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An exploratory investigation into the impact of international paradigmatic trends on Arab architectural education

Salama, Ashraf M (2007) An exploratory investigation into the impact of international paradigmatic trends on Arab architectural education. Global Built Environment Review, 6 (1). pp. 31-43. ISSN 1474-6824

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While the development of Arab architectural education avows that there has been continuous influence of worldwide trends on the educational process, architectural schools in the Arab world are often accused of being largely unconcerned with the debates and trends raised by the international community. Testing this hypothesis required tracing three major paradigmatic trends in Arab architectural education: environment-behavior studies, sustainability and environmental consciousness, and digital and virtual practices. There is in fact a great deal of discussions in design and architecture circles on these trends, and widely varying opinions as to why and how they need to be introduced in architectural curricula. An investigation of 14 programs in 8 Arab countries was conducted based on literature reviews and preliminary content analysis of the online and printed prospectuses. The analysis reveals that in some programs courses addressing these trends have not reached mature levels, while other programs were able to address the balance between the trends in their curricula. The paper concludes by a prologue for the future of Arab architectural education, arguing for balancing and harmonizing these trends, adapting them to the norms defined by a particular culture or a locality, while integrating them into studio teaching practices.