BY: Shaikha Almahmoud



Virtues of Local Traditional Environmental Design in a Contemporary Context.

In the Arabian Gulf countries, the majlis is a central part of the house. The most public space within it, the majlis represents the household’s occupants to society and its social and economic status. As the house reflects culture and civilization, so the family is understood as a micro-level society of individuals raised in its institutions. Hence, the house is a manifestation of family structure, religious beliefs, and individual needs and desires, reflecting the family’s economic, cultural, and social backgrounds and aspirations. The majlis offers a unique space in Arab societies, articulating cultural and social factors that directly impact identity Accordingly, the design of the majlis and meanings associated with its constituents are essential to the discussion about Qatari culture and society from past to present (Rapoport 1969).

Since the discovery of oil in Qatar, there has been a noteworthy change in the way that houses have been designed, with a major transformation in the use of house and majlis over the last few generations, including social factors such as family social structure, the role of women, kinship and its relationship with privacy and proximity, and economic factors such as the availability of disposable income.

This research explores the evolution of house architecture in Qatar with a focus on the design and social impact of the majlis. The physical and social changes in the period between pre-oil discovery until today have created gaps between the built form, climate, and sociocultural activities. This research attempts to bridge this gap, concentrating on the majlis.

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