By looking at a selection of iconic modern projects designed by or commissioned to the prominent but not well-examined architect Sami Abdul Baki both in Lebanon and Kuwait during his most productive years in the 50s, this paper attempts to identify first main trends, influences and ideologies that shaped these works at the peak of modern architectural development in the region. Through these examples, the paper then aims at retracing predominant trajectories of intellectual capital exchange and transfer of knowledge between Lebanon and Kuwait. These can go far beyond their territorial boundaries, without claiming a single grand-narrative that describes the modern architectural development in any of the two countries.
The data collected from discourse analysis, interviews and biographical notes were mapped into a schematic diagram illustrating a complex network of connections and multidisciplinary involvement in projects.
However, the outcome did not generate a dominant theme for the projects or expertise of the architect.
It is very likely that Sami Abdul Baki's strong political dimension and quality as a mediator or facilitator in addition to his strong network of contacts played a significant role in the project commissions that he has won as an architect/engineer in Kuwait, Lebanon, Germany and other countries.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Lebanese American University LAU for providing an environment that encourages collaboration and research. This study could not have been written without the help, generosity and support of many people, to them our warmest thanks. We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Georges Arbid, Claudine Abdelmassih from the Arab Center for Architecture, Mrs. Samar Mikati and Mrs. Nadine Knesevitch from the archives at the American University of Beirut, Mr. Ibrahim Khoury, Dr. Sabah Al Rayes, Mr. Sabah Abi Hanna, Mr. Kamal Geagea, Rachelle Saliba and Ricardo Camacho whose support was indispensable for the development of our research. Finally, we would like to thank all members of the Abdul Baki family, their friends and colleagues for the constructive discussions and lengthy conversations we had with them, their commitment and effort in responding to the questionnaires and interviews.
Mazzetto, S. and El-Khoury, R. (2020), "Influences and aspirations in the production of national projects in Lebanon and Kuwait: Selected iconic projects by Sami Abdul Baki", Archnet-IJAR, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 599-614. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARCH-06-2019-0159
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited