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Title: An%20introduction%20to

  • An introduction to
  • Islamic Architecture and its influence on the

  • As the European civilization grew and reached the
    Middle Ages, there was hardly a field of learning
    or form of art, be it science, literature or
    architecture, where there was not some influence
    of Islamic culture present.
  • Islamic learning became in this way part and
    parcel of Western civilization well into the
    advent of the Renaissance (where exchanges
    continued to be based on mutual intellectual
    respect despite historic differences), and on to
    the modern era.

  • This presentation provides a short account of the
    features that characterize what is referred to as
    Islamic architecture, and recalls some of the
    threads and common elements that bind it to
    historic and contemporary western architecture.

  • Islamic Culture Diversity in Unity

  • Islamic culture reached out and intermingled with
    large numbers of varied and distant peoples. In
    the course of 12 centuries, the cultures of
    Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and South
    East Asia were added to the Islams original
    areas of influence in the Middle East, North
    Africa, Persia and Turkey.

  • The uniting of so many diverse cultures under one
    religion had the effect of integrating and
    disseminating the latest and best discoveries to
    all parts of the realm.
  • Paper making from China, numerals from India,
    classical Greek science and philosophy
    translations, Byzantine and Coptic traditions
    were all shared. In medicine the Muslims enhanced
    Greek theory by practical observation and
    clinical experience.

  • One of the major achievements of the Islamic
    civilization is its architecture.
  • Its great masterpieces (from the Dome on the
    Rock in Jerusalem, the Taj Mahal in India to the
    Mosque of Cordoba in Spain) unite intricate
    spatial relationships, artistic illustration,
    remarkable structural technology and sensitive
    environmental harmony into magnificent displays.


Dome on the Rock, Jerusalem
Taj Mahal, India

  • Mosque of Cordoba

Mosque of Cordoba, Spain
Islamic Architectural Style
  • Over the years, Islamic architecture evolved from
    the first mosque built by the Prophet Muhammad in
    Medina, and from other pre-Islamic features
    adapted from churches, temples and synagogues
    into a highly refined and distinctive style.

  • The fundamental vocabulary of Islamic
    architecture was worked out relatively quickly
    during the first two centuries of the new faith,
    that is the 7th and 8th centuries.
  • It proved flexible enough to meet all the needs
    of Muslim life. Mosques, schools, markets,
    mausoleums, houses and public baths were built
    with a beautiful unified design system, embracing
    regional disparities and inventiveness.

  • The prime architectural elements that define
    Islamic style are
  • Courtyard
  • Minaret
  • Dome
  • Mihrab
  • Iwan
  • Arches and Vaults
  • Geometric decorative patterns and calligraphy

  • Islamic architectural elements in a typical
    mosque. Source Encarta

  • the
  • Courtyard

  • Most mosques contain a courtyard (originally a
    feature of the Prophet's mosque) with a central
    fountain or pool, surrounded on all sides by an
  • A courtyard (sahn) in a mosque is used for
    performing ablutions, praying, meditation and
  • Grand Mosque, Aleppo Syria

  • An interior courtyard in a traditional house, on
    the other hand, is used for aesthetics and
  • It performs an important function as a modifier
    of climate in hot arid areas.
  • It allows outdoor activities with protection from
    the wind, dust and sun.

  • Interior courtyards serve both as light wells, in
    a building with limited exterior window openings,
    and as air wells into which the cool dense night
    air sinks.
  • During the day, the heated air rises, convection
    currents set up an airflow that, in conjunction
    with a fountain and pool, ventilates the house
    and keeps it cool.

  • Painting by Filippo Baratti, 1872

  • the Minaret

  • Unique to Islamic architecture are the minarets.
    Their dual functions are to act as a landmark
    for mosque location and to enable the call to
    prayer to be chanted high above the community for
    the faithful to hear.

Source Islam Art and Architecture
  • Samarra
    Yemen Syria
    Seville Ottoman Taj Mahal

Source Islam Art and Architecture
  • Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Masjid El-Nabawi. Medina, Saudi Arabia
  • the Dome

  • Domes, a dominant feature, may have been a
    development of early Christian sources.
  • The earliest Islamic use of the dome was in the
    eighth century mosque of Medina.
  • Some mosques will have multiple, often smaller
    domes in addition to the main large dome that
    resides at the central praying area

  • 18th century panel representing the
    mosque of Medina in
    Saudi Arabia.

  • Khoja Ahmad Yasawi Mausoleum,
  • Turkistan 14th century
  • Photo Islam, Art and Architecture

  • Sultan Mosque, Singapore, 1826
  • bearing multiple domes

  • the Mihrab

  • The most important element in any mosque is the
    mihrab, the niche that indicates the direction of
    Mecca. Because it functions as the focal point in
    prayer ritual, its decoration was executed with
    great skill and devotion
  • Mihrab in the tomb of Sultan
    Iltutmish, Delhi, 1236

  • Mihrab, 14th century Isfahan, Iran

  • the Iwan

  • An Iwan is a vaulted hall or space, used to
    intermediate between different sections.
  • There are usually four around the courtyard.

  • Sultan Hassan mosque, Egypt

  • Arches and Vaults

  • To the early architects of the mosque we may
    attribute the development of the horseshoe and
    pointed arch and brick vaulted arcades

  • Gardens

  • The Muslims developed the concept of the garden
    as a place of beauty and meditation, harmoniously
    integrated with the building layout.
  • Islamic gardens were typically designed as a sort
    of escape or peaceful seclusion from the outside

Alhambra Gardens, 12 Century
  • Golestan Palace garden , Tehran,
    Iran, 16th century

  • Ornamentation

  • The brilliant use of decorative schemes,
    geometric shapes and repetitive patterns are a
    hallmark of Islamic architecture .

  • Tiles. Iran, 14th century.
  • State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg


  • Madar-i-Shah, Isfahan, Iran, 18th century
  • Photo Architecture De LIslam

  • Plaster, brickwork, glazed brick and tile were
    used as decorative media .

Stalactites (Muqarnas)
  • Vast numbers of small squinches were used as a
    decorative motif , built in overlapping layers
    creating a magical cave of satellites.
  • They were first used to cover pendentives ,
    spherical triangles which act as a transition
    between a circular dome and a square or polygonal
    hall on which the dome is set.
  • Photo Architecture De LIslam

  • Stalactites were later employed as a decorative
    features in door heads,
  • columns capitals and on walls.

  • Painting by M. Rifaat, 2006

The use of Ornamental Arabic Calligraphy
  • Like all Islamic decoration, calligraphy is
    closely linked to geometry. The proportions of
    the letters are all governed by mathematics.
    Inscriptions are most often used as a frame along
    and around main elements of a building like
    portals and cornices.
  • Because the Muslim faith discourages pictorial
    representation, the extensive use of calligraphy
    evolved into a highly sophisticated decorative
    medium. Its role in recording the word of God
    renders it one of the most important forms of
    Islamic art.

Friday Mosque, Isfahan, Iran
  • Many Islamic buildings have surface inscriptions
    in stone, stucco, marble, mosaic and/or painting.
    The inscription might be a verse from the Koran,
    lines of poetry, or names and dates.

  • Friday Mosque, Yazid, Iran

  • Islamic Architectural Style Transfer to the West

  • Many of the outstanding medieval buildings of the
    West are indebted to the techniques of Islamic
    architecture. In fact, it can be said that the
    great medieval European architectural tradition
    is one of the elements of Western civilization
    most directly linked to the Islamic world.
  • Bargello Musium, Florence, 13th

  • The Role of Spain

  • From its power house in Mecca, Islam flashed
    through North Africa and brought to Spain in the
    8th century the architectural heritage of the
    Middle East.
  • It was energetically superimposed on the dormant
    Roman-Romanesque traditions of the time,
    culminating in highly imaginative and
    structurally ingenious design techniques
    gradually making their way all across Europe.

  • Comparison of these two minarets reveals design
    features carried through over eight centuries,
    from the 8th century Great Mosque in Damascus
    (left) to the 16th century Aragon Cathedral in

  • Horseshoe arcades dominate the 10th Great Mosque
    of Cordoba (left), and the 15th century Church of
    Santa Maria la Blanca in Toledo.

  • Astonishing similarities between the stalactites
    ( Muquanas) and wall calligraphy on the walls of
    the 14th century Sultan Hassan Mausoleum in Cairo
    (left), and those of the 15th century Church of
    Santa Maria la Blanca in Toledo

Great Mosque, Damascus, 8th century
Royal Palace, Zisa, Palermo, 12th century

  • Basilica Nuestra Señora del Pilar, 17th century
    Sultan Hassan Mosque, 14th century
  • Zaragoza, Spain Cairo, Egypt

  • According to Thomas Goldstein (The Dawn of
    Modern Science), the cities of Spain were
    urban, commercial, sophisticated, exotic, and
  • They developed into great international centers
    of cultural advancement and enterprise, and
    served as models for the urbanization of Europe.
    Cities like Cordova, Seville, Toledo and Grenada
    became centers of knowledge dissemination for
    five centuries.

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  • 10th century Muslim Cordova was an immense city
    with over 1 million inhabitants, rivaling the
    splendours of Constantinople, Damascus and
  • With its paved streets, complete with street
    lighting, 70 public libraries, universities and
    public baths it was the most splendid city on the
  • The significance of this in terms of human
    development is underscored by the fact at that
    period, major urban settlements in the rest of
    Europe were mere towns estimated to be of no more
    than 50,000 inhabitants.

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  • It was in Toledo in 11th century Muslim Spain,
    and later in Seville, that the first botanical
    gardens of Europe made their appearance. They
    were pleasure gardens as well as trial grounds
    for the acclimatization of plants brought from
    the Middle East.


Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens
include the carnation and the tulip.
  • Today the consequences of the introduction of
    palace gardens, pools and fountains by the Arabs
    can be admired all over Europe .
  • The 18th century gardens of the Chateau de
    Versailles in France are magnificent examples.

  • Versailles gardens
  • (18th century)
  • Taj Mahal gardens
  • (17th century)

The perfectly regular series of geometrical
compartments seen in Versailles (left) are
reminiscent of typical Islamic garden designs
  • The accuracy and geometric ingenuity of Islamic
    building became a permanent lesson to architects
    in the West. (Bill Risebero ,The Story of
    Western Architecture)

Sissinghurst Castle Garden,
Villa Farnese Caprarola,
England, 1930
Italy, 1560
  • Impact on Gothic architecture

  • Following the end of the Arab rule in Spain, the
    splendor of Islamic architectural lived on
    through its direct impact on Gothic architecture,
    and consequently onto the 18th century through
    links to Renaissance and Baroque styles.
  • Muslims played a foremost role in introducing the
  • pointed arch, vaulting, multiple towers (or
  • and other features so characteristic of Europe's
    Gothic cathedrals.

  • Joseph Watterson ( Architecture-A Short
    History) explains that it was in France, during
    the latter part of the 12th century, that the
    Gothic system of building was born. The pointed
    arch was the first step in the development of
    the Gothic system. The pointed arch in itself was
    nothing new, for it has long been used in the
  • Patrick Nuttgens (The Story of Architecture)
    goes further
  • Yet not one of the features by which we
    distinguish Gothic architecture was new not the
    pointed arch or window, nor cross-vaulting,
    flying buttresses or twin towers on the façade.

  • Mausoleum of Ibn Kalaoun, Cairo
    Rheims Cathedral, Paris

  • Pointed arches allowed for better distribution
    of vertical forces away from windows and doors.
    Walls could then be lighter and buildings could
    be built bigger, higher, and more complex.
  • According to Patrick Nuttgens (The Story of
  • the French called this new Gothic style le
    style ogival (pointed or ribbed ) in recognition
    of the dept its shape owed to the East.

  • The French recognized further possibilities
    opened up by the pointed arch and vault,
    producing cathedrals of breathtaking beauty and
    proportions, emulated by the rest of Europe

  • Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral

  • Palma de Mallorca Cathedral, Spain

  • Mudéjar is the name given to the Muslims of
    Al-Andalus, who remained in Spain, but were not
    converted to Christianity. (It is a medieval
    Spanish corruption of the Arabic word Mudajjan
    ???? )
  • Mudéjar also denotes a vernacular style
    (sometimes referred to as Mudéjar Gothic) which
    emerged in the 12th century on the Iberian
  • Royal Residence built by
    Peter of Castile,
  • in Mudéjar
    tradition,14th century

  • Wikipedia describes Mudéjar style as a
    symbiosis of techniques and ways of understanding
    architecture resulting from Muslim, Christian and
    Jewish cultures living side by side
  • Mudéjar style developed complicated tiling
    patterns that have never been surpassed in
    sophistication. Even after the Muslims were no
    longer employed, many of their contributions
    remained an integral part of Spanish

  • Mudéjar brought in a new characteristic by
    leading to a fusion between the incipient Gothic
    style and the Muslim influences that had
    previously been superimposed on late Romanesque
  • Tower of the Santa María church in
    Calatayud, 15th century Spain

Arab Norman Style in Sicily
  • The early Medieval summer palace of Zisa, in
    Palermo, is a prime example of the continued
    European use of Muslim designers and builders
    after the end of Muslim rule in Spain.
  • Commissioned by the 12 century Norman rulers of
    Sicily, Zisa is in effect an Muslim building. It
    is designed by Muslim architects and built by
    Muslim craftsmen according to Muslim traditions.

Photographic collection of René Seindal and
Valentina Derito
  • Other examples of Arab Norman Style in
    Sicily are San Cataldo Church and the Moreale
    Cathedral in Palermo.

The Palatina chapel, is a composition of Islamic
splendour, adorned with glittering mosaics. The
Arabian stalactite ceiling, (muqarnas), was
created by Iraqi artists from Samara.
  • An interior courtyard in Arab Norman style,
    Palermo, Sicily

  • The Mudéjar tradition continued in some areas
    into the Renaissance period.
  • At Seville several Mudéjar palaces were still
    under construction in the 16th century.
  • The Casa de Pilatos, Seville, Spain. The 16th
    century building is a mixture of Italian
    Renaissance and Spanish Mudéjar.

  • Cross-cultural Exchange Through Trade

  • Islamic architectural influence grew at a rapid
    rate as the the empire expanded and Muslim
    traders found their way to the most remote areas
    of the then-known world, building a vast network
    of foreign trading stations and settlements.


Muslim Trading Routes. Source Islamic Art and
  • Between the 5th and 9th centuries, the major
    building projects in western Europe were almost
    at a standstill.
  • Architectural development was left to Byzantium,
    which had benefited economically from its trading
    partnership with the Orient.

  • This situation changed as, in the 9th and 10th
    century, a number of merchant cities on the edge
    of western Europe forged strong links with their
    Islamic neighbours Cairo, Damascus and
    Constantinople, trading both goods and ideas.
  • Such cities as Naples, Ravenna, Milan, Pisa, and
    above all, Venice worked their way to the
    economic and cultural forefront of Europe.

  • The Role of Venice

  • For almost 1000 years, Venice (the last stop on
    the silk road) was the meeting place of Europe
    and the East. By the 16 century, Venice had
    become a supreme Mediterranean trading power.
  • Her prosperity and her identity derived from her
    role as mediator between Western Europe and the
    much richer civilizations of the Middle East, and
    her ability to exchange and assimilate goods and
    ideas from across the Mediterranean

  • Debra Howard (Venice and the East) explains
    that studies of east-west contacts in the Middle
    Ages have long recognized the seminal role of
    Spain in the channeling of Arab learning to
    Europe. In architectural terms, Spain reveals
    more overt Islamic influence, and has been
    proposed as a route for the import of Gothic
    characteristics into western Europe.
  • In comparison to Spain , Howard argues, Venice
    was not subject to direct Muslim domination,
    rather, Venetian trading patterns reveal such
    profuse evidence of direct contact with the
    eastern Mediterranean and its people, that it
    freely absorbed Muslim visual arts and
    intellectual culture directly.

  • Several Arab cities had a permanent Venetian
    diplomatic representative with regular access to
    local authorities. Ties between the Venetian
    nobility and merchant classes and their
    counterparts was particularly strong.
  • The longest reigning Doge of Venice, Francesco
    Foscari (r. 142357), was born in Egypt.
    (Department of Islamic Art,
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Reception of the Venetian Ambassadors in
Damascus, 1511Musée du Louvre, Paris(Note The
Venetians are in black)
  • By the 15th century, Venice became Christian
    Europe's most important interface with the Muslim
    civilizations of the Middle East.
  • The Middle East came to influence the citys
    artistic and artisan output so profoundly that
    even experts sometimes struggle to figure out
    whether works are Venetian or Oriental.
  • East-West hybrids of architectural styles

Mark, Venices patron saint, was from the
Egyptian city of Alexandria, and her cultural
and spiritual centre the basilica of San
Marco was built in his honor
Piazza St. Marco, Venice. 18th
Century Painting by Canaletto

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice 12th Century
  • An architectural style described as a cross
    between late Gothic and Islamic prevails in these
    15th century Venetian palaces.

  • Similarities between the courtyards of the 15th
    century Ca Goldoni, Venice (left) and Yasine
    House, Alleppo, Syria are obvious. Both open
    courtyards admit light to the heart of dwellings
    in dense urban settings, creating the familys
    private refuge, a primary Islamic
  • architectural tradition.

Photos Venice and the East, Debra Howard
  • The papacy often sought to prohibit trade between
    the Christians of western Europe and the Muslims
    of the Middle East with trade embargos. But
    because their livelihood depended so much on
    east-west trade, Venetians fought to have such
    bans lifted and, on occasion, even defied the
  • During the Crusades, the Venetians compromised
    their position with the papacy by acting
    opportunistically to maintain their good trade
    relations with the Muslim world. (Venice and
    the Orient, exhibition, LInstitut du Monde
    Arabe in Paris February, 2007).

  • the Crusades

  • In 1095 Pope Urban II granted absolutions to
    whomever would reclaim the Holy Land for
    Christendom. With that assurance began two
    centuries of Crusades.
  • Of the numerous momentous consequences of the
    Crusades, one of the least acknowledged is their
    role in bringing back to Europe advanced Islamic

  • Thousands of westerners were brought in direct
    contact with an advanced civilization.

  • As Bill Risebero ( The Story of Western
    Architecture) explains
  • Whether the Crusades had been initiated for
    political or for religious reasons, there is no
    doubt that the most significant gains to the West
    were economic and cultural.
  • Captured Muslim craftsmen brought their superior
    skills to Europe, looted artifacts provided
    patterns for westerner craftsmen to copy, and
    acquired books helped to spread Arabic ideas and

  • Building techniques found their way westwards,
    starting with castle building where Islamic ideas
    were adopted wholesale by the Crusaders as they
    built there own defenses, changing the pattern of
    western castle-building forever.

  • Krak de Chevalier.
  • A fortress in Syria (12 to 13th century), built
    by the crusaders using methods learned from
    Islamic military architecture.

  • Cross-cultural Exchange Through Scholars and

  • In addition to trade relationships, transfer of
    architectural concepts was supplemented by
    observations and drawings of the numerous western
    scholars, architects and travelers to North
    Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
  • Never was nostalgia for the past greater than in
    Northern Europe at the beginning of the 19th
    century as expanding industrialization was
    creating a bleak, inhumane environment.

  • The exotic past of the countries to the south and
    east of Europe became more widely known as
    descriptions of historic buildings were publishes
    by travelers, and miniature paintings from Persia
    and India found their way to the West.

  • A collection of drawings by 18th and 19th
    century travelers which helped revive western
    interest in Islamic architecture .

  • Scottish-born David Roberts is the most famous
    of the 19th century artists to travel to the
    Middle East. He brought back from his visits to
    Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Syria and the Holy Land
    fabulous highly precise drawings of people and
    places he had seen.
  • Photos Rita Bianucci David Roberts,
    Egypt and the Holy Land

Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (1656
  • Austrian architect, sculptor, and historian
    Erlachs publication A Plan of Civil and
    Historical Architecture (Vienna, 1721) was one
    of the first and most popular European
    comparative studies of world architecture, with
    representations of Arab, Turkish and Persian
    architecture based on writings of travelers and

  • Sultan Ahmad Mosque in Constantinople, as
    illustrated in A Plan of Civil and Historical

  • The publication spurred the design of several
    structures in a quasi-Islamic manner, including
    Erlachs own Karlskirche church in Vienna (1715).

Sir Christopher Wren
  • Sir Christopher Wren, Englands celebrated 17th
    century architect, was a fan of Islamic
    architecture and an advocate of its effect on
    Gothic styles.
  • In his greatest project, St Paul's Cathedral ,
    several Islamic elements may be
  • detected, including the structure
  • of the dome and aisles, and the
  • combination of dome and towers.

John Nash (1752-1835)
  • George IV commissioned architect John Nash to
    remodel an unfinished structure at the London
    Royal Pavilion. The design submitted was inspired
    by the Taj Mahal. It was built in the 19th
    Century as a seaside retreat for the then Prince
    Regent .

London Royal Pavilion, John Nash
Owen Jones ( 1809 1874)
  • English designer, architect, and writer, best
    known for his standard work treating both Eastern
    and Western design motifs
  • He travelled for four years in Italy, Greece,
    Turkey, Egypt and Spain, making a special study
    of Alhambra.
  • Upon his return to England in 1836, he played a
    role in spreading interest in Islamic culture.

Christ Church, Streathem Hill.
  • Alexandra Palace was built in North London,
    England, in 1863 based on the drawings of Owen

  • Jones was a strong advocate of ornamentation as
  • integral part of design.
  • The Grammar of Ornament, a book authored by him
    and first published in 1856 became an important
    tool of the period by introducing designers to
    decorative arts from cultures where Jones
    traveled Chinese, Persian, Indian and most
    notably Islamic.

Illustration from The Grammar of Ornament (1856)
  • Owen Jones saw in Alhambra the perfect embodiment
    of the principles of decoration. He wrote of
    Alhambra in The Grammar of Ornament
  • not only does the decoration arise naturally
    from the construction, but the constructive idea
    is carried out in every detail of the ornament on
    the surface.
  • Hall of Ambassadors, Alhambra,

Frank Furness ( 1839 1912)
  • Amongst American architects who were inspired by
    the publications of Owen Jones was Furness.
  • Pennsylvania Academy of
    the Fine Arts ,1875

Gabriel Davioud (1823-1881)
  • Perhaps the most striking Islamic features
    resemblance in the Trocadéro Palace in Paris
    (1878) were the two square towers, said to be
    modeled after the minarets of North African
    mosqueswith elaborately ornamented facades and
    domed pavilions.

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Lord Leighton (1830-1896).
  • Leighton House Museum in London is the former
    studio-house of the Victorian artist Frederic,
    Lord Leighton (designed by George Aitchison).
  • His appreciation of Islamic work is reflected in
    the Arab Hall

Fredric Church (1826-1900)
  • After touring Syria, Palestine and Europe,
    American landscape painter Fredric Church
    (1826-1900) did a series of Mediterranean
    compositions that included scenes from Jerusalem
    and Petra.
  • Church returned from his trip with an enthusiasm
    for Islamic architecture, devoted most of his
    efforts to the design and construction of his
    estate at Greendale-on-Hudson, New York.

  • Along the way, peculiar hybrids appeared, such as
    the Royal Panopticon of Science and Art (1852,
    top) and its replacement, the Alhambra Palace
    Theater in Leicester Square, London

  • Modernist Architects Movement

  • Islamic influence died out for some decades
    until some of its features and concepts were
    brought back by the creative 20th century
    Modernist (Art Nouveau) architectural movement .

  • Las Ventas, Salamanca, Spain is a bullring
    designed by Espeliú (1931) in the so called
    Mudejar Revival style

Antoni Gaudí (1852 1926)
  • Gaudi the great Spanish architect of the
    Modernism movement, is famous for his unique
    style and highly individualistic designs.

  • One of his very rare trips outside his native
    Barcelona was to Morocco. His profound interest
    in Mudéjar heritage governed the design of his
    early works, such as Casa Vincens and Astorga

  • Gaudis first house, Casa Vincens (1878),
  • was an expression of Art Nouveau.
  • He used a standard tile as a
  • decorative feature and a module for
  • the whole house. This technique, together
  • with the rooftop tower, are common Islamic

  • Gaudis Astorga Palace, 1887

  • Patrick Nuggens (Understanding Modern
    Architecture) describes Gaudis work as
    architecture of sunlight, full of colour, based
    on Greek and Arab decorations, a product of
    Spain. Its shapes reflect nature they also
    reveal his interest in mechanics and three
    dimensional geometry
  • Casa Vincens,

Johan van der Mey
  • Johan was a leading member of the modernist or
    expressionist architectural movement that
    developed in Northern Europe during the first
    decades of the 20th Century.
  • Expressionism is described as drawing as much
    from Moorish, Islamic, Egyptian, and Indian art
    and architecture as from Roman or Greek
  • Shipping House, Amsterdam, 1912

Hans Poelzig (1869 1936)
  • The Großes Schauspielhaus (Great Theater) Berlin,
    Germany, (1919) is another example of
    expressionist architecture.
  • . The dome and pillars were decorated with
    muqaras, a honeycombed pendentive ornament, which
    resembled stalactites. (Wikipedia)

Le Corbusier
  • The earlier work of Le Corbusier ,
  • the turn-of-the-century
  • architect whose immense
  • influence on global modern
  • architecture is undeniable,
  • displayed affinity in some of his
  • early works with the Ottoman
  • and North African vernacular
  • he had studied .
    Postcard in the personal collection of

  • Le
    Corbusier, Fondation Le Corbusier,

  • Paris

  • A number of his early villas, such as Villa Schob
    were organized around a central courtyard, and
    characterized by simple spacing, massing, and
    blank street facades, a typical Islamic house
  • Villa Schobe , 1916)

  • According to Zeynep Celik the North African
    vernacular surfaced sporadically in Le
    Corbusiers work to name a few, in the Roq et
    Rob project ( 1949) and Maison Jaoul (1953) in

  • Perhaps one of the most fascinating of Zeynep
    Celiks assertions is that one of Le Corbusiers
    most famous buildings, the Notre-dame-Du-Haut
    church in Ronchamp (1954) echoed the sculptural
    mass of Sidi Ibrahim Mosque in Algeria

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 - 1959)
  • Following his visit to Baghdad, and his design of
    the master plan for Baghdad university, Wright,
    one of Americas greatest architects, designed
    the Civic Center in San Rafael, California in the
    late 50s with an Islamic flavour.

  • Civic Center in San Rafael, California, Frank
    Lloyd Wright

  • Civic Center in San Rafael, California, Frank
    Lloyd Wright

Louis Sullivan (1856 1924)
  • Traces of Islamic character can
  • be found in works of Louis Sullivan,
  • one of the fathers of modernism in
  • America.
  • Guaranty
    Building, Buffalo, 1895
  • Carson, Pirie, Scott
    Building, Chicago, 1899

  • Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler's Transportation
    Building was one of the most memorable structures
    at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

  • Sullivan draped his buildings with intricate
    system of vegetal ornament. Patrick Nuttens
    (Understanding Modern Architecture) wrote that
    he used Owen Jones Grammar of Ornament for
  • The ornaments and decorations were integral to
    the idea and design of the building itself,
    another primary Islamic design concept.

Guaranty Building, Buffalo, 1895
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  • More North American Examples

Hearst Castle , San Simeon, California
The Berkeley City Club, California
Alcazar Theatre Building, San Francisco,
Opa-locka, City Hall, Florida
  • Some architects have demonstrated much
    enthusiasm in imitating Islamic design features!

McGill Square Church, Toronto
  • Henry Langleys 19th century church in the Gothic
    Revival style has familiar features, most notably
    the multiple, slim, highly decorated towers and
    pinnacles (suggestive of typical minarets).

Stanford University, California
PPG Building, Pittsburg
  • Architect Philip Johnson is said to also have
    borrowed ideas from French style in his 1984 PPG
    Building by adapting modernists signature glass
    curtain walls to Gothic forms.

  • Commenting on the PPG building, TIME editors
    predict that soaring with uplift, the French
    style may yet be around for a while (Great
    Buildings of the World, Editors of TIME).
  • Being the forerunner of French Gothic, we
    predict that the Islamic style may also yet be
    around for a while and the dialogue between
    western architecture and Islamic architecture,
    which goes back to the birth of Islam in the
    seventh century, shall continue to flourish

  • Arthur Erickson is an internationally celebrated
    Canadian architect. In 1973 he was made an
    Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted
    to Companion in 1981.
  • Erickson is no stranger to Islamic architecture
    and the Middle East, where he was awarded some
    forty prestigious public projects, such as the
    the Dubai Etisalat Tower .
  • Etisalat Tower, Dubai, UAE
  • Photo Official Arthur Erickson Architect web

Filberg House, Comox , British Columbia
  • The Filberg house, designed by Erickson in 1958
    is, according to the Globe and Mail, the most
    beautiful house in Canada , the design of which
    borrows profoundly from Andalusian
  • We decided to end this presentation with some
    fascinating photos of the Filberg House,
    downloaded from the official website of Arthur
    Erickson Architect

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  • Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius, Islam Art and
  • Henri Stierlin, Islam From Baghdad to Cordoba.
    Early Architecture
  • Henri Stierlin, Architecture De LIslam
  • Zeynep Celik, Architecture of Islam at
    Nineteenth Century Worlds Fair
  • Owen Jones, The Grammar of Ornament
  • Geoge Mitchell, Architecture of the Islamic
  • Debra Howard, Venice and the East
  • John Hoag, Western Islamic Architecture
  • Bill Risebero, The Story of Western
  • Parick Nuggens, The Story of Architecture
  • Bruce Allsopp, The Great Tradition of Western
  • The Editors of TIME, Great Buildings of the
  • Richard Koshalek and Elizabeth Smith, One
    Hundred Years of architecture
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