November 23, 2004 Library of Congress Kluge Center to Present Conference on "Bam, Past & Future"

Conference Presented on Dec. 13-14 in Conjunction with the Catholic University School of Architecture's Bam Studio

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Mina Marefat (202) 707-0296
Contact: Reservations: Jacquia Warren (202) 707-1250

The historic Iranian city of Bam, and how it weathered the devastating earthquake that struck the city in December 2003, is the subject of a two-day international program in Washington, D.C.: a presentation at Catholic University on Monday, Dec. 13, and a symposium at the Library of Congress on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

An exhibition of photographs taken of Bam both before and after the earthquake will be on display both days.

These events, organized and hosted by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Catholic University School of Architecture, is free and open to the public. Space is limited, however, and reservations are requested by responding to [email protected] or by calling the Kluge Center at (202) 707-1250.

On Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Catholic University's School of Architecture (Crough Center) graduate students will present their architectural projects on the city of Bam before an international jury of architects.

The second day of "Bam, Past and Future" will be held at the Library of Congress Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in LJ 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., and will trace the city's historical evolution and the importance of its ancient citadel. The international panel of scholars, architects and seismic specialists will explore the relationship between cultural space and seismic concerns, public and private realms in the city, the rebuilding efforts under way and the problems of reconstruction in a culturally rich city that has been largely destroyed. Bam is large oasis on the edge of a vast desert in Iran where water is supplied by qanats, a sophisticated underground irrigation canal system. Its history dates back more than 2,000 years to the time of the Sassanians, who built its impressive citadel, now on UNESCO's historic buildings register.

The list of architects, engineers and policymakers who have been invited and plan to participate in the conference includes, in addition to Mina Marefat, who organized the conference: Chahryar Adle (Paris and Bam); Hossein Amanat (Vancouver); Iradj Kalantari (Iran); Morteza Kazemi (Iran); Keyvan Khosrovani (Paris); Fred Krimgold (Virginia); Bijan Khazai (New York and Bam); Randolph Langenbach and Nader Khalili (California); and Archie Walls (London).

The Bam events are part of a larger initiative at the Library of Congress called the Islamic Cities Project, initiated and directed by Marefat, a former Rockefeller Fellow at the Kluge Center. The project looks at architecture as a universal prism through which broader cultural phenomena can be understood. Its mission is to promote public education about architecture and raise awareness of Islamic and Persian architecture and culture.

For the Bam project, the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress has collaborated for the first time with Catholic University's School of Architecture to sponsor a semester-long academic workshop. This graduate-level studio focuses on the city of Bam in the aftermath of the earthquake, which resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and the destruction of much of the city, including its ancient citadel, once the world's oldest extant mud-brick building complex.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about any of the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, fax (202) 707-3595, or visit the Web at


PR 04-184
ISSN 0731-3527