Saturday, October 2, 2010

Islam's Pray Anywhere Genius

Bedouin praying in the desert
Ultimately Islam is a flexible religion when it comes to its formal places of pray.
Its humble notions of adaptability and reductionist roots is manifested many times in its history. When it comes to physical environments that stands between the faithful and their God, Islam provides its minimalist practice of architectural demarcation. It is this demarcation where we see, in its most beautiful expression, the true aesthetics of functionality of religious refuge in day to day situation.
As the simple line of this separation between outside and inside erodes, so does the distance between the believer and his God.

Open air mosque in Gelibolu, Turkey

It is a common scene in Islamic countries, mostly on Fridays and religious holidays when the faithful spills over the streets, activating a particular spatiality and turning the urban environments to informal prayer halls.
Of course on occasions tensions with the authorities are all so real when protests must be put in action, making Islam all responsive to daily workings and the problems of the specific local communities. At that level, religion is not a passive piety of the masses and their everyday life but an active demonstration of a political choice by the people of the Islamic faith.   

Top; street prayers in Kashmir Region, India. Middle and bottom; street prayers in Istanbul, Turkey
All this, on the events of the people's efforts to stop Islamic Center in lower Manhattan, take note.
In that case, buildings are not necessary. The New York grid itself could be utilized. 

Map of Lower Manhattan, New York

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Future of Urbanism

First in the series of Archinect Sessions @ VDL House with Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLG) and Bryan Finoki (SUBTOPIA) held on September 11, 2010.
Future of Urbanism was the topic of the conversation.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Proposed Manhattan Mosque and Islamic Community Center

I am not a practicing Muslim. Perhaps, then, not a muslim at all. Growing up in a secular but, nevertheless, un-officially and majority muslim country, I have been exposed to Islam, learned about its traditions, customs, and, as an architect, developed great appreciation for the design of its places of worship.

I don't necessarily want this mosque in Manhattan be built because it worries me that it will further radicalize the violent right wing fanatics in United States who see Islam as a threat to their existence, as the enemy and as the source of all evil on earth.
To them, this is the clash of civilizations. The enemy is described as a bloody and oppressive force raising from hellish petro-rich Arabian deserts and Afghany caves, whose ugly bearded men with hooked noses trying to destroy the ever so innocent, fair and humane, blessed and all superior kingdom of western civilization.

On the personal front, because of this proposed mosque, if in fact built, I will be subjected to even more hatred and racial profiling than what became an unwelcomed  fact of my already complicated diaspora life after 9/11.
In short, my work will be distracted, it will be harder for me to prevail professionally, and most disturbingly, my well being will be exposed to actual violence, consuming my time while continuously negotiating my rights with angry and righteous people in everyday situations.

Consider the thinkable and highly possible, some of the aggressions toward muslims, without discrimination, could develop into further psychological and racial repression, physical disturbances, such as public beatings and other torturous humiliations, downward spiraling all the way to lynching.

Muslims don't have many reliable and empathetic organizations to turn for protection.

Their faith and culture is demonized at worst, disliked and mistrusted by the significant section of the American society at best.
And, what is the most worrisome, these negative sentiments are now getting institutionalized in the Crusades like causes of tea partying masses.

These are not exaggerations.

I have been looking at hundreds of readers' comments in newspapers and websites regarding this issue and most of them are outright life threatening to my profile. These disturbing and eerily aggressive group-thinking are freely circulated and unchallenged by the authorities in charge of protecting the well being of the innocent.
America's sizable muslim community is openly attacked and made to suffer the highly orchestrated accusations. The horrors generated, vocalized, broadcasted.
These are well beyond the usual discriminations I was just getting used to.

"Bomb their mosques"

"Build it, get them all inside - then burn it down" 

"Deport them"

"Gather and send them to labor camps"

"Nuke their homeland"

"Chop their heads and display them in Ground Zero"

"Strip them naked and make them piss on Quran"

"They don't deserve to practice their despicable religion in Manhattan buildings when an abandoned small factory or a farm building will suffice. What's a building for a barbaric camel jockeys anyway?"

So on, and uglier.

These should be alarming to people who are living peacefully in this country.
No doubt, when the hooligans are done with muslims and eradicated them from 'their chosen' society and 'finalized their dissolution,' they will re-concentrate their efforts to purify and rid of their communities from non believers, gays, abortionists, liberals, socialists, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Gypsies, drug users, illegal aliens, hippies, independent women, men, prostitutes, Chinese, Africans, intellectuals, dangerous books and progressive thinking, just to name a few.
This is their occupational therapy, purpose of their vengeful existence, evil passion and manipulated brains for easy exploitations. This is what glues the sheep together.

I imagine, the falsity of their valor goes undetected until much later, when they realize that the war they made believe to fight was a lie.

Watch and be proactive for the disinformation carnage and violence of 2012 general election campaigns.

*Originally this post was written for this discussion thread in

Monday, June 7, 2010

Libeskind Saved

Surprising the architectural critics, hundreds of Turkish and Palestinian architects defend Daniel Libeskind's Ontario Museum from an angry mob of Israeli artists demanding changes on the window pattern and interior design. Some say the conflict is a 'light and space' issue.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Music Night: "I PUT A SPELL ON YOU" Random picks , all good - Part 2

The new batch of spell checkers has been unearthed from you tube followed by previous selection. A bit obsessive but not everybody collect stamps...


About the Song in Wikipedia

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Posting Types: Racist Geert Wilders Inspires Unemployed Architects


Posted here in the internet by someone who calls himself Geertrude, possibly inspired by this Geert:

"25 Americans, on average, are killed by illegal aliens every day (about evenly split between motor vehicle accidents and outright murder).

Do the math: That works out to more than 9,000 deaths per year, or more than 36,000 deaths over the past four years. That's more than ten times the number of Americans killed in Iraq over the past four years"

Some will argue that the statistic represent a general number applied over all of population, but simplistically, eliminating Illegal immigrants would have saved 36,000 lives. Simple math.5/13/2010

prompted this response:

fighting against getting help to cope with all the fear and hatred, (your) information shows you have been doing badly, your sketchy assessments are not very good, 'you think' people coming after your livelihood of assumed 'owning' but real life is more co-operatively earned and populated than you paint and broadcast, your mathematical ideas unimaginatively dwelling on even more irrelevancy and eventually located in the losing end of those very snake oil statistics. you will remain minority within the bending blinders of your own mind and relating to crude extinction of your last island of greedy existence of self entitlement, period.
your dividends are desperate and your propaganda is only worthy of selfish panic.
it must be a hell thinking like that, day in and day out, nights included, which are dark and long, sort of, cold, lurking around getting away with murderous misdemeanors when it comes to you, causing your own kind of limited experience of life itself, wasting away and never get to the work of everyday living, are you really for war or a fight even though my consensus is you are the warrior-less warring kind dodging the shots on you while confined to living in the under-neat bunkers of fear without a chance of sustainable evolve. you will meet zapotec since it lives in many other minds, except, he is like that on your face, died fighting. who do you have? other than rusting border patrol vehicles as your 'tool' of corpse producing army of one liners power mongering on the gasolined desert heat and as if you personally preferred to join with them against the possibility of getting along with the world and helping your people live better, free of nightmare scenario management.
- oa