel academy promoting academic and cultural travel in the Arab World. Between 2013 – 2016 he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Khalili Centre for Research in Art & Material Culture, University of Oxford (2012-2013) and Agha Khan Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT (2012).
The Architecture of Limits & the Limits of Architecture: Modern architecture in search of a soul
This lecture is about the necessity and virtue of limits in architecture and the limitations of architecture when this important fact is forgotten. Modernism gave birth to open-ended innovation, solipsistic form, and infinite space; more concerned with utility, internal consistency, and innovations for innovation’s sake than with harmony, balance, and historical continuity. This has had disastrous consequences for the built environment in the Islamic world that has uncritically appropriated such an ‘ideology.’ The distinction between space and place, the problems of imitation and innovation, and the question of memory and place, particularly in the Islamic context, are discussed, as well as the affordances for a meaningful existence. Architectural Typology is defended as a language that can provide coherence and shared meaning in the built environment.