Occidentalism: A Middle Eastern Approach on a European Theme of Urban Design

By Giovanna Potesta and Mohammad Al-Jassar.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 1978, when Edward Said, published Orientalism, the West was close to the end of a period of nostalgic interest into the Middle Eastern Culture. There was a recongized view of Orientalism and all it implies. But there is also a reverse, the way the East looks at the West. J. Carrier published in 1995 Occidentalism. A positive interpretation of Occidentalism is fruitful in Architecture. We have experimented with this approach with the class of students of the Architecture Department, 3rd year, of Kuwait University. The problem presented was an urban design theme, focused on the redesign of a piece of a dense built area in Florence. The students offered a range of varied proposals giving the project their interpretation of Italianity. Additional consideration has to be given to the fact that they didn’t visit the city, so their knowledge of the site is absorbed through their instructors and the information they got from different sources, not last Google Earth.

Keywords: Occidentalism in Architecture, Orientalism in Architecture, Urban Design Strategies

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.141-148. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 793.285KB).

Dr. Giovanna Potesta

Assistant Professor, College of Engineering and Petroleum, Architecture Department, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Dr. Giovanna Potestà received a PhD in Architecture and Urban Design, University of Florence in 2005. Since 1995, he has been an instructor in Architecture Design and Theory, History of Architecture, University of Florence. His research activity is focused on Architecture design and city form. Recently he has served as an assistant professor at Kuwait University, Architecture Department.

Dr. Mohammad Al-Jassar

Adjunt Professor, College of Engineering and Petroleum, Architecture Department, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Dr. Al-Jassar received his PhD in Architecture, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, May 2009. From 1997-2006 he was a teaaching assistant at Kuwait University. Presently he is a Design Studio Instructor, Kuwait University.