Biography

11 commentsFamily,Writing

My friends and business partners have been egging me on to update my portfolio and website, and today Samsam reminded me that I owe my copywriter Hala a bio outline. Samsam sounded like she’d come over and beat me with a stick if I didn’t get it done today.

Since I didn’t want to piss her off (and because I bruise easily), I promptly got to work. The bio now resides in beta form in the About section of this blog (until Hala spins her magic on it), but someone (Samsam again) suggested I post it as a story as well.

So here it is. Read it if you like, and I apologize in advance. :)

Meedo Taha (me)

Meedo Taha

Architect & Filmmaker | Biography [beta]
Born February 7, 1976

1975 – Start of the Lebanese War.

1976 – Born in Beirut Lebanon to Assad (medical student) and Mona (9 years his junior).

1977 – Meedo’s 3 member family moves to Edgware UK for father’s studies.

1978 – First memory of walking up a hill with his mother to Nursery school.

1979 – Ginger brother Tarek born 2 months premature (Meedo watches through delivery room window as he is pulled out with forceps).

1980 – Family returns to Lebanon, where Meedo can only speak English and feels many secrets are kept from him.

1981 – Begins Kindergarten in Lebanon one year ahead of his age but rapidly falls in love with Joanne and rapidly regresses to stupidity.

1982 – First kiss. Teased to no end. Bullies his friends and his Mom is called into school several times. Is the second kid in his class to learn to read. In the meantime, Israeli invasion keeps his family and country occupied. Family moves out of grandparents’ house and into AUB Alumni apartments. Best friend is next door neighbor Christine. They play doctor and Meedo discovers that girls and boys are different. Father teaches him how to burn a newspaper with a magnifying glass and saves him after getting himself stuck at the top of the monkey bars in the building’s playground. One day he uses his new tape recorder to make a complete recording of a political debate his father and his friends were having, and is punished and made to record over it with two hours of silence as he watches. Meet first foreign soldier and become friends. Soldier soon killed in combat.

1983 – Family moves to Makhoul Street a few blocks away. Father buys Meedo every Texas Instruments toy there is, but his favorite is Speak and Spell (as featured in ET), whose bleep bleep music he imitates all day. Every time doorbell rings, Meedo dives onto the sofa and hides his face into the cushions hoping it’s his father, who then comes and lifts him up. Goes with family to Los Angeles. Stays at Peter Pan Motel. One day can’t find Dad so he trips the fire alarm and everyone runs out. Hotel Manager not pleased.

1984 – Family moves to Mar Elias into building that only a month later becomes center of operations for Walid Jumblat Militia. Second love, Sharon at IC. Meedo picks up garbage to impress her. Then he learns girls prefer macho to sweet. Asked by school to skip ahead one level but family refuse. Brother Jad is born. Mom probably wanted a girl because she grows his hair and knots it into pigtails. He cries a lot. Meedo is his art teacher’s favorite student. He cares about little else. Still manages good grades though.

1985 – Building is transformed into major artillery warehouse and parking lot is protected with hills of sand. Meedo and friends use them as molehills and have lots of filthy fun. His best friend is Obada. One day while playing hide and seek with him Meedo is hit by a car (after deciding not to look both ways to save time running back) and goes flying high and lands on hood. No major injuries. But the car is totaled.

1986 – Meedo becomes leader of South Street local gang (after being their most cowardly member) and major adversary to Danny (leader of North Street gang). He’s also star goalie in parking lot football team. Takes part in BUC (now LAU) drama class initiative. Removes tonsils. Has tons of milkshake during recovery.

1987 – Intermediate school. Major issues with administration. Teachers’ favorite, but he gives them hell (or so his classmates remind him today). Cuts out slips of paper with “ATTENTION” printed on them so he can “pay it” to his teachers when asked. Also has his father make him a personalized ink stamp, then brands all his classmates’ textbooks during recess.

1988 – War breaks out again. School is suspended. Meedo and family move to Nabatieh. Meedo and cousin Habib break into local school, climb into storage and steel soccer balls to sell to local kids. Make some money. Learns a lot about religion; decides it’s not for him.

1989 – Back in Beirut to resume school. Does homework in his father’s clinic at AUH. Nothing major.

1990 – Third and final school love, Bana. Meedo learns to write poems. He is too nerdy to be accepted by cool group and too un-nerdy to be accepted by nerds. Is in social limbo. Mother buys him Nike Air shoes instead.

1991 – Travels to US to visit Uncle in Cincinnati. Has first proper kiss with Brigitte. Thinks it’s OK but can’t really see what all the fuss is about. Attends first major league baseball game. Has the same reaction as kissing.

1992 – Chaperones Bana at Miss IC Pageant. Thinks she should play George Harisson’s “I Got My Mind Set on You” (classy, spot on lyrics, timeless). She chooses David Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” (cheap, trashy lyrics, forgettable) instead. Meedo is informed that former adversary Danny died in freak self-inflicted gun-related accident.

1993 – Graduates with honorable mention. Has his heart broken at prom. Becomes an adult.

1994 – Crisis at Architecture School, AUB. He hates it. Plays pranks on professors. Barely passes.

1995 – Watches Three Colors Trilogy and has his first epiphany.

1996 – Epiphany takes a serious step forwards as new faculty members are brought in. John Biln, Mirjana Lozanovska and Marwan Ghandour give him a shock to the system. His grades skyrocket and he develops a huge interest in Architecture, Film, Post Colonial Theory, Philosophy and History.

1997 – Meets Nadim Karam, his future mentor, at AUB. Also Bernard Khoury is major influence. Spends the summer interning in Japan. His life will never be the same.

1998 – Graduates top of his class. Works briefly with Nadim Karam then moves to Japan to do his Masters. First stop, Kanazawa University for 6 months of Japanese, which he learns in 3 by skipping class and making local friends instead.

1999 – Moves to Fukui to do research under Professor Hidekazu Shirai of Fukui University.

2000 – Moves to Tokyo to study under Tadao Ando.

2001 – Studies continue with Ando, including meetings and research with major architects like Toyo Ito and Hiroshi Hara. Friendship with Nadim Karam continues and blossoms into mentorship.

2002 – Writes his Masters Thesis entitled Shoma: Small Space in Tokyo and its Architecture.

2003 – Begins his PhD studies and is hired by Arata Isozaki & i-Net as Project Manager.

2004 – Spends the year back and forth between Tokyo, London, Dubai and Qatar, where he conducts on-site meetings and presentations to Qatar Foundation and Sheikha Mouza.

2005 – Writes his PhD Thesis entitled montagespace: Cinema and the Making, Un-Making and Re-Making of Architecture. Rehired as AI&I Offshore Project Manager. Moves back to Beirut.

2006 – Outbreak of Israel/Lebanon War. Moves briefly with tiny suitcase to UK on board British Naval Carrier (12 hours by sea). Spends a few months at a dormitory in Colchester, Essex. Flies with same suitcase to Japan to get his visa to US, then to Los Angeles to begin MFA studies at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Lives out of that suitcase for two years.

2007 – Enters dual track Cinematography/Directing program under Bill McDonald and Rory Kelly. Writes, directs and shoots several student productions including Mouse, Lupine and Homework.

2008 – Returns to Lebanon to work on his Thesis project. Brother Tarek gets married and moves to Indianapolis as medical resident.

2009 – Continues his hiatus in Lebanon, freelancing in various architecture and photography projects. Travels extensively to UK, Europe, Middle East and US. Work on his thesis screenplay continues. Teaches a class entitled montage (based on his PhD thesis) at his alma matter the Department of Architecture and Design at AUB.

2010 – Spends a month in South India at an Ashram. Launches emtiful, an Architecture and Film collaborative with Corinne Frenzel and Suleiman Hatoum (who took the above photo, by the way).

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Love it :)
But you made me sound like a monster :p

Reply

Meedo May 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Yes, you are the wonderful sweet monster Sulley in my closet who always scares me into being a better person. <3

Reply

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

:))) <3

Reply

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Love it :)
But you made me sound like a monster :p

Reply

Meedo May 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Yes, you are the wonderful sweet monster Sulley in my closet who always scares me into being a better person. <3

Reply

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

:))) <3

Reply

Sooly, Sulley, Souly, Suleiman May 28, 2010 at 7:39 am

Aishteru.

Reply

Meedo May 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

Hahaha. x

Reply

Sooly, Sulley, Souly, Suleiman Hatoum May 28, 2010 at 10:39 am

Aishteru.

Reply

Meedo May 28, 2010 at 11:40 am

Hahaha. x

Reply

Monica November 20, 2015 at 5:27 pm

This is very disturbing to hear. As an AUB stednut, I feel outraged that a young girl had to go through this as she was playing on the campus. At the same time, I do not think we can blame the security guard for not speaking English properly. Lebanon’s official language is Arabic and the security personnel are working class and have not been educated in elite schools like AUB. The university does offer language classes for staff but maybe he was new or he just did not understand because she was upset. If they did not understand you on the phone, you should have gone to the protection office next to the main gate. This is an extremely serious claim, especially if he tried to carry her away (rape!) and I urge you to keep pressing for an investigation. You can contact AUB Police at 03-334307 or go to the office and bring an Arabic speaker with you. We need to find out who this man is; if he is staff, faculty, resident, or if he somehow wandered in from the Corniche. You should give the police a description of the man so they can start an investigation. Near that area, there are always two security guards, one near the gate to the Corniche and another next to the business school gate. Maybe they also saw someone that day. I understand that we are all frustrated with the system in this country and the police often do nothing, but we have to keep demanding that they do their job and be accountable. I think that if you explain what happened, they will do something. Please update us on what happens.

Reply

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