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Gladioli Claude Monet
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Gladioli (21.71) — Claude Monet

The Sustainable Identity Quest. The Urban Environment, Society, Nature and Spirituality

Friday, March 12, 2010 |6:30 PM

  • For Everyone

A lecture by Nader Ardalan

Today, the quest for a sustainable identity in the urban environment has been impacted by the conjunction of three, major forces: global climate change; the loss of an indigenous Islamic identity due to hyper-development projects; and the “silver lining” potential of the world economic meltdown causing a hiatus in development. Meanwhile, current planning, design, construction, real estate practices, and building models in the developing countries show serious shortcomings due to high carbon emissions from excessive energy demand and desalinated water consumption, urban pollution, waste and traffic congestion. Additionally, there is missing of a sense of place, Genus Loci; a lack of community cohesion and urban quality; no human scale and a loss of any indigenous sense of cultural heritage and identity. This talk will outline a conceptual and general design framework within which these diverse subjects might be holistically placed and common ground criteria established for their wholesome integration and resolution. The lecture will conclude with selected examples of designs in the GCC countries of the Persian Gulf region that have responded to sustainable identity quests. 

Nader Ardalan, President, Ardalan Associates, is an architect of international recognition, awarded for his ecologically sensitive and culturally relevant design approach.  He holds a Masters in Architecture from Harvard, where he is Fellow of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Project Director of the New Arab Urbanism in the Gulf, a Kennedy School Middle East Initiative research grant. He was a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and is the co-author of The Masjid Al Haram and The Sense of Unity plus numerous other publications and scholarly articles.

A reception in Kresge Court for AIAF members will follow the lecture.