Khammash, Ammar (1960–)
Ammar Khammash is a well-known Jordanian architect, photographer, designer, and artist, He has completed several large-scale projects renovating ancient structures and churches throughout Jordan.
Khammash was born on 8 October 1960 in Amman, Jordan. He obtained a B.A. in architecture from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in the United States in 1986, and he studied ethnoarchaeology at the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at Yarmuk University in Irbid, Jordan in 1987 and 1988.
Khammash established Ammar Khammash Architects, a practice in Amman that encompasses more than just architecture; rather, his company helps clients with circulation and landscape management, building design, and interior design. He is one of Jordan's most noted architects, and also an accomplished artist and photographer. Since 1990, he has mounted a number of solo exhibitions of his paintings in Jordan, India, the United States, and Germany.
INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
Khammash has been involved with a number of significant historical-architectural constructions and renovations in Jordan that combine his architectural skills with his passion for historical preservation. One of his signature projects has been the Pella Jordan Valley Renovation. He designed and built two tourist rest houses, one at the Greco-Roman ruins of Pella and the other at the restored village of Umm Qays (the Greco-Roman city of Gadara). Both Pella and Gadara were part of the Decapolis—the ten Greco-Roman cities southeast of the Sea of Galilee. At Umm Qays Khammash renovated the German Excavation House in 1988, as well as an Ottoman-era home that same year that now serves at the Umm Qays museum. In these projects, Khammash has played an important role in stimulating a revival of traditional craftsmanship by employing local labor almost exclusively and using local materials and techniques. He had the support of the Jordanian government, which planned on making Pella and Umm Qays showcase tourist locales. The project was financed with a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and managed by the Amman-based American Center for Oriental Research.
In 1987, Khammash also assisted the cause of tourism in Jordan by planning an eighty-room expansion of Tayyibat Zaman, a tourist village near Petra designed to look like a "traditional" Jordanian village. In 1991, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature hired him to preserve a building in Dana, another tourist village in Jordan.
In the 1990s, Khammash worked on several historical projects in the Jordanian town of Madaba, home to several ancient Christian churches. From 1991 to 1993, he designed and managed construction of a shelter to cover Byzantine mosaics on the floor of the Church of the Apostles in Madaba, Jordan, and a shelter for similar Byzantine mosaics at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Madaba in 1993. That same year he renovated the Juma'an House in the town, and five years later renovated and added new spaces to the town's Harat Jadudna district.
Khammash has employed his talents on other archaeological-architectural projects. In 1987, he renovated a house in Aqaba, Jordan's only seaport, that had been used in the early-twentieth century by the Sharif Hussein bin Ali—leader of the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 and the father of Jordan's first king, King Abdullah I bin Hussein. Another similar project was the 1995 renovation of the Hijaz museum in Ma'an. The building was part of the Ottoman Hijaz railroad station that served as the headquarters for Abdullah when he first arrived in the region in 1920, long before he became king. Khammash designed a museum to be located inside the station. From 1992 to 1995, he also was commissioned to renovate three 1930s houses in Amman that today are the Darat al Funun Art Center. In so doing, Khammash designed a library and exhibition hall without destroying the original plan or ambiance. Darat al Funun is owned and run by the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation. He renovated another old, 1920s-era house in Amman in 1995 that became the showroom for Jordan River Design. Finally, in 1988 he designed and constructed several buildings in the courtyard of Yarmuk University's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Irbid to look like traditional village houses.
Name: Ammar Khammash
Birth: 1960, Amman, Jordan
Education: B.A. architecture; University of Southwestern Louisiana 1986; Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, Yarmuk University, Irbid, Jordan, 1987–1988
- 1986: Publishes Notes on Village Architecture in Jordan
- 1987: Plans eighty-room expansion of Tayyibat Zaman; renovates historic house in Aqaba
- 1988: Renovates the German Excavation House and Umm Qays Museum, Umm Qays; constructs several buildings in the courtyard of Yarmuk University's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Irbid
- 1991: Preserves building in Dana for Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature; works in Madaba on projects at Church of the Apostles, Church of the Virgin Mary, and Juma'an Houe; commissioned to renovate 1930s houses in Amman for the Darat al Funun Art Center
- 1995: Renovates the Hijaz museum in Ma'an; renovates historic house in Amman for Jordan River Design
- 2003: Displays one-man show of paintings at Zara Gallery in Amman
- 2007: Begins work on Multimedia Center in Amman
Khammash also maintains other interests, and possesses other notable talents. He is very interested in Jordanian flora, and he maintains a Web site (www.jordanflora.com) devoted to this topic. He also writes, and he lived in nine different villages in Jordan within one year to conduct a field study for his 1986 book Notes on Village Architecture in Jordan. Khammash is a highly regarded painter in Jordan, whose works are displayed at Darat al Funun among other places. In 2003 he mounted a one-man show of his paintings at Zara Gallery in Amman.
THE WORLD'S PERSPECTIVE
Khammash's skill and vision are recognized internationally. This was dramatically illustrated in 2001 when he won an international competition to design a mosque in Nazareth, Israel.
Khammash will be remembered as one of modern Jordan's greatest architects, particularly in the field of historical preservation.
Fliegel, Lisa. "In Search of a Jordanian Architectural Style." New Middle East Magazine. Available from http://archives.obs-us.com/obs/english/books/mem/n01a04.htm.
Khammash, Ammar. Notes on Village Architecture in Jordan. Lafayette University of Southwestern Louisiana Press, 1986.
Michael R. Fischbach