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BOOK

REVIEW

The Architecture of Rasem Badran By James Steele.

Thames & Hudson, 2005. 256pp. £36 Rasem Badran is not well known in the West, but he is seen as the natural heir of Hassan Fathy, writes Sutherland Lyall. According to James Steele, Badran has found 'an appropriate, non-Western language, based on relevant religious, social and cultural precedents, with which to demarcate authentically a divergent identity'. So does this just make him a traditionalist?

Yes and no. The exterior of the Quasr al-Hukm complex (above) could be by a distant fan of Kahn; then you see the stripped Classical forms of the hypostyle hall in his Abdul Aziz mosque. But what you worry more about is a preoccupation with architecture belonging to a particular pressure group and region, and the implication that you should temporarily suspend your critical faculties.

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