Islamic Architecture

Being 3 Years Old Again…

How CMOM Can Bring Your Inner Child Out, Too.

When Wall Street Journalist, Ralph Gardner Jr., visited our exhibition design, he stated:

“There are few occasions when I wish I was 3 years old. But I did during a visit to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s new exhibit called ‘America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far.’” He wasn’t the only one that got to be 3 years old this past week. Many politicians stopped by this past week to play.

Presidential candidate, Hillary R. Clinton, decided to experience what Gardner was talking about herself. Clinton spoke to New Yorkers at the center of the chahar bagh – the square garden – following the custom of community leaders in past Muslim societies. Many people from the community, who all wanted to be 3 years old again, came to as well. They all learned about sharing, love, and respect.
 Before having to leave, Clinton stopped by to write her wish on the "drops of hope" paper.
So, the only question we have for Hillary is: what was her wish for the wishing fountain?

Hillary Clinton CMOM MIIM Designs

A couple of days later, several of Clinton's childhood friends came to learn about sharing, love, and respect . New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Members Helen RosenthalJimmy Van Bramer, and I. Daneek Miller, all stopped by to play at the Children’s Museum’s America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far exhibit today. They even learned the importance of cooperation and team. They set off to make a song together with tanbour, tabla, and sitar. Rumor has it that they might even start a new band soon. Wonder if we will get to hear their new album?

Hillary Clinton CMOM MIIM Designs

As Huffington Post Islamic Studies Scholar Rose Deighton wrote:

 “Today more than ever, it is of immense importance that we begin to appreciate the complexity and great differences that exist within Muslim societies. [This exhibit] … is a timely contribution to our collective experience of the Islamic world and an important reminder of the diversity here at home among American Muslims.”

More on the MIIM Designs CMOM Exhibit


2014 Tamayouz Award Recognizes Iraq’s Women in Architecture

The Tamayouz Excellence Award–the first award in the Middle East to recognize women in architecture and construction–has announced the 2014 winners who have significantly contributed to Iraq’s built environment. The esteemed judging panel–Angela Brady, Clare Devine, Jane Duncan, and Ali Grehan–has selected architect, academic and planner Shereen Sherzad for the Tamayouz Women of Achievements Award. The Emerging Women Architects Award was bestowed upon Venus Akef, an award winning aspiring architect and academic at theUniversity of Technology in Baghdad, focusing on architectural heritage and the cultural identity. In addition, a Special Commemorative Award was given to Neda Al-Juboory, an “outstanding community architect who engaged at local level and inspired all those who came in contact with her.” Sadly in 2007, Al-Juboory was killed in a car bomb explosion where she worked as the Director of Urban Planning at the Ministry of Municipalities. Ahmed Al-Mallak, Founder of the Tamayouz Excellence Award, commented on the significance of the awards for Iraq.

“It gives us great pleasure to announce the winners of Tamayouz Women in Architecture and Construction Award, both Shereen Sherzad and Venus Akef are still making outstanding contributions to the profession of architecture in Iraq and it is important to show the commitment and sacrifices Iraqi women are making and this is portrayed by the commitment of the Late Neda Al-Juboory who was killed during a ceremony where she was supposed to receive a prize for her excellent work. Women in Iraq are doing fantastic jobs and we will continue to highlight their efforts.”

Click here to read the Tamayouz Excellence Award 2014 announcement, online

Sacred Space: Transformations from Within

Sacred Space: Transformations from Within

Both the major discussions on the mosque at ISNA addressed this issue of the masjid being a space of chastisement or discomfort as opposed to a welcoming space for spiritual growth. Whether it is women who are reprimanded for entering the main hall to pray or youth who are admonished for their dress, rather than opening its arms to the diversity of the community, many mosques often continue to marginalize women and youth, leaving the community to create new spaces of gathering and worship or to perhaps abandon their faith and spiritual practice.

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From Stranded to Standard: Who’s to Blame for the Failure in Bangladesh Fire

From Stranded to Standard: Who’s to Blame for the Failure in Bangladesh Fire

In the incident that we witnessed last week, the factory burning and collapsing killing 300 people and leaving 1200 people severely injured in Savar, Bangladesh, is the sacrifice that these companies make: buildings and lives. Several companies establish factories and production lines similar to this one in rural and developing countries in order to avoid building and maintenance codes that are established in the United States and Europe, keeping cost and overhead to a minimum and maximizing marginal profit. In the United States, when a building is under construction, there are several building permits that have to be acquired before a building is allowed to have any occupancy. Two of the major building permits are the “Fire Codes” known as NFPA Codes (National Fire Protection Association) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which allows for the clearance of building materials– dead loads, such as building vertically, and live loads, which is the occupancy rate of each room/floor.

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MIIM Designs' Founder and Principal Architect Maryam Eskandari Featured in Harvard's Islawmix Magazine

MIIM Designs' Founder and Principal Architect Maryam Eskandari was featured in Harvard University's "islawmix" magazine on the "history, representation and role" of the mosque in the nascent Muslim community and today. The mosque historically has served as a social, spiritual, educational and even economic center for Muslims. MIIM elaborated on the commercial role of the mosque as a contributor to the economic growth of the Muslim community:

"According to Maryam Eskandari, an American architect focusing on creating inclusive Islamic architecture who recently sat down with islawmix and will be featured in the upcoming parts of this series, the relationship between the mosques and surrounding businesses was extremely mutual and contributed to the economic growth of the community as well as the sustenance of the mosques: since mosques were a central communal space, it made sense for merchants to establish themselves there, attracting any and all congregants. The merchants, in turn, would donate portions of their earnings to the mosque for its care and growth. Indeed, we find that the Ka’aba, the holiest site in Islam to where Muslims are obliged to perform pilgrimage at least once in their lifetimes if they are able to, itself was a commercial center both before and after the establishment of Islam"


"While the state of the mosque in its communities evolved throughout the centuries, its position in the heart of the Muslim community in which it was built remained strong as did its function as a space for worship, social interaction, education, justice and commercialism. The mosque was never just walls, brick and calligraphy thrown together for ritual prayer. Instead it was a place of almost functional worship in which the very existence and cultivation of the mutual and altruistic relationships within the community were acts of devotion to God. Today, its role differs greatly from not only society to society – but neighborhood to neighborhood as a result of several factors. This fluctuation has been nowhere more apparent than in the United States."

Read more here.