Diwan Al-Mimar
The Profession’s Vanguards: Arab Architects in Mandate Jerusalem
Dr. Nadi Abusaada

Thursday 21 December 2023 | 6:00 PM | Beit Beiruti

Writings on architecture in Palestine and the Arab region in the first half of the twentieth century have often focused on the legacies of colonial architects and planners in shaping Arab cities and built environments. In this talk, Nadi Abusaada highlights findings from his forthcoming book on the work and legacies of a pioneering generation of Arab architects, specifically in the context of Mandate Jerusalem. He traces the professional trajectories of Palestinian architects and their development from the late Ottoman era and their continuities into the British Mandate period. Although these architects were working within the British colonial system, they nonetheless were able to forge their own understandings of the architectural profession and modern architecture. Importantly, they were not working in isolation. They considered themselves part of a broader quest for developing the architectural profession regionally within the Arab world. 

This talk sheds light on the transnational connections that linked the first milieu of Palestinian architects with their counterparts in the Arab world during the first half of the twentieth century. Dr. Nadi also speaks about the profoundly important First Arab Exhibition in Palestine, 1931-34.

The talk is in English. 

Dr. Nadi Abusaada is an architect and a historian. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich. Nadi completed his Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees in architecture at the University of Cambridge. Before moving to Zurich, Nadi was the Aga Khan Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Architecture + Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Nadi is also the co-founder of Arab Urbanism and an editorial contributor at The Architectural Review. He also curated and contributed to research-based exhibitions in Venice, Zurich, Montreal, Dubai and Ramallah.