OHI Special Issues


Professor Salama has led and guest edited a number of special issues for OHI – Open House International that address a wide spectrum of matters relevant to contemporary architecture and urbanism in various contexts. They range in scope from pedagogical issues to sustainable school building, and from Ecotourism development to urban diversity and transformations of emerging cities.


Open House International (ISSN 0168-2601) has been in the academic scene for over 35 years. It is indexed in the most key international databases including Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, Scopus-Elsevier, Thompson Scientific ISI Products, and EBSCO Publishing.
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Advances in Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism
Volume 41, Issue 4, June 2016
Guest Editors: David Grierson and Ashraf M. Salama
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From the Editorial by D. Grierson and A. M. Salama, entitled: Forging Advances in Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism.

 Sustainability has been an important topic in many disciplines over two decades, and its urgency is rising. At the same time, a conceptual understanding of sustainability remains rather vague, posing a challenge for research in this area. Nevertheless the term ‘sustainability’ is increasingly used in the context of ecological, economic, and social studies. In green economics it is often used interchangeably with the term ‘sustainable development’, defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 as, “development which meets he needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This underlines sustainability’s ethical dimension where a normative view implies treating sustainability as a form of intergenerational equity and fairness. The question of intergenerational equity constitutes a growing concern, and our obligation to future generations requires us to look beyond short-term public policy preoccupations to anticipate building a better future for all.......................... Alternative approaches to rethinking and reforming the built environment in ways that imply a more frugal use of energy and natural resources, and a better quality of life, are being explored within academic and policy literature and research around the world.     As part of the activities of the ‘Cluster for Research in Design and Sustainability (CRIDS) at the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, this issue of Open House International addresses various contexts in Scotland, Turkey, the Middle East, and the United States of America highlighting various theoretical and practical dimensions of sustainability. It includes research contributions on architecture and urbanism as they relate to historical and morphological studies of urban regeneration (in Glasgow, Scotland), housing typological transformations (in Konya in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey), issues of sustainability and national identity (at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, UAE and the Msheireb in Doha, Qatar), the impact on sustainability of housing development patterns (in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, UAE), an exploration of resilience theory as it relates to urban morphology, research work (in Arizona, USA) exploring the boundary between the built and natural environments and the development of a Space/Nature syntax methodology, and two contributions that examine the theoretical concept of Arcology and the development of the urban laboratory at Arcosanti (in Arizona, USA) as both a model for Green urbanism, and a place to critically evaluate a radical redefinition of the relationship between society, technology, and Nature..................
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Architecture and Urbanism of the Global South
Volume 41, Issue 2,  June 2016
Guest Editors: Ashraf M. Salama and David Grierson
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama and D. Grierson, entitled: An Expedition into Architecture and Urbanism of the Global South 

As part of the activities of the ‘Cluster for Research in Architecture and Urbanism of Cities in the Global South (CRAUCGS) which was established in 2014 within the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, this issue of Open House International addresses contexts in Africa, South America, South East Asia, and the MENA (Middle East & North African) region highlighting various developmental aspects. It includes research contributions on architecture and urbanism as they relate to housing environments comprising socially integrated housing (Chile), housing typological transformations (Senegal), mega projects and housing development (the Gulf Region), transformations in housing patterns (India), and the changing housing styles in Kathmandu Valley (Nepal). Urban qualities, livability and capitalist urbanism are addressed in the context of Freetown in Sierra Leone, Kuala Lumpur in Maaysia, and several Middle Eastern Cities. The role of planning in maintaining or degrading urban memory is addressed in the context of Cairo (Egypt). Other important contributions include various aspects of sustainability at the building scale (Iran) and at the level of user attitudes (Northern Cyprus).....

.... It is clearly evident that the discourse and research findings on architecture and urbanism in the Global South that are discussed in this issue of Open House International, have gone beyond portraying this part of the world within either post-colonial urban struggle or slum challenges. In essence, the Global south offers a rich soil for debating and researching challenging and pressing issues that present themselves as timely topics on the map academic and professional interests and as important material for further inquiry and examination. The 11 contributions by 19 scholars manifest the diverse and challenging issues facing buildings, settlements, and cities of the Global South while conceiving potential solutions for addressing those challenges. 
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Unveiling Urban Transformations in the Arabian Peninsula: Dynamics of Global Flows, Multiple Modernities, and People-Environment Interactions
Volume 38, Issue 4, December 2013
Guest Editors: Ashraf M. Salama and Florian Wiedmann
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama and F. Wiedmann, entitled:
Evolving Urbanism of Cities on the Arabian Peninsula

Covering about three million square kilometres, the Arabian Peninsula is mainly a diverse landscape of hot humid sandy coasts, arid desert, sparse scrubland, stone-strewn plains, and lush oases, as well as rocky and sometimes fertile mountain highlands and valleys. In addition to the indigenous local populace, the population is composed of large groups of expatriate Arabs and Asians, in addition to smaller groups of Europeans and North Americans; these expatriate groups represent a major workforce community of skilled professionals and semi-skilled or unskilled labourers from over sixty countries. The region’s contemporary economy, dominated by the production of oil and natural gas has created unprecedented wealth, which in turn has led to a momentous surge in intensive infrastructural development and the construction of new environments (Wiedmann, 2012). The ensuing impact of this fast track development on the built environment, in conjunction with the continuous and seemingly frantic quest for establishing unique urban identities (Salama, 2012), is seen as a trigger for introducing this special edition of Open House International.

At the dawn of the new millennium, rulers, decision-makers, and top government officials started to demonstrate a stronger and more attentive interest in architecture, urban development projects and real estate investment; this concerted interest and attention have resulted in a new influential phase impacting on the development of architecture and urbanism in the Arabian Peninsula (Salama and Wiedmann, 2013). Cities on the Arabian Peninsula are continuously witnessing dramatic twists and turns that represent a diverse array of intents and attitudes (Salama, 2011). This can be explained by a series of vibrant discussions, characterised by a new unbiased openness, of the contemporary condition of architecture and urbanism in the Gulf region with its variety and plurality of perspectives and interests. “With their varied socio-physical, socio-economic, socio-cultural, and socio-political presence, cities are always been highly differentiated spaces expressive of heterogeneity, diversity of activities, entertainment, excitement, and pleasure. They have been (and still are) melting pots for the formulation of and experimentation with new philosophies and religious and social practices. Cities produce, reproduce, represent, and convey much of what counts today as culture, knowledge, and politics” (Salama and Wiedmann, 2013). Evidently this statement manifests the significance of studying cities. While this edition addresses several cities on the Arabian Peninsula, emphasis is placed on key transformational aspects relevant to five important cities that include Doha, Abu-Dhabi, Riyadh, Kuwait, and Manama.
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Urban Space Diversity: Paradoxes and Realities
Volume 37, Issue 2, June 2012
Guest Editors: Ashraf M. Salama and Alain Thierstein
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama and A. Thierstein, entitled: Rethinking Urban Diversity

Urban spaces are places for the pursuit of freedom, un-oppressed activities and desires, but also ones characterized by systematic power, oppression, domination, exclusion, and segregation. In dealing with these polar qualities diversity has become one of the new doctrines of city planners, urban designers, and architects. It continues to be at the center of recent urban debates. Little is known, however, on how urban space diversity can be achieved. In recent rhetoric, diversity denotes in generic terms a mosaic of people who bring a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the groups and organizations with which they interact. However, in urban discourses it has been addressed as having multiple meanings that include mixing building types, mixing physical forms, and mixing people of different social classes, racial and ethnic backgrounds. While some theorists attribute diversity to the socio-physical aspects of homogeneity within heterogeneity, social differentiation without exclusion, variety, and publicity, others associate it with socio-political aspects of assimilation, integration, and segregation. While some of these meanings represent a concern for a specific group of professionals including architects and urban designers, urban planners, cultural analysts and abstract theorists, they all agree that each meaning or aspect of diversity is linked to the others; they all call for strategies for urban development that stimulate socio-physical heterogeneity. With the goal of unveiling lessons learned on urban diversity from various cases in different parts of the world, this issue of Open House International selects ten papers after a rigorous review process. The edition encompasses several objectives. It aims at providing a conceptualization of urban diversity while articulating its underlying contents and mechanisms by exploring the variety of meanings adopted in the urban literature. In essence, it attempts to establish models for discerning urban space diversity while mapping such models on selected case studies from Europe, African, and the Middle East.
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Affordable Housing, Quality, and Lifestyle Theories
Volume 36, Issue 3, September 2011
Guest Editors: Ashraf M. Salama and Urmi Sengupta
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama and U. Sengupta, entitled: Changing Paradigms in Affordable Housing, Quality, and Lifestyle Theories

Affordable housing has long been an important planning and design concern in large urban areas and around the peripheries of major cities where population growth has led to an increasing demand for descent housing environments. The issue of affordability has attracted researchers and scholars to explore planning and design determinants, financing mechanisms, cultural and social issues, and construction and building techniques. This interest has been the case for several decades since affordable housing themes have offered a rich research area that involves many paradoxes that keep presenting challenges for planners, architects, and decision makers. Housing costs are increasing in most cities and incomes are not increasing at the same rate. Governments, on the other hand, are unable to provide sufficient housing stock to bridge the gap between demand and supply due to decreasing housing budgets and the lack of investment. Undoubtedly, the issue of housing affordability is widespread worldwide. Governments have responded to this issue through ways of cost reductions in order to make homes available at a price that a user is able to pay. However, this area of concern has been a permanent preoccupation of housing technocrats consumed in the quality and location of the housing unit, often overlooking other socio-cultural and psychological dimensions adhered to it. The academic community is no exception; it has responded to the issue of housing affordability by conducting research that places emphasis on the physical aspects of dwellings, while oversimplifying other critical demands placed on affordable housing provision by society and the environment.

Building on the earlier publications by the guest editors (Sengupta 2006; Salama, 2006; Salama and Alshuwaikhat, 2006; and Salama, 2007), this issue of open house international places high value on establishing links between issues that pertain to affordable housing, quality, and life style theories as manifested in socio-cultural factors, user preferences, and environmental attitudes. In essence, the papers selected for this edition address timely and pressing issues that continuously present themselves on the map of polemics on affordable housing both in developed and developing contexts, from Ecuador to Australia, from Turkey to Bangladesh and India, and from United Kingdom to Nigeria. Key issues of some of the papers presented in this issue are highlighted to reflect emerging understandings toward developing responsive affordable housing.
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Shaping the Future of Learning Environments: Emerging Paradigms and Best Practices
Volume 34, Issue 1, March 2009
Guest Editor: Ashraf M. Salama
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama, entitled:
A Bright Future for Creating Environments Conducive to Learning

Whether in school buildings or university campuses the educational process involves many activities that include knowledge acquisition and assimilation, testing students’ motivation and academic performance, and faculty and teachers’ productivity. The way in which we approach the planning, design, and our overall perception of learning environments makes powerful statements about how we view education; how educational buildings are designed tells us much about how teaching and learning activities occur. Concomitantly, how these activities are accommodated in a responsive educational environment is a critical issue that deserves special attention. While it was said several decades ago that a good teacher can teach anywhere, a growing body of knowledge—derived from knowledge on “evidence-based design” suggests a direct correlation between the physical aspects of the learning environment, teaching processes, and learning outcomes. In its commitment to introduce timely and pressing issues on built environment research, Open House International presents this special edition to debate and reflect on current discourses on sustainable learning environments.

As a guest editor of this edition, my personal interest, acquaintance, and experience of learning environments come primarily from working with Henry Sanoff in the early nineties on a research project—funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and conducted at the School of Architecture at North Carolina State University—addressing environments for young children, in which a number of collaborative mechanisms for understanding and anatomizing the learning environment are developed, while exploring the wide of variety of needs and interests that are mandated by different user types (Sanoff, 1994, 1995, 2002). Such an experience was enhanced by my involvement with Adams Group Architects in Charlotte, North Carolina in a research and consultancy capacity during the period between 2001 and 2004 (Salama, 2002, Salama and Adams 2003 a. and b., Salama, 2004, Salama, 2007). Several strategic planning projects, pre-design studies, and participatory programming and design were developed for schools in North Carolina.

A worldwide commitment to designing responsive environments conducive to learning is witnessed in many academic settings. This is evident in a recent colloquium conducted by Colloquia of Lausanne, Switzerland, and in the recent efforts by recent practices in both developing and developed countries (Knapp, Noschis, and Pasalar, 2007; DesignShare, 2008; NCEF, 2008). Notably, in many schools of architecture the subject is being debated through research and design where future generations of architects are exploring possibilities of shaping the future of learning environments. An important example among many others is the studio project undertaken at the Post Graduate Level at Queen’s University Belfast and coordinated by Alan M. Jones and Karim Hadjri. In this project and through designing a context-based high school in Belfast, students are developing a deeper insight into the understanding of sustainable design parameters including lighting experience and the distinctive characteristics of the spatial environment and its impact on learning.
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Ecotourism and Ecolodges: Sustainable Planning and Design for Environmentally Friendly Tourism Facilities
Volume 32, Issue 4, December 2007
Guest Editor: Ashraf M. Salama
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama, entitled:
Whatever the Name is, the Concern is for People and Environments 

Increasingly, people are abandoning traditional vacation for a new type of tourism that gives them the sense of nature. Trekking in mountains, bird watching, archaeological digs, desert and photo safaris, scuba diving are some new types of vacations that attract tourists to travel to relatively remote and unspoiled areas. This type of travel is referred to as nature-based travel, ecotourism, or environmentally sustainable tourism. These terms are used interchangeably to reflect this trend in the travel industry. While many studies continuously attempt to differentiate between the terms used to reflect this type of travel, the general concern is to address the dialectic relationships between the natural and the man made, the visitors and tourists and the local population, and tradition and modernity. The generic concept of environmentally sustainable tourism has emerged in parallel to the realization of the potential benefits in combining people interest in nature with their concern for the environment. It is a responsible way of travel; an alternative to traditional travel, but it is not for everyone. It appeals to people who love nature and indigenous cultures. It allows those people to enjoy an attraction or a locality and ensures that local cultures and environments are unimpaired. As the environmentally sustainable tourism industry expands world-wide, well planned, ecologically sensitive facilities are in high demand that can be met with ecolodges: small scale facilities that provide tourists with the opportunity of being in close contact with nature and local culture. In response to this theme, research papers in this issue of Open House International attempt to answer the primary question: How much change in or alternations of natural and cultural environments will be acceptable? They explore sustainable planning and design for tourism by debating, analyzing, and visioning a wide spectrum of issues, with a focus on the developments taking place in biologically sensitive areas, whether desert, forest, tropical coasts, or rural environments. Interestingly, they cover the planet Earth from Australia through the Arab World and Turkey to Argentina and Chile. An important shared aspect in these papers is that emphasis is placed upon integrating people, nature, and local economy into responsive development processes while offering lessons on how such integration may take place.
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Design Studio Teaching Practices: Between Traditional, Revolutionary, and Virtual Models
Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2006
Guest Editor: Ashraf M. Salama
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama, entitled:
Committed Educators are Reshaping Studio Pedagogy

The process of educating future architects and designers around the world varies dramatically. However, there is one striking similarity – the dominance of the design studio as the main forum for knowledge acquisition and assimilation, and for creative exploration and interaction. Such a setting encompasses intensive cognitive and physical activities, which ultimately result in conceptualizing meaningful environments proposed to accommodate related human activities. The design studio is the primary space where students explore their creative skills that are so prized by the profession; it is the kiln where future architects are molded. It has occupied a central position since architectural education was formalized two centuries ago in France and later in Germany, the rest of Europe, North America, and the rest of the world. My personal experience of the design studio comes principally from being academic, studio educator, and researcher on architectural education and studio teaching practices for over fifteen years. Continuous endeavors have resulted in a number of publications that analyzed traditional studio while probing into the motivations of my colleague educators and allowing for critical examination of studio pedagogy (Salama, 1995; 1996; 1998; 1999; 2002; 2005; 2006). My passion for a continued exploration and investigation of the studio underlying rituals, teaching styles and learning outcomes, design processes and studio projects motivated me to entertain the idea of guest editing this issue and to venture a call for contributions for soliciting visions and experiences on the theme. This initiation was further encouraged and supported by the Editor in Chief – Nicholas Wilkinson.

This issue of Open House International-OHI is concerned with the studio pedagogy’s increasing importance within the context of contemporary architectural and design education, a crucial subject that poses itself confidently on the map of current academic research. Twelve papers are included; of them, nine were selected from over 30 submission responses to the call for contributions. These are of Nisha Fernando; Kevin Mitchell, Malika Bose, Eliza Pennypacker, and Tom Yahner; Tasoulla Hadjiyanni; Carlos Balsas; Rabee Reffat; Jeffrey Hou and Min-Jay Kang; Jamal Al Qawasmi; and Jeffrey Haase. Three papers were selected as they won the first three awards of the International Architectural Education Competition entitled "Alternative Educational Ways for Teaching and Learning Architectural Design," which was organized in 2005 by Open House International and the Faculty of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University, Northern Cyprus. Results were announced in April 2006 and the three winners were Joongsub Kim (1st Prize); Noam Austerlitz & Avigail Sachs, (2nd Prize); and Guita Farivarsadri & Ustun Alsac (3rd Prize).

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