Babylonian Jewish Neighborhood and Home Design

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This book focuses on two interrelated subjects. One is the evolution of the Jewish community in central and southern Iraq and its impact upon the neighborhood structure and the design of the “Baghdad house.” The other is the innovative, non-energy-consuming cooling system which evolved in response to the arid climate. This study will appeal to historians, sociologists, students of Judaica, and anthropologists because it pictures a community that has now vanished. It will also be a valuable resource for architects and urban designers who are actively seeking solutions to the twin problems of conserving energy and providing comfortable dwellings in hot, dry climates.


“. . . this might be the only comprehensive inquiry of its kind that currently exists in such detail. Dr. Golany is a renowned scholar and researcher who is deeply respected by his peers. This particular book is perhaps one of his most unique and special contributions, as it deals with the typology of a dwelling form that has rarely been explored or disseminated. It promises to be a classic in the field of Babylonian architectural history. The quality of scholarship is based on years of intimate, personal knowledge and extensive research. The extraordinarily rich and beautifully executed illustrations support the text and complement it admirably. . . the hierarchical method utilized in presenting it – the culture, the city, the quarter, the house – is to be applauded. All essential elements are dovetailed in an easily understandable fashion, for any reader, collecting and mobilizing a great deal of information that cannot be found elsewhere. This pioneering book bridges the fields of city planning, architecture, and Jewish history. . . . It is obvious that much careful reflection went into the analysis of neighborhoods and houses and they stand out as a significant and useful example of climate-sensitive design – an area which is becoming more important as sustainable development issues emerge with increasing rapidity. The book’s focus is upon content and form, perception and meaning, climate and social context.” – Norman Pressman, MCIP, OPPI, AICP

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
List of Figures, List of Tables
Preface, Foreword, Introduction
Culture of Babylonian Jewry
The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Baghdad House
House Studies and Cooling Systems
Further Reading on Babylonian Jewry
Appendices, Index

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