The Arab City: Architecture and Representation takes the notions of an “Arab City” and “Islamic Architecture” and challenges the myths and clichés associated with the reductive categories. Published by Columbia University’s Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, the book reframes the cities in question as multifaceted locales, with layered histories and contemporary contradictions, told through a collection of essays and photojournalism.
Reflecting the questions intrinsic to the book, Neil Donnelly and Sean Yendrys’ design combines the tropes of both classical book typesetting and crude sans-serif typography more commonly associated with online culture. Neil describes it as “confident and blunt while remaining refined and academic,” and the cover in particular as “referencing Arab architecture and ornamentation while suggesting reinterpretation and reconsideration of tradition.” This combination of blunt irony and refined academia is key to The Arab City’s tackling of the stereotypes, simplified interpretations and critique of the perpetuated otherness that encumbers the perception of the so-called Middle East and its cities.
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