Lecture by Professor Abdel Wahed El-Wakil

On 16 May 2017, following the celebrations to mark the inauguration of the Centre’s building, Professor Abdel Wahed El-Wakil, the project’s chief architect, lectured on 'Architecture in the Light of Tradition' in the Centre’s Malaysia Auditorium. In a comprehensive exposition of his approach to the built form, attended by many of those who had also worked on the project in a variety of capacities, Centre staff and friends, Professor El-Wakil emphasised the importance of symmetry and proportion, drawing on longstanding cultural traditions but also the realities of the natural world. In a lecture richly illustrated with slides, he argued that innovation should be balanced by and take its inspiration from respect for traditional harmonies, materials and techniques and not pursued for its own sake. This was one of the key principles which had enabled the harmonious drawing together of Islamic styles and forms traditional to Oxford in the design of the Centre’s new building, without compromising the integrity of either, but creating a unique space and environment for the Centre’s future work.

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