Building a Muslim-American Identity: An Islamic College
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In contemporary American culture Islam is often misrepresented and misunderstood. This thesis seeks to revive the Islamic intellectual tradition by using architecture and campus planning to construct a more accurate understanding of Islam in an American context. Designing an institution for Islamic higher learning will provide American-born Muslim scholars with the opportunity of assuming a positive role in society. The thesis explores repurposing and retexturing of West Berkeley, California as a method of weaving the Muslim American narrative in the design of Zaytuna College, America's first liberal arts Islamic College. The college itself will house students of diverse backgrounds, both Muslim and non-Muslim, accommodate prayer facilities for the neighboring Muslim community, and engage in interfaith and civic dialogue. The thesis will speculate on how the campus will evolve over time and identify a scale that is appropriate to its context.