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Lola Ben-Alon and Ziad Jamaleddine win Junior Faculty Grants

December 17, 2020

Assistant Professor Lola Ben-Alon, Director of Architectural Technology at GSAPP, and Assistant Professor Ziad Jamaleddine have been awarded junior faculty grants from Columbia University’s Office of the Provost. This program supports Schools’ diversity plans by advancing the career success of outstanding junior faculty. Recipients contribute to the diversity goals of the University through their research, teaching, and mentoring activities.

The Environmental and Social Life Cycle Potential of 3D Printed Earthen Buildings
Ben-Alon’s research project aims to “develop critical steps to integrating earthen materials into innovative architecture by quantifying the environmental and social Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and developing digital 3D printing methodologies for earthen materials. The 3D printing work will develop new ways to incorporate raw earth, the world’s oldest construction material, with the newest construction processing techniques.”

Building the Mosque: Sub-Saharan African Models
Jamaleddine’s research project hypothesizes on the dynamic history of the architecture of the mosque. He states, “Historically, the discipline of Islamic architecture has been focused on the exploration and documentation of the architecture of the ‘central Islamic lands’ This deterministic geographic construct locates the fundamental origin point of Islamic architecture within the urban centers of the Middle East and North Africa, a formulation that has resulted in the frequent omission of the architecture of relatively peripheral Islamic regions and geographies. The proposal identifies three case studies, from the modern period, located across diverse locations in the sub-Saharan region of Africa: Ilha de Mocambique, Mozambique; Djenne, Mali; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The religious architecture of this region was shaped by the encounters of indigenous traditions with colonial influences—resulting in building practices that have continued into the contemporary period. The objective of this research is not to classify or define a grand narrative of the ‘African mosque’ through an exhaustive survey of Islamic architecture across this large territory. Instead, it aims to demonstrate the adaptability and hybridity of mosque architecture—mapping diverse labor techniques and practices within communities and probing the relationships of varied construction materials to their respective environmental contexts.”

Ben-Alon and Jamaleddine are among eight faculty members across the University to receive this award during the Fall 2020 semester. For more information on all of the winning research proposals and the ongoing small-grants program, please visit the Columbia University Office of the Provost.