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Modern And Traditional Architecture Education In Herat

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Engineering Education in Africa, Asia and the Mid-East Region / International Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.883.1 - 14.883.8



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Paper Authors


Mohammad Saleh Keshawarz

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Mohammad Saleh Keshawarz is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hartford. He is also the Director of Partnership between University Hartford and Heart University, representing the University of Hartford. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Sate of Connecticut. He received his BSCE degree from Kabul University, M. Engr. from Tennessee Satet University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.

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Abdullah Kazemi Herat University

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Abdullah Kazemi Teaches Technical Drawing and practices architecture in Herat, Afghanistan. He holds a BS in Architecture form Kabul University.

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Mahsa Khatibi University of Hartford

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Mahsa Khatibi is a graduate student in the civil engineering/arch field at the University of Hartford. She did most of her BS degree courses at Herat University.

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Michael Crosbie University of Hartford

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Michael J. Crosbie is the Chair of Architecture Department at the University of Hartford. He is also an Associate Professor of Architecture. He is a registered architect and received his BS, M. Arch., and Ph.D. from Catholic University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Modern and Traditional Architectural Education in Herat


The people of Herat in Western Afghanistan had better civil infrastructure 500 years ago during the Timurids Dynasty than they do today. Whatever of architectural value is left in Herat is a reminder of the splendid Timurid period. The war of occupation by the Russians and the ensuing civil war damaged or destroyed whatever was left of an architectural style particular to Herat. Migration to and from neighboring countries during the war years has brought a hodgepodge of architectural styles from the neighboring countries which do not blend with the environment. Within one area of Herat, one can see examples of Roman and Iranian architecture, in addition to Pakistani-style buildings. For some buildings, it is impossible to tell what, if any, architectural style is followed.

Recently, there have been efforts to try to revive the original architecture of Herat by restoring historic buildings. This has been done with assistance from the Agha Khan Cultural Foundation and local authorities. In addition, through a grant from the World Bank to the Ministry of Higher Education, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Herat University in collaboration with the University of Hartford is working on a curriculum to introduce formal Architectural Engineering Education at Herat University.

This paper will present a brief history of Architecture in Herat followed by a discussion of the current situation. It will present the latest in curriculum development for an Architectural Engineering program at Herat University and the integration of traditional architecture into the curriculum, and finally will conclude with recommendations as how to reinvigorate traditional Herat architecture in the design of modern buildings.



Herat, a city in western Afghanistan, represents some of the world’s most spectacular medieval Islamic Architecture. Herat is situated just north of and in the fertile valley of Hari Rud (River).

Herat history goes back more than 2,000 years. The city has been a center of learning and religion, located on the trade routes and the seat of different rulers in different periods. It is generally known as Haraiva (Haroiva in Avesta and Areia or Aria in Greek) of the ancient civilization in the valley of Hari Rud which included today’s Herat. Before Alexander’s attack, its capital was called Artakoana but then it was destroyed by Alexander’s army and most of its people were killed. Alexander laid the foundation of a new city in the same valley of Hari Rud, naming it Alexandria Areia. Alexander’s troops built a fortress around the city, whose remains still dominate the city. Haraiva was conquered by the Arab Muslims around 650 B.C. (1).

Five hundred years ago, although there was no civil infrastructure such as electricity, water supply system, or highways in this ancient city, Heratis were living in much better conditions

Keshawarz, M. S., & Kazemi, A., & Khatibi, M., & Crosbie, M. (2009, June), Modern And Traditional Architecture Education In Herat Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5492

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