An Excavated Geography of Oud
Leen Ajlan was born in 1997 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where her upbringing nurtured an interest in the physical and virtual representation of Arab culture in the built environment. Through her work, she seeks to facilitate, celebrate, and preserve local communities and their traditional artisanal practices.
She received her bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Westminster, London, where she is currently based. As part of her master’s degree in architecture at the Royal College of Art, London, she conducted research into the production and use of phosphate fertilizers on date-palm plantations in Al-Ahsa region. This project went on to be realized as a 1:1 installation entitled Deserts Don’t Bloom, as part of the exhibition Staple: What’s On Your Plate? at Hayy Jameel, Jeddah (2021). Her thesis project, “Scents of Al Hejaz,” explores the role of scent and perfume in Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historic center, looking at local fragrance-production techniques and cultural practices. Her undergraduate work featured in the London Festival of Architecture in 2018; and she was part of the design team for Three British Mosques by Shahed Saleem, shown at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021.