Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan's First Female Architect's, Interview with Dwell Magazine


As profiled in our "Women of Influence" roundup in our July/August 2012 issue, Yasmeen Lari is the closest thing Pakistan has to a design superhero. After years working as an architect, designing buildings for a wide range of clients, from corporate campuses to low-income housing, she left private practice in order to focus on issues close to her heart, including developing sustainable and vernacular disaster relief housing and dedicating herself to writing, research, and her work with the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, the ambitious nonprofit she developed with her husband. Here, we ask her  questions about her architectural work, her philanthropical passions, and the unique challenges of working in her homeland.

Read more

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Maryam Eskandari Interview with BBC

Muslim American Move Away from Minaret

By Jane O'Brien
BBC News, Washington

In post 9/11 America the construction of new mosques in the US has sometimes sparked controversy and even confrontation. Is that why some new Muslim houses of worship are being built without the most recognisable features of Islamic architecture - minarets and domes?

Architect Maryam Eskandari, former associate director of the American Institute of Architects, is touring the US with a photo exhibition illustrating the transition of American mosques from traditional to postmodern design. She says Islamic Architecture has long been subject to personal interpretation and set in a cultural and historical context. "The Kaaba itself doesn't have a dome, it doesn't have a minaret - that was built later on," she says, speaking of the Mecca building hat is Islam's most holy site.

"Its just a cube. So traditionally speaking that is the idea of Islamic Architecture."
Read More:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Irfan Rydhan Writes About the Top 10 Ways Not to Build a Mosque

July 6, 2012
Here are the top 10 items which the American Muslim Community should do if they do NOT want to build a new Mosque:
10. If your community finds a good sized piece of land (or an existing building) at a good price, then don’t look into the zoning or check to see if a religious assembly can legally be held there!  You can figure out the zoning later, after you have bought the land and invested a lot of the community’s money. Getting a legal use permit is a waste of time and money.  We don’t have to do that back home, so why do it here right?
9. If the site is sloped, don’t try to find out how much it would cost to grade the site (make it flat) for a new building.  The cost of grading will just scare you away and you will miss out on buying a nice piece of property at a really good price (and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?)
8. If the site is narrow or has little space for parking, don’t worry about it.  You can figure out parking after you have bought the property at a very good price.  Adding a parking garage or underground parking is definitely do-able.  It’s not that expensive, and they both cost about the same anyways. You can always tell people in the community to carpool to the mosque.  Don’t let this property get away – Buy It Now!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Arab Spring, In Diaspora

In early October 2011, as more than 400 young Arabs from different parts of the world steadily filed into a convention center in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada. Their minds were teeming with inspiring words of Al Barghouti, the success stories of Maryam Eskandari, award winning Iranian-American architect and Dima Al Ashram from Rawwad, non-profit organization that empowers marginalized communities; as well as other successful Arab scientist, engineers, and activist who spoke at the summit.

read more  

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

M Squared Designs LLC Commits to Partnership with Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

June 1, 2012
MSquared Designs LLC led by partner Maryam Eskandari have been invited to take part in Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. M Squared Designs LLC will take part in two platforms: Sustainable Cities and Innovations and Sustainable Development for Fighting Poverty.
Sustainability and Innovations are pillars of development which many cities are struggling to embrace albeit with challenges. Led by Prof. Winnie Mitullah, the concepts are closely linked and have several tenets and cities across the globe address the challenges in varied manner depending on their level of awareness, capacity, and ability to rally relevant resources, including stakeholders. It is therefore useful to hear voices across the globe and share ideas on the challenges facing cities, how the challenges are being addressed, and effective responses and recommendations for ensuring sustainability and innovative approaches for managing cities. We will be focusing on ways to make a contributions to assist heads of State and Governments in Rio+20 come up with:
· Governance models which acknowledge the partnership approaches, and enable cities to effectively reproduce themselves.
· Coordination mechanisms for ensuring synergy among various actors operating within cities.
· Innovative ways and means of mobilizing resources required for various interventions, and effective management of cities for sustainability.

Sustainable Development for Fighting Poverty initiated twenty years ago at the Earth Summit, or Rio 92, produced two important documents that related to sustainable development with fighting poverty: 1) the Letter of the Earth, 2) Agenda 21 in order to match economic growth and population growth in a sustainable manner according to a model economically viable, socially just and environmentally sound.
In 2000, during the United Nations Millennium Summit, world leaders committed to implement by 2015 the Millennium Development Goals, among which include the reversal of extreme poverty, hunger and disease that affect billions of people around the world.
The challenge of Rio +20 must, first, re-validate theses tools and reinforce the importance of its implementation on the horizon proposed: 2015, calling on all sectors of society public, private and third sector, to demand and work on its implementation.
New proposals must be prepared, seeking to enrich these tools and make them more practical and objective: Incorporating measures to avoid future economic crises and build resilience in the eradication of poverty. Much effort in formulation, planning and monitoring results have been achieved and should not be wasted, but enhanced.
Nevertheless the main question that we hope to resolve and answer is:What are the main challenges and objectives for Sustainable Development to succeed in Fighting Poverty?
· Which specific sustainable development policies, explicitly aimed at the eradication of poverty at the local, regional and global level, have been successful?
· How do we reduce the number of people living on less than 1.25 per day?
· How to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young?
· Income partnerships between nations and between different sectors (public, private and third sector) in order to end poverty and promote sustainable development?
· Promote family health, combat infectious diseases (malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and others) and reduce child mortality?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ask the World Leaders to Imagine a World Without Famine

M Squared Designs LLC is a proud supporter and sponsor of United Nations Development Program in ending world hunger and famine. Join us in collaboration to ask the G8 World Leaders during this weekends summit to imagine a world without famine.