Iraqi architect Salma Samar Damluji has won the ‘Global Award for Sustainable Architecture’ for her mud-brick renovation work in Yemen
The fact Damluji has won this important architecture award is all the more ironic when you consider that she almost never became an architect at all. A couple of years into her architecture studies in London, she was bored and on the verge of quitting. By complete chance she stumbled across Hassan Fathy’s book about his earth-inspired architecture work at Gourna. “I suddenly discovered that I had been studying the wrong type of architecture,” she explains. Damluji decided to finish her studies and focused on mud architecture. In 1975 she left to work with Hassan Fathy in Cairo and she began teaching Islamic Art and Architecture in Lebanon. In 1980 she joined the UN and was posted to Yemen where she became fascinated by the mud fortresses of Hadramut.