Perhaps now more than ever before, we are all aware of the built environment that surrounds us, and of the impacts it has on the health of individuals, communities, and the planet. The Architecture of Place series brings together the established and emerging voices working to create a better built future.
From October through December 2023, the ICAA, INTBAU, and The King's Foundation will co-host The Architecture of Place: In Conversation with..., a series of interviews featuring three architects from different backgrounds and points of view: Alireza Sagharchi, Wesam Al Asali, and María Fernanda Sánchez. Over the three-part series, each speaker will have the chance to play the role of both interviewer and interviewee. In each installment, one of the three architects will be interviewed by one of the others about the influences, experiences, and projects that have led to their design perspective on the architecture of place. At the end of each session, students from partnering university departments will pose additional questions to the speakers, followed by an open Q&A with attendees. The ICAA is excited to partner with IE School of Architecture and Design for this interview. Students from IE School of Architecture and Design will make a special appearance and provide guest questions for the interviewee.
The programs are free and open for public registration, and recorded versions of the programs will be made available to all.
In this iteration of the series, María Fernanda Sánchez will interview Wesam Al Asali about his work, background, and design perspective.
Wesam Al Asali is an architect, educator, researcher, and enthusiast for combining digital and manual fabrication technologies with local building crafts and natural materials. His work spans construction history, building technology, and craft studies to explore the role of culture and society in rethinking architectural practice in the context of climate challenges. He is an assistant professor at IE School of Architecture and Design in Segovia, Spain.
Wesam received his Ph.D. in 2021 from the University of Cambridge, where he worked on design strategies for thin-tile vaults for low-carbon ceiling systems. Following his Ph.D. completion, Wesam was the 2021-2022 Global Fung fellow at Princeton University before joining IE School of Architecture and Design. His research received the RIBA President's Awards for Research in Architecture (2021) and the Salje Medal for Best Doctoral Research in Arts and Humanities at Clare Hall, Cambridge University (2022). He received research funds and commissions from the Arab Council for the Social Sciences, Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica, and Princeton University. His projects include the use of natural materials in Spanish building crafts; scarcity-driven informal and vernacular architecture in the Middle East; and the relationship between domestic spaces and food production in Syria during the crisis, a project for his 2022 residency at the Delfina Foundation.
Wesam is a design and innovation lead at his co-founded architectural practice IWlab and founder of the social enterprise project CERCAA, a center for learning and innovation in building crafts and natural materials in Spain-Valencia. His practice engages with heritage knowledge for contemporary environmental design.