Societies tend to re-evaluate the meaning and desirability of built environments rapidly. The search for an architectural identity, the rise and fall of ISMS (movements and tendencies), and the continuous debate on symbolism and character issues in architecture are derived from this fact. That search seems to be a preoccupation with countries that have cultural richness and multi-layers of history.
Architects as well as budding professionals in those countries find themselves dealing with a paradox needing to project a certain image of themselves through their built environment. This article reflects a view point on two recent students architectural competitions conducted in 2005 and 2006; the first was titled a memorial sculpture for Al Nakheel project in the city of Jeddah, while the second was designing a gateway on the road to Dammam. An argument is introduced in order to raise the questions of identity and seeing ourselves in architecture in light of the results of these two students' competitions.
Salama, Ashraf. 2006. "Symbolism and Identity in the Eyes of Arabia's Budding Professionals." In Layers Magazine (Sept.)