Symposium: Meeting of the sacred and the urban in Middle East

The relationship between architecture and religion will be explored in the symposium “Middle Ground/Middle East: Religious Sites in Urban Context,” to be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 21 and 22.

The symposium — co-sponsored by the Yale School of Architecture, the Yale Divinity School, the Yale Center for Middle East Studies and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music — will be held in Hastings Hall, basement level, Paul Rudolph Hall, 180 York St.

“In a part of the world where the intersection of religious traditions has always been at the heart of both cultural identity and conflict, the importance of religious sites for shaping social life — especially in urban contexts — is critical,” write the organizers of the symposium.

The symposium will focus on the role of religious sites representing the three Abrahamic traditions in shaping the urban environments in the Middle East.

“Recognizing that sacred buildings — mosques, churches, synagogues and other holy sites — have often been regarded as representative of patterns of social and cultural division, the symposium seeks to address the centrality of religious traditions, inter-faith relationships, and long practices of learning and tolerance,” note the organizers.

Leading architects and scholars from a variety of fields and religious backgrounds will examine through a plurality of perspectives the recent paradigm shifts regarding the relationship between architecture and religion, and the ways in which religious sites currently engage urban regeneration, economic growth, cultural identity, memory and the limits of multiculturalism.

The sessions are:


2 p.m. — Featured speakers will be as-Asad, Howayda Al-Harithy, Neza AlSayyad, Karl Britton, Kishwar Rivzi and Sallama Shaker.

6:30 p.m. — “When Religion Becomes the Embodiment of Politics,” the keynote address and Brendan Gill Lecture, will be presented by Nasser Rabbat.


9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. — Featured speakers will be Rasem Badran, Peter Eisenman, Makram el Kadi, Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil, Kenneth Frampton, Massimiliano Fuksas, Paul Goldberger, Marcia Inhorn, Vasileios Marinis, Lamin Sanneh, Hashim Sarkis, Rafi Segal and Brigitte Shim.

To register for the symposium, click here.

Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this

Media Contact

Dorie Baker:, 203-432-1345