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The Mashrabiya: Heritage and Future in Architecture July 20th & 21st

July 21, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - July 22, 2023 @ 7:00 pm


The Mashrabiya: Heritage and Future in Architecture | Museum for Art in Wood and the Center for Architecture + Design | July 20 – 21, 2023

RSVP for both days
RSVP for July 20th HYBRID 10 – 3:30 pm – Center for Architecture + Design
RSVP for July 21st In-PERSON 3:00 – 7:00 pm – Museum for Art in Wood

This is a two-day event

You are invited to The Mashrabiya: Heritage and Future in Architecture. This two-day hybrid symposium is co-hosted by the Museum for Art in Wood and the Center for Architecture + Design. It will be held on July 20-21, 2023.

Despite its power as a signifier of Islamic material culture, little has been dedicated to the study of the mashrabiya. In this symposium, architects, designers, engineers, and makers will discuss the potential of the mashrabiya in considering architecture that is sustainable, culturally meaningful, and supports the needs of our future spaces.

The keynote speaker on July 20th, will be Senan Abdelqader, an Arab-Israeli architect, urban planner, and professor. He is the author of Architecture of (in)Dependence, in which he introduces the possibility of transforming rural Palestinian life into contemporary, contextualized urban life. Abdelqader is also the founder of the Institute for the Study of Arab Culture in Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.


Portrait of Senan Abdelqader

Professor Senan Abdelqader is a Palestinian practicing architect and urban planner. He is the founder and owner of Senan Architects (SA), which he established in 1995.

Through working on numerous private and public projects that are sensitive to social and political variables, Abdelqader has created a public platform where the process of planning is a collective act and a space for civil practices.During his practice in SA, Abdelqader started teaching at Tel-Aviv University in 1998; he then founded the in+Formal Research Unitat Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in 2006, giving the possibility to architecture students to critically engage the entanglement of formality and informality. In the year 2011, he became a visiting lecturer at the Dessau Institution of Architecture (DIA) in Germany, where he taught Informal Urbanism for graduate students.

Senan has participated in various global architectural biennales and exhibitions, including the São Paulo Biennale in Brazil in 2007, where he published his book Architecture of (in)Dependence, in which he introduces the possibility of transforming rural Palestinian life into contemporary, contextualised urban life.

Also presenting are three international architects who responded to an open call for papers, as well as local professionals in the field. The closing day will include a panel discussion, wood-turning demonstrations, and an interactive talk on the history of Middle Eastern dance (“belly dance”) with Habiba, a Philadelphia-based historian, educator, choreographer, and dancer.

This event is free to the public. The Museum for Art in Wood interprets, nurtures, and champions creative engagement and expansion of art, craft, and design in wood to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of it. A suggested donation of $5 per person enables us to provide programs and exhibitions throughout the year.


Questions? Please contact Katie Sorenson, Director of Outreach and Communications, at [email protected].

To learn more about The Mashrabiya Project and Seeing Through Space, click HERE.

Symposium Schedule

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Center for Architecture + Design
1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hybrid Event
10:00 AM      Welcome and Opening Remarks
10:15 AM      Mashrabiya: Between Two Contemporary Epistemologies, presented by Keynote Speaker Senan Abdelqader
11:15 AM      Mashrabiya Revisited: A Survey of the Symbiotic Nature of Vernacular Architecture, presented by Dr. Ali Dabbagh
12:00 PM      Reviving the Language of the Mashrabiya: Preservation and Adaptation Efforts in Al-Balad, Jeddah, presented by Ahmad Sami Angawi
2:15 PM      The Message of the Mashrabiya, presented by Yaroub al Obaidi
2:45 PM      Mediating Screens: Privacy and Translucency, presented by Mohamed Shaker
3:15 PM      Latin-American Echoes of Mashrabiya, presented by Fernando Martínez Nespral
3:45 PM      Closing Remarks for Day 1
Parking Information near the Center for Architecture + Design:

Parkway 12th & Filbert Garage – Self Parking
Parking Garage
1201 Filbert
267 – 765-3665

Convention Center Parking Lot – Self Parking
1324 Arch Street – one block from the venue
267 – 239- 0676

Street parking by kiosk is also available.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Museum for Art in Wood
141 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
In-person Event
3:30 PM      Welcome Remarks
3:45 PM      Who Owns the Past? Using Tradition in Contemporary Architecture, presented by Ahmed Abdelazim
4:15 PM      Seeing through Space: The Mashrabiya in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design, presented by Jennifer – Navva Milliken
4:30 PM      The Poetics, Politics, and Pragmatics of the Mashrabiya: Plenary Discussion
5:30 PM      Demonstrations of Mashrabiya Turning by Philip Hauser and Brian Skalaski
6:00 PM      Belly Dance: A Space for Personal Expression with Habiba
7:00 PM      Closing Remarks
Parking Information near the Museum for Art in Wood:
Old City Parking
304 Race Street
Park America
215 N 2nd Street
Street parking by kiosk is also available.


The Mashrabiya Project has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Special thanks go to:
Bresler Foundation
Rockler Tools for in-kind support

The exhibition program at the Museum is generously supported by members of the Cambium Giving Society of the Museum for Art in Wood, the Bresler Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, William Penn Foundation, and Windgate Foundation.

Corporate support is provided by Boomerang, Inc. and Sun-Lite Corporation.


July 21, 2023 @ 3:00 pm
July 22, 2023 @ 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Museum for Art in Wood
Center for Architecture and Design


Museum for Art in Wood
141 N 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 United States
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