World Architecture for Equal Dignity (WArchitectureED)


•  Ashraf Salama, Director and Cocoordinator

•  Koichi Nagashima

•  List of other people contributing


*News! We had a session on environmental psychology at our 2008 conference in Oslo*

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not to be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We believe that good scholarship has multiple benefits, including its positive impact on policy and decision making, while raising public awareness at the grass root level.

The idea of this initiative goes back to the mid-eighties when Evelin Lindner spent much time in Egypt, from 1984-1991, and learned about Egyptian architects, such as Ramses Wissa-Wassef and Hassan Fathy, who indeed attempted to create humane habitat. Their work was nationally and internationally recognized as dignifying under-represented local communities. The work of other inspirational leaders such as Henry Sanoff and Samuel Mockbee extends our understanding of the ongoing human endeavors to improve living environment in human settlements.

In 1991, Lindner spent much time on the tiny island Flores, part of the Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She was saddened to see that many were ashamed of their old hand-laid houses and dreamed of replacing them with "modern" concrete boxes. See her articles in the local newspaper, on Flores, on the village Faja, and her project description for the development of sustainable tourism. Please see the project of Cuada, that has subsequently been developed in the spirit laid out by Lindner by her friends Teotonia and Carlos da Silva.

When we look around today, we all see more or less the same architecture everywhere; Western architecture. Even where it has not yet arrived, in remote corners of the world, it will soon be there. In some cases people aspire to it while they cannot avoid it in other cases. Read a section that addresses this topic from Evelin Lindner's book manuscript (2003). Coupled with this trend, we are witnessing a number of phenomenal and continuous changes in the structure of contemporary societies, the emergence of housing problems and squatter settlements, the deterioration of the built heritage, and the rising complexity of large structures and new building types. While these phenomena continue to exist, we would like to raise a number of critical issues that pose themselves on the map of academic research and professional practices: how to create better environments for poor societies; how to involve people affected by design and planning decisions in the process of making those decisions, how to protect the built heritage, how to deal with problems associated with special populations that form major parcels of contemporary societies; the children, the disabled, the poor, and the under-represented.

Our World Architecture for Equal Dignity-WAED idea is a response to these questions and is part of our quest for crossing boundaries between different disciplines. Our ultimate goal is to build bridges between architecture, psychology, and social sciences within the framework of equal dignity and humiliation studies. To reach this goal, we envision a number of objectives and supporting activities to take place over the next years. The activities shall involve scholars representing different specialties and cultural backgrounds. See here useful links.

Architecture makes tangible meanings; it creates metaphors of the ideals and beliefs of a group (Rapoport, 1979). It is created in a field of tension between reason, emotion, and intuition. It is the manifestation of the ability to conceptualize and execute the idea of building rooted in humane tradition (Salama, 1995). Concomitantly, our belief is that cultural diversity should receive more respect and attention and should be integral to architectural education and practice and truly manifested in the built environment. Read a book chapter on Incorporating Knowledge about Cultural Diversity into Architectural Pedagogy (1999), by Ashraf Salama. In this respect, our belief is translated into several thematic issues we intend to address in our planned activities including:

•  The dialectic relationship between cultures and built environments;
•  The role of social and behavioral research in creating responsive environments;
•  Incorporating and processing behavioral and psychological information into design and architectural practices;
•  Affordable housing mechanisms;
•  Collaborative planning and user involvement;
•  Development of local and small communities;
•  Learning environments and their impact on children behaviour and cognitive development;
•  Employee centred design approaches in the workplace;
•  Protection of tangible and intangible heritages;
•  Research priorities for addressing human dignity in architecture;
•  The training and education of future responsive architects.

New Announcements

•  New Book! Design Studio Pedagogy: Horizons for the Future, by Ashraf M. Salama and Nicholas Wilkinson (editors), Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, UK: The Urban International Press (2007). ISBN: 1-872811-09-04. The Urban International Press, P.O Box 74, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE9 5UZ, UK. e-mail Carol Nicholson: carol.nicholson[@] for more information.

•  Ashraf Salama is the Chief-Editor of the new Journal ArchNet-IJAR, an interdisciplinary scholarly online publication of architecture, planning, and built environment studies. Please see here an outline and the submission notes to authors. The journal aims at establishing a bridge between theory and practice in the fields of architectural and design research, and urban planning and built environment studies. It reports on the latest research findings innovative approaches for creating responsive environments, with special focus on developing countries. The journal has two international boards; advisory and editorial. The range of knowledge and expertise of the boards members ensures high quality scholarly papers and allows for a comprehensive academic review of contributions that span wide spectrum of issues, methods, theoretical approach and architectural and development practices.

•  Open House International: Call for Contributions for a Special Issue on Ecolodges and Eco-Tourism: Planning and Designing Environmentally Friendly Tourist Facilities. Guest Editor: Ashraf Salama
Click here:
and here:

New Publications

• Transformative Pedagogy in Architecture and Urbanism
by Ashraf M. Salama, Umbau Verlag, Solingen, Germany, 2010. See also This book is a new, updated, re-written edition of New Trends in Architectural Education: Designing the Design Studio.

• Sustainability / Trans-disciplinarity: A Concern for People and Environments Between Confusing Terminology and Outdated Approaches
By Ashraf M. Salama, 2009
This essay is an extended version of an earlier article published in the Bulletin of IAPS — The International Association of People-Environment Studies, Spring 2002 1.
Preamble: There is a great deal of discussion in design, architecture, and construction circles on creating sustainable environments, and there are also widely varying opinions as to exactly how sustainability can be introduced and approached. Current debates indicate that the term encompasses more than the physical and economic aspects. It includes social, cultural, and behavioral dimensions. Observing contemporary architectural practices, however, reveals that there are two major missing dimensions. On the one hand, there is an emphasis on the physical aspects of sustainability, while socio-cultural and socio-behavioral dimensions are oversimplified. On the other hand, there is a heavy reliance on top-down policies and strategies with the aim of developing guidelines to be implemented for the betterment of environments. Strikingly, this takes place at the expense of other bottom-up strategies that aim at sensitizing users toward understanding the key issues underlying sustainability. These two missing dimensions — socio-behavioural dimensions, and bottom-up strategies — offer a rationale for the professional community everywhere in the world to use sustainability as a term in their daily discourse. Nevertheless, even while talking about it, they do not yet use sustainability or utilize it in their daily practices. This article presents a critical voice on the current developments and efforts in dealing with sustainability of built environments, by adopting an alternative comprehensive approach that places high value on "trans-disciplinarity". This is achieved by adapting previous efforts developed in the field, and by addressing users as key players in the process of creating sustainable environments.

• Yellow Urban Alternatives for a Green and Orange Context Belfast, Northern Ireland
By Ashraf M. Salama, 2009
Belfast, the home of the Titanic, is a city evolving out of a history of conflict and distress. It is witnessing continuous civil and urban transformations; a transition from a troubled urban entity to a lively vibrant city. When I went to the city about 7 years ago for a short visit, the city was starting to get out of its sleepy, scary, and dark image—from what I felt and was told. Since March 2008 however, I was attracted by Belfast’s new image as a tourist destination with historic depth, unparalleled in many cities. I was also ensnared by the idea that a city I have seen a few years ago has changed beyond recognition and keeps changing for the better...
Please read all at

• Viewpoints-Special Edition on Architecture and Urbanism in the Middle East, a publication of the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC.

•  A Typological Perspective: The Impact of Cultural Paradigmatic Shifts on the Evolution of Courtyard Houses in Cairo
By Ashraf Salama in the Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, Middle East Technical University. Vol. 23, 2006, Issue (1). METU-JFA, Ankara, Turkey.

•  Learning from the Environment: Evaluation Research and Experience Based Architectural Pedagogy
By Ashraf Salama in the Journal of the Center for Education in the Built Environment-CEBE Transactions, University of Cardiff, Vol. 3, 2006, Issue (1), Cardiff, United Kingdom. ISSN 1745-0322.

•  A Lifestyle Theories Approach for Affordable Housing Research in Saudi Arabia
By Ashraf Salama in the Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, 2006, Issue (1), United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE.

•  Symbolism and Identity in the Eyes of Arabia’s Budding Professionals
By Dr. Ashraf Salama in LAYERMAG ... An Online Magazine on Architecture, Art, and Design, and Media Studies.
LAYER would like to present Dr. Ashraf Salama's paper on Symbolism and Identity in the Eyes of Arabia's Budding Professionals. Dr. Ashraf Salama is Professor of Architecture and was the recipient of the first award of the International Architecture Design Studio, University of Montreal, Canada, 1990, and in 1998 he won the Paul Chemetove Prize for his project on Architecture and the Eradication of Poverty, a United Nations International Ideas Competition.

•  Design Studio Teaching Practices: Between Traditional, Revolutionary, and Virtual Models
With Guest Editor Ashraf Salama, Ph.D., Professor of Architecture, in Open House International (OHI) (Academic Refereed Journal), Special Issue, Volume 31, No.3, September 2006 (Contact "Carol Nicholson"

•  A Process Oriented Design Pedagogy: KFUPM Sophomore Studio
By Ashraf Salama in the Journal of the Center for Education in the Built Environment-CEBE Transactions, University of Cardiff, Vol. 2, 2005, Issue (2), Cardiff, United Kingdom. ISSN 1745-0322.

•  PLADEW: A Tool for Teachers Awareness of School Building Sustainability: The Case of Carmel School, Mathews, North Carolina
By Ashraf Salama in the Global Built Environment Review-GBER, International Center for Development and Environment Studies ICDES, Vol. 5, 2005, Issue (1), Edge Hill, Lancashire, United Kingdom. ISSN 1474 6824.

•  53 Papers in Social Architecture: 1965-2005
By Henry Sanoff, Aardvark Publishing Company.

•  Managing Urban Disasters
With Guest Editor Christine Wamsler, Housing Development & Management (HDM), Lund University, Sweden in Open House International (OHI) , Volume 31, No.1, March 2006.

•  Website that includes Ashraf Salama's work and his wife's work

•  Architecture as Language of Peace: Democracy and Collaborative Design Processes
A Short Course by Dr. Ashraf Salama.
In January 2006, Professor Salama taught short course as part of the fourth year studio projects (second Semester (2005-2006) at the university of Napoli in collaboration with Professor Donatella Mazzoleni. The course involves a series of lectures on contemporary discourse on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Architecture and includes a design workshop that introduce design games as a mechanism for collective creativity. some of the issues addressed in this course are:
Inquiry based Architectural Design: Directions for the Future
Socio Cultural Factors in Housing Design: cased from the Arab World
Non Verbal-Visual Voices from the Arab World: Identity and Meaning in Contemporary Arabic Architecture
Architectural Pedagogy: Changing Perspectives in a Changing World
Learning Environments: Shaping and Coloring a Bright Future.

•  Patterns of Change in Work Environments: A Process-Employee Centered Paradigm
Introductory Speech given by Ashraf Salama at the 8th International Conference of IAHH-the International Association for Humane Habitat- Sustainable and Humane Workplaces. Mumbay, India, January 27-29, 2006.

•  Shores of the Mediterranean: Architecture as a Language of Peace
Co-edited by Ashraf Salama with colleagues from Napoli, Italy, Donatella Mazzoleni, Giuseppe Anzani, Marichela Sepe, and Maria Maddalena Simone, 2005. Intra Moenia, Rome and Naples, Italy: Edizioni.

•  Skill-Based / Knowledge-Based Architectural Pedagogies: An Argument for Creating Humane Environments
Paper given by Ashraf Salama at the 7th International Conference on Humane Habitat-ICHH-05 – The International Association of Humane Habitat IAHH, Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai, India, January 29-31, 2005.

•  Glocal Approach Toward Architecture of the Future
Article written by Koichi Nagashima in 1995 for the UIA Work programme "Architecture of the Future," but published in June 1999 for presentation at the XX UIA Beijing Congress, as a joint publication by Union Internationale des Architectes and the Japan Institute of Architects.

•  Cité manifeste à Mulhouse, France
A project for low-cost loose-fit houses with gardens in Mulhouse. Drawn up in conjunction with four other teams of architects - Shigeru Ban & Jean de Gastines; Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal; Duncan Lewis, Potin & Block; and Matthieu Poitevin - the scheme amounts to a manifesto for a more enlightened approach to subsidized housing in France.




•  Ashraf Salama, Head and Co-coordinator
•  Koichi Nagashima

•  Ishmael Jay Taylor, Member (see his inquiries on Hassan Fathy)

We are pleased to invite architects, planners, engineers, builders, policy makers, business persons, social scientists, psychologists, scientists, technologists, artists, activists and those concerned with issues of people and built environments to join this project for transformation of our human settlements into a more humane environment.



List of people contributing

Call by Ashraf Salama



Hassan Fathy

Book Lindner

Other Links