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Saleh al Hathloul
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Saleh Al Hathloul - Saudi Arabia

Architect, Critic, Urbanist

My name is Saleh al Hathloul. I come from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I am basically an urbanist, an urbanist historian, and a critic.

I have been involved since the late 1970’s until now with dealing with the dilemma of tradition and traditional environments and the issue of identity in the contemporary urban architecture and urbanism. I’ve dealt with this in several ways. The way I have been looking at it is tradition can be interpreted in many ways, both in architecture and the physical environment.

Some contemporary architects try to identify through the motifs and, therefore, include traditional motifs in their new production of architecture. Some others look at architecture as a product of the society in which it originates; therefore, they look into the society, its laws, the social norms, customs, and they see how these laws. social norms and customs have been reflected in the physical environment. Therefore, they understand there are certain themes and underlying structures that are implied within the traditional physical environment, and, if we can now look into these themes, norms and customs, and try to translate them into certain criteria and see if they are still valid for the society. If they are, we can apply them to the contemporary environment. In that case, it is not a matter of motifs, but it is a matter of values.

If we can accommodate these values the society still believes in or the new values that the society introduced, most probably we will be able to produce an architecture that is acceptable to the society and that does establish the theme of continuity with the past and at the same time respond to our present and give us aspirations to our future.



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