modern architecture, nation-building, dominant narratives, micro-narratives, corporate architecture


The golden age between the 1950s and 60s in Lebanon witnessed the return of talented Lebanese architects who pursued their architectural studies abroad and numerous successful collaborations between local and foreign architects. This period was characterized by maturity in modern architecture that was described as an ‘assimilation’ of the modern ideals. Similarly, Kuwait represented an attractive experimental ground for testing new ideas, designs and construction techniques, that were closely associated with Western architects’ contributions. The history of modern architectural development both in Lebanon and in Kuwait has been dictated with these grand narratives disregarding the lived experiences and professional works of those who are not part of the dominant culture or main plot. This paper examines the case of the prominent but not well-known figure Sami Abdul Baki. The aim is to reconstruct one portion of the narrative of cultural exchange between the two countries that was not properly covered by the dominant narratives.


pp. 124-137


Architecture | Essays & Viewpoint
Nation-building micro-narratives from Lebanon and Kuwait. The journey of Sami Abdul Baki


Roula El-Khoury Fayad, Silvia Mazzetto

Author(s) Biography

Roula El-Khoury Fayad is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Lebanese American University. She received her Master’s in Urban Planning from the GSD at Harvard University and a bachelor’s in architecture with a Minor in Political Sciences from the American University of Beirut. Her research interests include ‘Material Manifestation of Global Influences in the Middle East’, ‘Representation of Capital in the City’, ‘Representation and Design’, and the ‘Representation of Alternative Public Spaces in the City’. She has participated in several local and international conferences and was also recognized by numerous awards such as the Peter Cook Honorable mention, the Azar, and the Areen Award. She also won the first prize in several competitions: ‘Thinking Housing’, ‘Revisiting Dalieh’, and the design of a Municipal headquarters for Fidar. Alongside her full-time position, Roula is a practising Architect who works on small to medium projects from conception to execution. E-mail:

Silvia Mazzetto is an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture and Design, at Lebanese American University in Beirut. Her research interests focus on heritage restoration, adaptive reuses, environmental and sustainable design approaches, multidisciplinary collaboration projects between the Architecture and Urban Planning, integrating the socio-cultural and behavioural aspects of design and research into education and professional practice. She participated in several international research groups, including ‘Management of innovation for enterprise networks’, and ‘Architectures and Rural landscapes in cross-border regions’ founded by the European Union. Her experience includes many years of practice, in project management and consultant roles, in international companies both in Europe and in the Gulf Region. Mob. +39 347/94.30.734 | E-mail: silvia_mazzetto@genovese-gianpaoloyahoo-it


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