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Polyphonic narratives for built environment research

Ashraf M. Salama (Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Yonca Hurol (Department of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus)

Open House International

ISSN: 0168-2601

Article publication date: 10 June 2020

Issue publication date: 28 August 2020




The purpose of this paper is to construct a series of narratives by assessing a selection of the key literature generated by Open House International (OHI) over a period of 15 years. The paper also presents a brief review of the latest developments of the journal while introducing concise observations on the articles published in this edition – Volume 45, Issues 1 and 2.


Through a classification procedure of selected special issues published by OHI since 2006, 10 issues were identified based on the currency of the issues they generated. Following the review of the editorials, the key content of more than 100 articles within these special issues, the content of this edition and relevant seminal literature, the analysis engages, through critical reflection, with various themes that echo the polyphonic nature of built environment research.


The analysis conveys the plurality and diversity in built environment research where generic types of narratives are established to include three categories, namely, leitmotif, contextual/conceptual and open-ended narratives. Each of which includes sub-narrative classifications. The leitmotif narrative includes design studio pedagogy, sustainable environments for tourism, responsive learning environments, affordable housing environments, diversity in urban environments and urbanism in globalised environments. The contextual/conceptual narrative encompasses architecture and urbanism in the global south and the tripartite urban performance and transformation. The open-ended narrative embraces thematic reflections on the contributions of this edition of OHI.


Constructing polyphonic narratives in built environment research based on contemporary knowledge is original in the sense of capturing the crux of the themes within these narratives and articulating this in a pithy form. The elocution of the narratives stimulates a sustained quest for re-thinking concepts, notions and issues of concerns while invigorating research prospects and setting the future direction of OHI.



Salama, A.M. and Hurol, Y. (2020), "Polyphonic narratives for built environment research", Open House International, Vol. 45 No. 1/2, pp. 3-22.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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