Fundamentalists and Other Arab Modernisms
Architecture from the Arab World 1914–2014
The catalogue for the Kingdom of Bahrain’s pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennial creates a convincing effect thanks to a nonchalant manner of handling heterogeneous picture material: 100 buildings are presented in chronological order on 100 pages. They are documented with one to four black-and-white illustrations of widely varying types and origins, each printed on a light yellow background rectangle and arranged non-hierarchically on the page. Although the varying formats and arrangements are oriented on a grid, this is done so subtly that the predominant impression is one of intuitive composition. The pictures almost appear to be dancing and each double-page spread is both surprising and successful. In the text section that follows, with Arabic on the left-hand page and English on the right, the typography of the two writing systems seems surprisingly similar. One spectacular detail is the only four-colour photo in the book, which appears as if at random on one of the picture spreads. The book’s spine, which is completely covered with smalltype text, is also very fine.