American Univesity of Beirut

Architecture student exhibition: another highlight of 50th anniversary celebrations

​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications,

As part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) program at the Department of Architecture and Design (ArD) at AUB and in conjunction with the Beirut Design Week 2018, ArD presented an exhibition of final year thesis projects developed by the department’s 50th graduating class this year. The 2018 Architecture Final Year Thesis Exhibition was on display for a week at the Bechtel Study Space of the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA).

Organized by Professors Howayda Al-Harithy and Carla Aramouny, the exhibition displayed a selection of final year students’ thesis research projects, demonstrating the diversity of subjects, approaches, and methods engaged within each thesis. Displayed was research work that was developed through two sequenced courses (Design Thesis I and II) into advanced architecture outputs, supervised thoroughly by their advisors―ten this year―and regularly presented in common juries with feedback from panels of thesis advisors. 

The opening event of the exhibition featured reflections on design thesis by recent AUB architecture alumni as well as those more experienced in the field. Speakers were Karim Nader (Class of 1999), Mustapha Jundi (Class of 2000), Leyla Alsayyed Husein (Class of 2016), and Mohamad Nahle (Class of 2018).

"The projects presented in this year’s exhibition were selected for their strengths and their diversity of topics, ranging from Karm El Zeitoun pyhsical interventions, to hybrid architectural experiments, Golan Heights bird migration station, and new envisioned Aleppo Souks, among others,” said Dr. Carla Aramouny. “They showcase the students’ year-long endeavor on a critical research subject and their creative capacity to go beyond the norm to develop thorough and inventive architectural projects.” 

The titles of the selected projects that were on display were: '185 En-counters in Karm El-Zeitoun' by Mohamad Nahle; 'You, My Other Self' by Reem Nassour; 'A Prey at Pray, a Cosmic Irony' by Racha Doughman; 'The Labyrinth, a Topological Exploration of the Salima Serail' by Lea Ramadan; 'Edge Effect: Design for Eco-Activism' by Karen Madi; 'On the Borders of Transience' by Sally Itani; 'Colony Sentinels of Toxic Territories' by Serge Saab; 'Between the Citadel and Souks /Aleppo Syria' by Karim Hamouie; 'Cloud Line: Jerusalem in Limbo' by Luzan Al-Munayr; 'Pixelized Green Urbanscape' by Emil Abou Hamdan; 'Be Right Back' by Mira Al Jawahiry; and 'Super Heterotopia' by Helene Chartouni.

Further AUB recognition was presented to some of the participating projects. The Areen Architecture Award for Design Excellence was awarded to Mohamad Nahle, Lea Ramadan, and Reem Nassour for their projects. Also, the Dean’s Award for Creative Achievement was awarded to Racha Doughman.

“The diversity that comes with the independence with which the students select their thesis is noteworthy,” said Dr. Howayda Al-Harithy. “It is demonstrated with the exhibited work. The theses celebrate a diversity of topics, sites tackled by the students, as well as innovative approaches to design. Topics engaged with personal journeys, iconic figures, infrastructure, heterotopias, dreams, Ashoura processions, questioning building types, intervening in historic cities, or activating archeological sites pursued in Beirut, Petra, and Venice, and as far as Mars while applying diverse design methods and concepts from narrative, to acupuncture, surgical interventions, plug-ins, and cinematic architecture.” 

The Architecture 50th Anniversary: A committee of 12 ArD alumni as well as full and part time faculty members put together a celebratory program that marks an important milestone of 50 graduating classes with a Bachelor of Architecture from 1968 to 2018 (a total of 979 alumni). The first graduating class in 1968 included 10 alumni and the 2018 class includes 41. This exhibition celebrated the department’s 50th batch of graduates, Class of 2018.​​

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