Led by Ziad Jamaleddine and Mayssa Jallad, as part of GSAPP Summer courses.
Collaberators: Alexandra Tell, Francesca Johanson, Tiangyu
Wang, Grace Ali, Frank Mandell, Maxime Ostrander.
Exhibited at Saleh Barakat Gallery, Beirut. Summer, 2019.
At its founding in 1877, Makassed’s mandate for a progressive Islamic institution committed to educating girls and providing an alternative to European Christian missions exerted considerable influence on the modernization and advancement of comparable educational programs in the region. Through the construction of schools, mosques, hospitals, and cemeteries, Makassed sought to forge a local and regional consciousness informed by Islamic ideals as a means of contending with Ottoman and French colonialism. Makassed’s property acquisition and independent media networks (such as radio and publishing) across Beirut allowed the organization to consolidate influence in an increasingly contested landscape.
In tracing Makassed’s distribution and network across the city historically, our project interrogates the association’s transformations in relation to the French mandate, the building of a modern nation state, the sectarian Civil War, land exploitation, and urban redevelopment. Modernist schools that once existed on the periphery of the city became subsumed into the urban realm; property lines straddled sectarian neighbourhoods in the city; buildings were constructed, destroyed, rebuilt, or lost for good.
Through layered historical maps, vignettes and environmental territories constructed from archival material and architectural spaces, this non-exhaustive project frames Makassed as both an indispensable actor in shaping the city, and an important vector for understanding its polycentric nature.