A couple years back, I wrote a paper on domestic architecture in Ottoman Beirut, and I wanted to put a link to that paper on this page. There is a lot of work to be done on researching the role of women in the development of the most iconic houses in Beirut– The Central-Hall House. I hope my bibliography will be useful to others. Many thanks to the amazing collection at the Arab Image Foundation! Their incredible collection of photographs inspired my study and a big thank you also to Rice University Department of Art History and the Fondren Library Research Award for supporting my research.
Link to the full paper: http://hdl.handle.net/1911/64035
In the last thirty years of Ottoman rule in Beirut, Lebanon, a form of domestic architecture developed that became the ultimate status symbol for the burgeoning bourgeoisie of the city. This new sort of dwelling came to be known as the central-hall house. Based on a historiography of this housing type, I use recently published photographs from this same time period of 1890 to 1920 to reconsider three major design elements of the central-hall house: the triple arched window, plan of the central hall, and red tile roof in light of how these architectural features can be seen to be a part of the the inhabitants’ lives. Based on photographic evidence, I show that upper-class women were a touchpoint for changes taking place in the last thirty years of Ottoman rule in Beirut. New urban homes, educational opportunities, access to infrastructure, and conspicuous consumerism were a part of the lived reality of these women’s day-to-day existence. By taking these socio-cultural factors into account, iconic features of the central-hall house offer a view of space, place, and gender in the early stages of modernization in city of Beirut, the area of Lebanon, and the greater Syrian geographic area.
Semester paper originally written for Professor Shirine Hamadeh for Middle Eastern Cities– – Space, Modernity, and Memory (1840-1945), Rice University, HART 528, December 14, 2011