This paper presents the findings of an Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) research project funded by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). This interdisciplinary research project brings together architecture and sociolinguistics students and faculty members to develop a socio-cultural understanding and interpretation of the structures, designs, and physical dimensions of traditional elements employed by the members of the traditional society of Qatar from two complementary perspectives. The focus of this study is on identifying the multiple meanings and physical representations associated with elements of architecture, exemplified in the case of Qatari traditional architecture. These multiple meanings are dealt with from both architectural and multimodal discursive perspectives. The rationale behind this interdisciplinary approach is the fact that these two approaches are complementary to each other. This is because architecture spaces and elements act as a field and context where peoples' practices and activities take place, Hence, these practices are intricately interwoven with the architectural, i.e. structural and design, peculiarities of the individual spaces. One hundred Qatari traditional elements were selected for the purpose of this investigation within a framework of multimodal analysis. This approach takes into consideration the multiple modes through which meanings are constructed, i.e. building materials, structures and shapes of buildings, types of people who are entitled to use a particular building, activities that are organized around a space, to mention just a few. The project offers the opportunity to undergraduate students and faculty members from diverse disciplines to collaborate in an interdisciplinary research project, and thus to benefit from each other's background knowledge, ideas, and skills. The study recommends that this multidisciplinary approach be applied in undergraduate, postgraduate and other scholarly research pertaining to the study of traditional architecture and urban heritage. It proved to provide a better understanding and to serve as a strong motivation for students to engage themselves in research than an unidisciplinary approach.


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