1st Edition

Influence and Resistance in Post-Independence Egyptian Architecture

    222 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is an effort towards an in-depth understanding of the architectural discourse in Egypt developed over more than eight decades. It offers a distinctive theoretical interpretation of the forces shaping the kaleidoscopic shifts in Egyptian architecture through the analysis of the micro space of architectural representation of twentieth century Egyptian architecture. Predicated on historical contextualization, theoretical integration, and global conceptualization, Edward Said’s analytical method of contrapuntal reading and the spatial discourse analysis posited by C. Greig Crysler are lucidly assimilated to generate insights into various voices within the architectural discourse in Egypt. The analysis and critique of two important professional magazines, al-‘Imarah (1939–1959) and ‘Alam al-Bena’a (1980–2000), which shaped the collective psyche of both the academic and professional communities in Egypt and the wider region, coupled with the exploration of two other short-lived magazines, M‘imaryah (1982–1989) Medina (1998–2002), and other less-influential professional magazines, discloses the structure of attitude and reference or the exclusions and inclusions that defined the boundaries of the space of the discourse.

    Influence and Resistance in Post-Independence Egyptian Architecture paves the way to genuinely debate a yet to mature twenty-first century’s architectural discourse in Egypt. This book is a key resource for architects, architectural historians, and critical theorists and will appeal to academics and to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students in architectural history and theory and Middle East and Global South studies.

    List of illustrations



    Chapter 1:

    Influence, Resistance, and the Spaces of Local Discourse

    • Influence and Resistance: Two Untold Anecdotes
    • Revealing Origins of Influence and Resistance
    • Defining the Boundaries of Influence and Resistance
    • Local Discourse: Contrapuntality of Voices



    Chapter 2:

    Global Conceptions and Incentives of Local Departures

    • Resurgence of Local Discourse: Nationalism Complexion
    • Modernity between Local and Global
    • Multiple Modernisms: Discursive Identities



    Chapter 3:

    Historical Voice: Reoccurrence of Influence and Resistance

    • Intense Influence: West Comes East
    • Discursive Influence
    • Embracing Resistance
    • Interminable Past



    Chapter 4:

    Western Voice: Intertwined Attitude of Reference

    • On the Western Canon
    • On Their Own Terms: The Eastern Space from the Western Place
    • Attitude of Reference: Institutionalizing ‘Identity’
    • Transgressing Cultural Boundaries



    Chapter 5:

    Configuration of the Local Discourse (1930s-1970s)

    • Contrapuntality and the Local Discourse

    Influence and Resistance

    • Al-‘Imarah (1939-1959)

    Al-‘Imarah’s Space Boundaries

    Attitude of Reference

    Demise of al-‘Imarah and the Dispersion of Discourse

    • The Sixties’ and Seventies

    Beyond the Boundaries of the Sixties Discourse

    The Sixties’ Attitude of Reference

    The Seventies: Collective Resistance



    Chapter 6:

    Reconfiguration of Space (1980s: 2000s)

    • Rebirth of Local Architectural Discourse
    • ‘Alam al-Bena’a عالم البناء (1980- 2000)

    The Contemporary Local Voice

    The Historical Voice

    The Western Voice: The Voyage in

    The Editorial Voice: Reformulating a Local Theory

    • Al- M‘imaryah (1982-1989)
    • Medina (1998-2002)



    Chapter 7:

    An Outlook into the 21st Century: The Rationale of a Decolonized Discourse

    • Overlapping Territories of Influence and Resistance
    • Imperialism from Within and the Endless Past
    • ‘Influences’ and ‘Resistances’ in the Twenty First Century





    Marwa M. El-Ashmouni is Assistant Professor in the Department of Architectural Engineering, Beni-Suef University, Egypt. El-Ashmouni earned her PhD from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and her master’s degree from Ball State University, USA. She worked as a tutor and a research assistant in both universities. El-Ashmouni was awarded the University of Adelaide Medal of Research Excellence (2013). Her interests include historiography of postcolonial architecture with special focus on the conditions generated by the intersection of decolonizing and nationalist policies. Her work focuses on cultural mobility, migration, diaspora, and cross-cultural encounters. She has authored numerous publications in the field of architectural history and theory. Her publications include a book chapter in Christiane Gruber, ed. Islamic Architecture on the Move (2016), entitled “Mobility and Ambivalences: Negotiating Architecture Identities during Khedive Ismail’s Reign (1863–879),” and an article titled “Interrogating Egyptian Nationalism: Transcultural Architecture at the Ragged Edge of Empire” in Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research (2018). Her latest work includes a recent article titled “Contemporary Architecture of Cairo (1990–020): Mutational Plurality of ‘Isms’, Decolonialism, and Cosmopolitanism” in Open House International (2020); a joint-authored book: Architectural Excellence in Islamic Societies (2020); and an article titled “Gazing at Egypt’s Museums: Toward a New Internationalism” in Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research (2021).

    Ashraf M. Salama is Professor of Architecture and recently appointed Head of the School of Architecture and Built Environment at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He was the Head of the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, UK (2014–2020). He holds a BSc, MSc, and PhD in architecture and has received his education and training in Al-Azhar University in Egypt and North Carolina State University, United States. With wide experience in academic research, teaching, and professional consulting he has led three schools of architecture in Egypt, Qatar, and the United Kingdom, two of which he has founded. He has published over 170 papers and book chapters and has authored and co-edited 14 books. He is the UIA 2017 recipient of Jean Tschumi Prize for Excellence in Architectural Education and Criticism. Salama is the Founding and Chief Editor of Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research since 2007. His books include Demystifying Doha: On Architecture and Urbanism in an Emerging City (2013), Architecture beyond Criticism: Expert Judgment and Performance Evaluation (2014), Spatial Design Education: New Directions for Pedagogy in Architecture and Beyond (2015), Building Migrant Cities in the Gulf (2019), Architectural Excellence in Islamic Societies (2020). He is currently working on Routledge Companion to Architectural Pedagogies of the Global South (2022).

    "Influence and Resistance in Post-Independence Egyptian Architecture is rich survey of the intentions that informed the development of Egyptian architecture in the late modern era. The book provides an analysis of the rationale of the local architectural discourse and its relationship to the global modern discourse at the time, and in the process offers us a deeper understanding not only of architecture but of modern Egypt itself. Constituted of critical chapters, it interrogates the impacts of colonialism, the Western Canon, architectural journalism, the different awards programs on the emerging architecture in Egypt. It concludes by emphasizing that modern architecture in Egypt is the result of a complex process of both forces of ‘influence’ and ‘resistance,’ and it predicts the emergence of a decolonized discourse around architecture in the country."

    - Nezar AlSayyad, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley


    "Expanding upon El-Ashmouni’s original research on late twentieth century architectural discourse in Egypt, the authors offer a critically nuanced reflection on the counterpoint between the changing ideas and forms of architecture that straddled the half-century from the rise of modern Egyptian nationalism to the Arab Spring, and broader currents in contemporary Arab thought and culture. In light of the political upheaval that arose in the course of its research, the study underscores the critical significance of the ideological resistance that found form and structure in the radical ‘return’ in architectural design-thinking in Egypt over three decades earlier."

    -Peter Scriver, PhD A/Professor and Director (South and SE Asia) Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA), The University of Adelaide, Australia