• From Propagation to Negotiation of Ideologies in the Architectural Design Studio

      Abdelmonem, Mohamed Gamal (Inderscience, 2016-01-31)
      This paper investigates modes of active communications and propagation of ideas and ideologies in architectural education in general and the design studio in particular. Based on survey of students' opinions, modes of tutorials, assessment and production, it investigates the extent to which students enjoy freedom of choice, liberal thinking and ability to develop independently from their design tutors. While challenging current modes of one-to-one design tutorial paradigms, it experiments with alternative means of tutor-free and student-led workshops, where students are able to develop their conceptual ideas in the absence of their tutors at an early stage of design development. It analyzes the process of practical implementation of interactive tools in architectural education which places the diversity of students' cultural experiences, contextual awareness and individual interests as a crucial resource for design inquiry. The cyclical development of interactive learning strategy is examined through two settings: first, it discusses ideology-driven design tutorials that influence students' conceptual ideas; second, it reports on a liberal approach to the design studio, where students are given larger freedom to define their own position and intuition towards the practice of architecture, both in England and in Northern Ireland.
    • The abject dream of neo-capital: Capitalist urbanism, architecture and endangered liveability of the Middle East’s modern cities

      Abdelmonem, Mohamed Gamal (Open House International, 2016-06-01)
      This article interrogates the notion of “New Capital” in the context of the hegemony of neoliberal urbanism in the Arab cities in the Middle East from historical, socio-economic and spatial perspectives. It reviews the historical narratives of new centres and districts in Cairo, Beirut and evolving capitalist urbanism and architecture in the Arabian Peninsula in search of elitist dream of neo-liberal urbanism. It offers a comprehensive analysis to the notions of neoLiberal ideology and urban policies, neoCapital city as catalyst for nation-building and neoCapitalist architecture as reproduction of clone structures of western models. The paper focuses its critical analysis on the aspects of liveability in the contemporary Arab City and its socio-spatial structures and everyday urban reality. It reports on urban narratives based on archival records, urban projects and investigation of governmental accounts to determine aspects of success and failure in projects of new capital cities and districts. It argues that cities are essentially social-spatial system in which hierarchy is a fundamental element, the lack of which determines abject failure of their anticipated vision.
    • The modern ordinary: Changing culture of living in Egypt’s traditional quarters at the turn of the twentieth Century

      Abdelmonem, Mohamed Gamal (Taylor & Francis, 2016-05-26)
      Having experienced social and political structures of the nineteenth century Europe, western-educated Egyptian elite used public institutions to force new legislative structures and procedures that ruled out traditional housing forms and spatial systems. This essay detects direct and indirect impact of these changes that informed the spatial change of modern living in Egypt in the first quarter of the twentieth century. It offers analysis of socio-spatial practices and change in ordinary Cairenes’ modes of everyday living, using social routine and interaction to explain spatial systems and changing house forms during the first quarter of the twentieth century. In doing so, the essay utilized archival documents, accounts, formal decrees and novels of the time as well as conducting survey of house forms and spatial organizations in Old Cairo.