Akel Kahera (Moderator)
Akel Kahera is a Professor and Program Coordinator of Islamic Architecture and Urbanism at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, College of Islamic Studies, Doha Qatar. He is a member of the board of trustees on the International Network For Traditional Building and Urbanism (INTBAU). He is an architect/practitioner and design critic with over twenty-five years of experience in the international arena. His international practice includes the MENA region and the United States. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, where he graduated from Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and later completed graduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University. He has held multiple teaching and administrative positions, including professor and dean at Virgina Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts in Qatar; professor and senior associate dean of research and graduate studies at Clemson University, South Carolina; and professor and director at Prairie View A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas Tech University. Dr. Kahera has published over three dozen peer-reviewed academic papers, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and four books: The Place of the Mosque: Genealogies of Space, Knowledge and Power (Rowan & Littlefield/ Lexington Press 2022) Reading the Islamic City: Discursive Practices & Legal Judgment (Rowan & Littlefield/ Lexington Press, Maryland; 2012), Deconstructing the American Mosque : Space, Gender and Aesthetics (University of Texas Press, 2002/2008), and Design Criteria for Mosques (Architectural Press, Oxford, UK; 2009).
Noorihan Abdulmageed is a destination development, management, and marketing Program Manager at the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in Saudi Arabia. She has looked into the topic of reshaping the architectural choice for many years exploring social behaviors towards today’s architectural and design decisions and direction. At RCU she has contributed to many assets that are built across the county that address rehabilitation and restoration of many sorts to embrace the traditional techniques in having sustainable dwellings, and commercial and hospitality offerings with immense consideration to the surrounding environment.
Ibrahim M. Jaidah
Ibrahim M. Jaidah is the Group CEO & Chief Architect of Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB). Throughout his career he has won numerous awards including the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities Award, Arab Town Organization Awards, and has been nominated three times for the Agha Khan Award. In 2005, Jaidah was honored with the State of Qatar Encouragement Award Award in recognition for his contribution to the design of timeless buildings that highlights the global image of the State of Qatar. His projects are considered to reflect culture, historical and environmental context in which they are situated, which contributes to the formation and development of contemporary architecture that embraces cultural identity in Qatar and the Gulf region. His focus on national architecture led to the creation of a new dimension in the field of architecture, which led to the emergence of prestigious buildings that contributed to the formation and development of architecture in the State of Qatar. His passion for vernacular architecture resulted in the publication of The History of Qatari Architecture 1800-1950 (2010), 99 Domes Masjid of Imam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (2015), Qatari Style (2019), and recently Discovering Arabian Deco (2023).
Penélope Plaza is a Lecturer in Architecture at the School of Built Environment, University of Reading (UK), where she is the interim co-Head of Architecture and Director of PhD Admissions for the School of Built Environment. She researches the entanglements between oil, politics, culture and urban space, with a particular interest in creative practice, urban artivism and contemporary petro-politics. Her book Culture as renewable oil: how territory, bureaucratic power and culture coalesce in the Venezuelan petrostate unpacks the links between state power, oil energy, urban space and culture, by looking at the Petro-Socialist Venezuelan oil state to examine how oil is a cultural resource, in addition to a natural resource, implying therefore that struggles over culture implicate oil, and struggles over oil implicate culture. Informed by her experience of urban activism in Venezuela, Dr. Plaza has shifted her focus towards ground-up resistance and critiques of oil extractivism from creative and arts practices, examining forms of non-spectacular socioecological exhaustion in minor urban bodies-cities and extractive landscapes due to the expansive footprint of energy consumption.