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ARCHITECTURE. [To survey the architectural forms characteristic of Islamic societies, this entry comprises two articles. The first presents an overview of the development of traditional forms of building with attention to regional styles; the second assesses contemporary architecture in various parts of the modern Islamic world. For related discussions, see Gardens and Landscaping; Urban Planning.]

Traditional Forms

Traditional forms provide images of the past: they enable a group to envision its origins, and they display its descent. The preservation of some forms and the alteration or obliteration of others are part of the ongoing fabrication, transformation, and maintenance of national, regional, and ethnic identities. The selection of past architectural forms creates a visually complex historical layering of shapes, materials, forms, and functions. “Traditional” is thus a relational term, from a given present moment to a directed understanding of the past.

Now as in the past, governments are often the most active social force in deciding what forms are to be identified as traditional. What is built and where, which buildings are preserved and which are incorporated into the urban fabric, and the aesthetic judgments affecting the quality and use of materials, have all been the prerogative of rulers. Each ruling group makes such decisions about the architectural forms of the previous period in its turn. Forms preserved in this manner over time can serve as emblems of identity, and fabricating national, regional, or ethnic identities in the contemporary world often requires different means depending on the audience being addressed.

Traditional Forms and International Audiences. The idea of emblematizing a nation’s visual history in an amalgam of traditional forms addressed specifically to an international audience is best understood through the architecture of World’s Fairs. Beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, these encapsulations of a nation’s traditional forms have revealed how such forms represent a nation, as well as how the actual buildings function in the society. In the case of the Moroccan Exhibition recently built at Epcot Center in Orlando (figure I), the entire ensemble might be understood as an amalgam of forms emblematic of larger constructions, bringing together historically significant elements associated with Morocco and its history. Chosen by the Moroccan government, this ensemble of traditional forms flanks a courtyard on two sides. The entrance to the courtyard (left, figure I) is a lobed arch portal similar to ones in Tlemcen and Rabat that date to the twelfth-century Almohad period. The next structure, which begins the second side of the courtyard, is a replica of the minaret of the Kutubiyah Mosque in Marrakesh, dating to the same dynasty. Detailing is precise on the replica: lambrequin, lobate, and interlaced arches frame the windows as on the minaret in Marrakesh. Juxtaposed is a pavilion similar to that in the courtyard in the Qarawiyin mosque in Fez, from the sixteenth-century Sa’dian dynasty. The structure on the far right is a Berber house similar to those built in villages and towns until the twentieth century.

This amalgam of traditional forms presents a visual story that links the buildings, the cities from which they come, and the dynasties that supported them with the modern nation of Morocco. Forming a facade framing a courtyard, these traditional forms are assembled in a spatial relationship not found in Morocco itself: urban forms built by ruling dynasties are combined with domestic housing from towns and villages; interior forms, such as the pavilion, are combined with exterior ones such as the minaret. In what sense is this amalgam an effective complex symbol of the ongoing architectural tradition of Morocco?

The Epcot forms are effective because they are parts which stand for whole structures. The pavilion, a structural feature of the courtyard inside some of the most famous mosques and madrasahs in Fez, represents the whole mosque and madrasah and symbolizes the important role of these structures in housing major centers of Islamic learning in both medieval and modern times. The minaret, in indexing a mosque, reminds the viewer of the call to prayer as fundamental to the practice of Islam in Morocco, a Muslim country.

The styles of the portal, minaret, and pavilion in Orlando are evocative of periods in the past when Marrakesh and Fez were the center of rule in the western Mediterranean. The forms also make visual reference to similar forms outside Morocco, in particular on the Iberian peninsula, recalling a time when Islam flourished there. The minaret from Marrakesh, and what is now known as the Giralda tower (the bell tower of the cathedral in Seville) were built by rulers of the same dynasty and bear unmistakable formal similarities. The pavilion also relates to the porticos in the palaces of the Alhambra in Granada.

These forms function well as an emblem of Moroccan architectural tradition because they indicate the essential relationship of the material and manner of production to the form itself, and to its categorization as traditional in Moroccan terms. The relationship of material to form is most obvious: the Kutubiyah minaret in Marrakesh and the replica in Orlando are made of stone of similar size; green tile roofing, multicolored tile mosaics, and stucco patterning, which are characteristic of the premodern madrasahs and mosques of Fez, were used in the pavilion and the room behind it. Less obvious is the association of traditional methods and tools for stuccocarving and achieving tile patterns with the production of the final form. In this case, Moroccan artisans skilled in earlier methods of production were brought in to make the stucco and tile patterns. Patterns and forms achieved by other processes, or of similar design but executed in different materials, would not be perceived as traditional. In these instances, the process, the material, and the form are inextricably linked. The amalgam of forms in Orlando serves as an icon of Moroccan traditional architecture; it acts like a travel poster intended for an external audience, combining in a single image items gathered from various places.

Traditional Forms and Internal Audiences. Within Morocco, the buildings to which these forms relate function in their own settings as historical layers in complex urban fabrics. Although the Kutubiyah mosque it-

self is not well preserved, its frequently restored minaret serves as a memorial of earlier times. The minaret also links the city of Marrakesh with Rabat, where the tower of the twelfth-century Hasan mosque is similar in style. Also built by the Almohads, the haram (sanctuary) of the Hasan mosque was never completed, but its sizeone of the largest in the Muslim world when it was under construction-makes it a powerful visual presence in the city. This mosque and minaret were linked to the present in 1973 when the mausoleum of King Muhammad V was built adjacent to it. Likewise, the medieval madrasahs still function in the cities of Morocco. Some of the structural conventions associated with them, such as roofing tiles and the carved stucco and the mosaic that richly pattern their walls, have served as models for newer, nineteenth- and twentieth-century buildings in the same cities. The forms in Morocco are not simply facades acting as icons of national traditions; they relate to the interior spaces with which and within which people interact.

In the process of creating traditional forms addressed primarily to an internal audience, publicly visible architectural elements are appropriated and assigned new meanings or connotations. Recreated old forms are used to establish visual relationships with the past, linking newer structures and areas with older ones and transforming the identities of others. Possibly because so many are extant-in Cairo, for example-the most consistent and visually prominent sources for the appropriation of old forms have been the buildings of the Mamluk period (1250-1517), in particular the madrasah complex of Sultan Hasan (figure 2). Finished in 1363, the madrasah-mosque-mausoleum complex in its time was the most prominent large-scale project in the city. Built on a highly visible site at the foot of the citadel where the government resided and on the road to the Qarafah cemetery, outstanding in design, workmanship, and quality of materials, the complex of Sultan Hasan has been the building to be emulated for 450 years.

In 1568, fifty years after Egypt became an Ottoman province, Mahmud Pasa built a new complex, appropriating significant elements of the form as well as the function of the Sultan Hasan complex (figure 3). Mahmud Pasa built his mosque-mausoleum complex on the hill rising toward the citadel, somewhat northeast of the earlier complex. It had the same silhouette as that of Sultan Hasan, although substantially smaller in scale and supporting fewer functions; anyone walking in the area of the citadel could not fail to notice the resonance of forms. The later building continued the form of the earlier one, placing the mausoleum behind the mihrab wall. Yet in altering one significant element, it signaled the transformation of rule. To a viewer descending from the citadel, the difference in scale between the two buildings allows the later building to superimpose itself visually on the earlier one. The Ottoman-style minaret on Mahmud Pasa’s complex, a slender shaft with a conical top, different from the Mamluk minaret with triple balconies and bulbous top, was a significant formal modification and signaled the change in dynastic rule and visually linked the newer complex with the ruling tradition outside Egypt.

More than 350 years later, the complex of Sultan Hasan again served as the source for a new structure. Completed in 1915, the Rifa’i mosque-mausoleum, across the street from that of Sultan Hasan, echoed many of its external structural aspects, including the shape of the minarets (figure 2). Much of the ornamental detailing on the newest structure was taken from various Mamluk structures throughout the city, visually linking the area with its Mamlfik past. Even many of the functions of the original building were maintained; in addition to provide a place for daily prayer, it was also intended as a mausoleum for members of the royal family.

Domes. Architectural elements, such as domes and minarets, are appropriated and assigned new meanings and connotations more frequently than entire buildings. In Cairo in the twentieth century, a neo-Mamluk dome has become a visual emblem of an Egyptian national style in Islamic congregational structures. Recognizable by its distinctive silhouette marked by a high drum, pointed dome, and patterned surface, this architectural element consciously links new constructions with those of the past. In contemporary Cairene use, silhouette and surface pattern rather than materiality refer to the Mamluk past: Mamluk domes were mainly stone while many late twentieth-century neo-Mamluk domes are reinforced concrete (figure 3). From the exterior the new domes resonate with Mamluk domes across the wide expanse of the city, linking areas of new urban growth with those of the past. New meanings and uses, however, have been assigned to these traditional forms. Mamluk domes covered mausoleum spaces, serving as memorial markers; the new domes cover mosques and signal spaces of communal prayer. As a Cairene emblem, the shape, of the neo-Mamluk dome has been adopted by many Muslim communities in the United States and throughout the world, reminding people of Cairo’s role as a major center of Islamic learning. The profile of the Timurid domes of Samarkand (1370-1506) has also served later groups in the fabrication of their dynastic and regional identities (figure 4). Its distinctive shape, a bulbous pointed dome surmounting a high drum narrower than the dome in circumference, became emblematic of the splendor of Timurid Samarkand. Its brick and glazed tile surfaces and the plain color juxtaposed with writing in high-contrast colors functioned to heighten the visual impact of the domes. The splendors of the buildings, the height of the domes, and their visibility from afar all contributed to the renown of the city and its rulers. They were an especially powerful reminder to subsequent rulers in adjacent lands of the efficacy of architecture in memorializing the name of Timur and his dynastic successors.

Two centuries later, the dome of the Taj Mahal (figure 5), with its profile reminiscent of Timurid forms, was an intentional visual link from Agra to Samarkand and the dynasty from whom the Mughals claimed descent. The silhouette of the Taj Mahal’s dome was a sharp contrast to the domes of structures sponsored by previous Muslim rulers in that area.

The Timurids built structures throughout their empire in cities such as Herat and Mashhad, and thus their characteristic dome was spread farther west. The silhouette, with modified proportions, was maintained by the victorious Safavid rulers (1501-1732), most noticeably in the Masjid-i Shah in Isfahan, completed in 1637 (figure 6). In this dome both the form and materiality of the earlier domes were maintained; what is noticeably different is the pattern and balance of color of the dome’s glazed tile skin.

In the late twentieth century, all these domes and the structures they surmount represent national or ethnic identities-Uzbekistan, India, and Iran. These forms have become part of the articulation of the collective memory of each nation. In Uzbekistan, they refer to the Turkic past; in India, the Taj Mahal represents not only a time and place when Muslims ruled, but also the romantic legends that Europeans attached to the structure, ensuring its place in international memory. Identifying these forms as traditional and imbuing them with new meaning is an active, ongoing social process.

Minarets. One of the most ubiquitous symbols of Islam throughout the world is the minaret-although in some places, such as Djenne and Namou, minarets are not a consistent feature of Friday mosques (i.e., mosques in which Friday prayers are conducted). Over time, the specific shape and profile of the minaret has come to indicate different dynasties and different regional practices. In historically complex areas, different styles of minarets represent the sequential history of a place. The tall, square tower with ornamental arches and latticework indexes the presence of Almohad rule in the twelfth century in both the western Maghrib and the Iberian peninsula (see figure I). The external spiraled minaret on Ahmad ibn Tulun’s mosque linked that structure with the extraordinary spiraled towers the ‛Abbāsid caliphs built in Samarra in the ninth century. The most ubiquitous basic form, a tapering, rounded shaft, is found throughout Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. Ruling dynasties modified the proportions of this basic form, varied its number of balconies and their placement, and its materiality and surface ornamentation. The minarets of Safavid Isfahan are similar yet recognizably different from those of Mughal Agra (see figures 5 and 6).

The minaret is more than a clear index of Islam; its shape can be a powerful symbol of political domination. Ottoman building practices offer a rich view of the complex issues raised by the concept of traditional forms. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Ottomans developed a distinctive style of minaret, a tall, tapering tower with a conical top. Usually two, but as many as six, minarets associated with a mosque indicated the Sultan’s patronage and construction of the mosque. As the empire expanded into areas that were predominantly Christian, as well as into areas ruled by other Muslim groups, the distinctive Ottoman minaret on the skyline of a city indicated the presence of Ottoman rule.

When Ottoman governors or the sultan himself sponsored mosque-building, the style of the mosque as well as of the minaret was often similar to those in the capital cities. Thus Ottoman-style mosques and minarets were built in Mostar, Acre, and Tunis. That the form of the minaret was sufficient to symbolize Ottoman power is indicated by other practices. In some cities, such as Cairo, where the mosque the Ottoman governor sponsored was local in form, the Ottoman-style minaret was a clear signal of Ottoman patronage. In Damascus, the Ottomans added the distinctive top portion of the minaret (the shaft and conical top) to the square Umayyadperiod base of the Great Mosque. In still other cities where the populations were predominantly ChristianAthens, Heraklion, and Thessaloniki-the Ottomanstyle minaret also signaled the conversion of a church into a mosque (figure 7).

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as the lands once part of the Ottoman empire became individual nations and began to articulate their own collective social memory, the presence of the Ottoman minaret was handled in varying ways. It was sometimes obliterated, but elsewhere preserved and inscribed in the new national tradition. In almost all places, including Istanbul itself, the use of the traditional Ottoman minaret has changed over the past century.

This variation is apparent in Greece. In Thessaloniki (figure 7) the highly visible Ottoman minaret was preserved on the rotunda, a state church dating to the late Roman period and made a mosque by the Ottomans, who added the extremely tall minaret. At the end of the twentieth century, as a museum of the history of the city, this structure encapsulates its long and varied history. In Athens and Heraklion, by contrast, the Ottoman minarets were removed from both converted churches and structures originally built as mosques.

In Damascus, the minarets of the Friday mosque indicate the succession of rule. Ayyubid and Mamluk as well as Ottoman portions of minarets were maintained on the mosque and are visible on the skyline today. In Cairo, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ottoman minarets were removed from many highly visible mosques, such as al-Azhar and Salih al-Tala’i. Built by the Fatimid dynasty (969-1171), neither of these mosques has Fatimid-period minarets; only Mamluk-style minarets are attached to al-Azhar, and no minaret was replaced on Salih al-Tala’i. Ottoman-style minarets were, however, retained on buildings constructed by the Ottomans. The national styles of the twentieth century in both Syria and Egypt rely heavily on the traditions of Mamluk forms, and in Syria the traditions also include Ayyubid forms.

Mosque Form. Anywhere in the world in the twentieth century, the Friday mosque with a minaret indicates the presence of a Muslim community. It is the institution that supports Muslim life in all its aspects, from communal worship to education for children and adults. Most Friday mosques have until recently been built following one of three general models. Historically, these forms appeared at specific times and places, but all three, or a combination of their elements, are contemporary today. Each type combines covered and open spaces. In the early Islamic centuries, most Friday mosques were large enclosed areas that combined a flatroofed, hypostyle sanctuary (haram) with an unroofed courtyard (sahn). Friday mosques of this type were found from the Iberian peninsula to Central Asia. In approximately the eleventh century, an iwdn-style mosque was built combining vaulted iwans (galleries) on two, three, or four sides of a central courtyard, usually unroofed. Friday mosques of this type are found from Egypt and Turkey eastward to India and Pakistan. The third type, a domed central prayer space with a courtyard, developed later still and is usually associated with Ottoman practice; it is found from the Balkans to Saudia Arabia and Algeria. Mosque forms in other areas, such as in China and Mali, were more localized, differing from city to city.

In the later part of the twentieth century, Friday mosques throughout the world, from New York to Jakarta and London to Sydney, have been built that combine mosque forms from before the eighteenth century with purely contemporary elements. In alluding to traditional forms, the builders of these mosques look to the local area as well as to mosque-building traditions elsewhere in the world. The Friday mosque commissioned by the Muslim community in Vosoko, Bosnia, and completed in 1980 is an example: thoroughly modern in its reinforced concrete construction, outward appearance, and many aspects of the inside space, its quiet interior, ambient lighting, and the form and presence of the writing flanking the mihrab and on the side wall, are all related to mosques in that area built before 1700.

In Europe, in North and South America, and in countries of the Pacific Rim, the question of the form of the mosque and minaret is especially complex. No local traditions for mosque-building exist. For these new communities where Islam is an emerging religion, the Friday mosque is more than a congregational center of the community. The mosque and minaret present Islam in a visual and social context where other religious traditions and their associated building practices predominate. In these instances, the bases for selecting appropriate traditional forms rest on questions of identification and linkage. They involve a range of considerations, including identification with a particular Muslim community in another country, with a particular tradition of Islamic learning and the forms associated with it, or with the wishes of the patron. In some instances, the choice is to link the new structure visually with a selection of traditional forms from a broad range of mosque-building traditions. Modern Egyptian mosque design has served as an inspiration for the design of mosques in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Chicago, in recognition of the role of that city as an Islamic learning center. The new Friday mosque complex in Rome combines elements from several traditions of the Mediterranean, particularly the Umayyad mosque of tenthcentury Cordoba and the sixteenth-century Ottoman mosques in Istanbul. In these new structures old forms are not replicated as they were in the Moroccan exhibition, but rather translated and expressed in new materials in ways that allude to but do not copy the earlier forms.

Although most Muslim communities in these new lands have looked to the urban building traditions of Muslim dynasties of the past, the Dar al-Islam complex in Abiquiu, New Mexico, was built with a different tradition as a model. Adobe connects this new project with nonurban building practices throughout the Muslim world, particularly the Nubian, and with the local pueblo-building tradition. Two Nubian masons were brought to work with local architects and craftsmen in the construction of the large complex, which includes a mosque, school, dormitories, housing for families, and a clinic. The domes in this complex are built without wooden roof timbers, concrete, or steel. The community operates a school for maintaining these building traditions.

Tombstones, Screens, Mausolea, and Cenotaphs. Some hadiths and the writings of many Islamic jurists disapprove of marking graves. Nevertheless, throughout the history and world of Islam, graves have been marked in various ways. Simple tombstones are known as early as the mid-seventh century in Egypt. Later, in Ottoman areas, more elaborate tombstones marked the graves of members of the ruling group; these had sculptural tops in the form of the headdress of the deceased, indicating his rank in the ruling society.

Screens were put around burial sites beginning in the first century after the Hijrah. In the first decade of the eighth century CE, an irregular masonry screen was put around the Prophet’s tomb in Medina by order of Umayyad Caliph al-Walid. Subsequently, putting a screen around a gravesite became a widely paracticed tradition. Screens vary in material and design; for example, the screen in the late thirteenth-century tomb of Mamluk Sultan Qala’fin is a wooden mashrabiyah. In the twentieth century screens are often made of elaborately worked metal, such as that used in the restoration of the tomb of Sayyidah Nafisah in Cairo. Screens keep people away from the cenotaph except at specific times. In some places supplicants leave remembrances on these screens, tying strips of cloth or fastening locks of hair on them. Screens are also used around commemorative areas that are not burial sites, for example in the Dome of the Rock. Early records indicate that wooden beams supported drapery that served as a screen around the rock in the center of that commemorative structure.

Mausolea are the most elaborate form of grave marking. These enclosed structures are usually built to commemorate people of special status or holiness, such as members of the Prophet’s family, great religious scholars, saints, or members of a ruling group. Mausolea have been built as parts of larger complexes, where the mauseoleum is combined with other institutions such as mosques, khanqahs, hospitals, or madrasahs. In the complexes of Sultan Hasan and Mahmud Pasa, the mausoleum is under the dome on the side of the complex facing Mecca, as the deceased is placed in the grave on his side facing Mecca. The elaborate complex of Sultan Hasan also includes a mosque and a large madrasah housing scholars of the four Sunni schools of law. That of Mahmud Pasa combines a mosque with the mausoleum. Such associations continue into the late twentieth century. Thus the mausoleum of King Muhammad V of Morocco was built adjacent to the twelfth-century Almohad Hasan mosque in Rabat; this new mausoleum was itself a complex including a museum and a new mosque.

Mausolea equally often stand alone. Tomb towers in Khurasan dating to the twelfth century seemed to attest to a practice of building mausolea to punctuate the landscape, standing in relative isolation. Most often, however, mausolea are found in cemeteries outside a city, whereas the mausolea complexes are often within the city. Notable exceptions to this generalization exist. Ottoman sultans and their families were usually buried in mausolea on the grounds of the mosque, as the faithful are today in parts of Indonesia. In the Mamluk period, mausolea complexes with khanqahs and mosques were built in the northern cemetery outside Cairo. In the countryside, single mausolea as well as mausolea complexes commemorating revered teachers are often found along well-traveled roads and bring people to the site for prayer or study.

Materials and shape vary by region and level of patronage. In cities, stone and marble as well as other expensive and permanent materials are used in construction. The complexes of Sultan Hasan and Mahmud Pasa (figure 3) as well as the Taj Mahal (figure 5) are notable examples. These art complexes for rulers, but equally elaborate and permanent complexes exist at shrines for members of the Prophet’s family, such as those at Mashhad, Qom, and Karbala. In the countryside, mausolea for revered teachers are often built of mud brick and adobe, materials which require regular renewal. The fact that many have existed for centuries is testimony to the constant reverence of the believers.

Mausolea also vary in shape. In Cairo, for instance, regardless of how elaborate the complex, the mausoleum chamber was usually square. In Ottoman practice the chamber was round or octagonal. The mausoleum of the Il-khanid Mongol ruler Oljeitu (r. 1304-1316) in Sultaniya and the Taj Mahal are more elaborate structures with side chambers off a central room. Regardless of materials, shape, and scale, most mausolea have been domed.

The shape of the dome was characteristic of its time and place. In general, high-profile domes in varying silhouettes and materials topping a drum of narrower circumference than the base of the dome are common from Iraq eastward. More rounded domes on drums of approximately equal circumference are found in more western regions. In both areas, conical domes appear in Khurasan in the twelfth century, in Anatolia in the thirteenth, and in Morocco in the twentieth.

Found throughout the Muslim world, cenotaphs have a similar boxlike shape. Some also have head and/or foot stones. They vary widely in material: the cenotaph of Imam Shafi’i (1178) in Cairo is wood, that of the Tughluq governor Zaki al-Din `Umar (1333) in Cambay is stone, and that of Mehmet 1 (1421) in Bursa is glazed tile. Often Qur’anic verses are displayed on the cenotaph, as well as the name of the deceased. While cenotaphs are usually placed in the center of mausolea under the dome, the burial vault in the ground, below the floor of the mausoleum, is not necessarily centered under the cenotaph itself.

Hammams. Before the late twentieth century, when water-delivery systems to individual houses rendered them obsolete, hammams or baths were located near congregational mosques to serve the requirement of bathing for ritual purity before the Friday prayer. The technology of steambaths made the hammam form, particularly the steam room, recognizable throughout the Muslim world. Steam, generated by heating water, flowed through double, pierced walls into a steam room. Usually smaller than the other rooms of the bath, these rooms were roofed by a round dome which encouraged the circulation of the hot, moist air. Domes were punctuated with glass inserts enabling daylight to enter the room. These functional glass inserts were often made decorative by their shape, color, and pattern of placement. From the outside, it is the glass inserts of the dome that immediately distinguish the hammdm from other domed structures. In addition to the steam room, changing rooms and hot and tepid water rooms are provided. Towels are often dried on the roofs of these buildings that, aside from the dome, are usually flat.

Public hammams were usually supported by the patron of the mosque or by the local governor. Fuel was costly, and the fire necessary to provide continuous steam often served the double purpose of cooking food for distribution to the poor.

Unless two separate structures were provided, as they were near the Sultan Ahmet mosque in Istanbul, men and women used the hammdm at different times. In some places flags of differing color were flown outside the hammam to indicate whether men or women could use the bath; in other places specific days of the week were set aside for each gender.

Khans, Caravanserais, and Marketplaces. These traditional forms were part of the trade network and were located in major cities, and between them on the major trade routes. They have modern counterparts in airport terminals, warehouses, and shopping malls, which maintain some of their functions if not forms. Referred to by different terms in different areas, khans and caravanserais mainly served to store goods and to provide temporary housing for traveling merchants. For this reason most khans and caravanserais were double storied, with animals stabled on the ground floor. These structures also served to safeguard the merchants, their goods, and their animals, and for this reason they were built around a central courtyard, usually with one main entrance. Especially when these structures were situated between cities, but often within the city, a prayer space and small hammam were part of the structure.

Covered marketplaces with formal entrances that can be closed and locked are a traditional form throughout most of the Islamic world. Most of these markets consisted of shops selling expensive goods, such as silver, gold, silks, and jewels. The market was closed at night. In Cairo, however, owners and workmen lived in the marketplace, behind and above the shops. Near such marketplaces the great warehouses were located. Today, in many cities such as Isfahan, Cairo, Edirne, or Bursa, some of these traditional buildings have been preserved and incorporated into the modern marketplace. The form of the medieval and premodern two-storied warehouses served a function that has been taken over by other forms and by machinery; these structures, with rare exceptions, are disappearing.

Domestic Space. The dynastic building traditions for communal structures that serve the Muslim population are richly varied, but domestic architecture is even more richly textured; varying by region, time, and communal group. Regardless of the specific shape, scale, and materials, the space within all these structures throughout the Islamic world was used similarly. The use if not the form of the space separated public from private-that is, the communal, male activities from those of the family. In great houses there were separate rooms to serve these functions, and separate entrances for males and famales. In less elaborate dwellings, hanging curtains served to distinguish different social spaces. The space designated as private was for women and children and close male relatives, as well as female visitors. The public or communal areas were for men and their male visitors. The area immediately outside the covered dwelling often served as part of the social space of the house.

The tradition of separating these spheres of life did not preclude using the same room or outdoor place at different times for different social activities. For example, a courtyard or area immediately outside a door could be family space in the morning, and communal or male space in the afternoon or evening. In the late twentieth century, while some of these social practices have been modified, many remain in place.

[See also Gardens and Landscaping; Houses; and Mosque, article on Mosque Architecture.]


Abu-Lughod, Janet. Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious. Princeton, 1971. A concise history of a city.

Anderson, Benedict R. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London and New York, 1991. A thoughtful introduction to the concept of identity as fostered by nationalism. It raised issues particularly relevant to the concept of a traditional past.

Architecture as Symbol and Self-Identity. Aga Khan Awards, 1980. The publication of the proceedings of Seminar Four of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the essays deal specifically with the question of identity and the symbolism of form. The articles by Mahdi and Grabar in this slim volume are included in the volume edited by Holod (see below).

Asher, Catherine B. Architecture of Mughal India. The New Cambridge History of India, vol. t, pt. 4. Cambridge, 1992. Excellent introduction to the architecture of India with a full and useful bibliography.

Bierman, Irene A., Rifa’at A. Abou-El-Hah, and Donald Preziosi, eds. The Ottoman City and its Parts. New York, 1991. A wideranging analysis of Ottoman cities taken as a whole, and examined in part.

Celik, Zeynap. Displaying the Orient. Berkeley, 1992. An excellent fulsomely illustrated study of the architecture of Islam in nineteenth century World Fairs.

Golombek, Lisa and Donald Wilber. The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan. Princeton, 1988. With contributions by several authors this two-volume work is a compendium of Timurid practice. Goodwin, Godfrey. A History of Ottoman Architecture. London, 1971. A fulsome survey of Ottoman architecture, mainly in the cities of Turkey. Ottoman architecture elsewhere is not included.

Grabar, Oleg. The Formation of Islamic Art. New Haven and London, 1973. An excellent study of the making of a tradition or category called Islamic.

Hoag, John. Islamic Architecture. New York, 1975. A useful general introduction to the major monuments of Islamic architecture from the eastern Mediterranean to India. No color reproductions.

Holod, Renata, and Darl Rastorfer, eds. Architecture and Community Building in the Islamic World Today. New York, 1983. A collection of essays related to the series of seminars on Islamic architecture sponsored by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. It catalogs the first Aga Khan Awards as well as reissuing some essays published in the Proceedings of the Seminars for the Aga Khan Award. It is an excellent introduction to the issues involved with the concepts of traditional Islamic forms.

Iranian Studies 7.1-2 (1974). Studies on Isfahan. Proceedings of a colloquium on Isfahan, the articles offer a wide ranging study of this city.

Michell, George, ed. Architecture of the Islamic World. New York, 1978. An excellent introduction to a broad range of types of architecture, from palaces and citadels and houses. Most useful is small compendium with plates of key monuments of Islamic architecture. Monuments from the western Mediterranean to the Far East are included.

Mimar; Architecture in Development. This journal focuses on contemporary architecture in Islamic lands. It has a glossy format, with ample color illustrations. It highlights new designs and contemporary architects, as well as vernacular traditions. The articles are aimed at a general audience. The lack of footnoting is made up for by the inclusion of images of little known areas.

Mitchell, Timothy. Colonizing Egypt. Cambridge and New York, 1988. A thoroughgoing analysis of the effects of an international audience on a communal identity.

Rogers, Michael. The Spread of Islam. Oxford, 1976. A useful thematic introduction to Islamic architecture. Good photographs and broad coverage.


Contemporary Forms

Any study of the evolution of nineteenth- and twentiethcentury architecture in the Islamic world should consider a number of factors. The varied regions of the Islamic world have produced a wide variety of architecttural traditions, and these traditions cannot be treated as a monolithic architectural heritage. Furthermore, the amount of published information available for recent architecture in the Islamic world remains relatively limited. Although the development of architecture during the modern period in some Muslim regions, such as Turkey, is well documented, information about other areas-for example, the newly formed countries of Central Asia-is only now becoming accessible. Finally, although the architecture of areas in North Africa, Egypt, Turkey, the Indian subcontinent, and Indonesia has shown effects of contact with the West since the first half of the nineteenth century, parts of the Arabian Peninsula, for example, remained immune to these until the mid-twentieth century.

A number of common themes have nonetheless characterized the development of modern architecture throughout the Islamic world. These themes are strongly connected to the processes of interaction with (and in some cases, reactions to) Western approaches toward architecture during the past two centuries. As a result of these processes, the continuity of the autonomous premodern architectural traditions of the Islamic world ended, and its architectural production started referring to Western models.

Studying the Architectural Heritage of the Islamic World. An important development in the modern period has been the invention of the idea of “Islamic architecture.” It was Westerners who began studying the architectural heritage of various Muslim regions. A few rudimentary attempts at providing some information about the Islamic architectural heritage had appeared as early as the first half of the eighteenth century. Thus a general history of architecture by the Viennese architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, published in 1721, identifies Arab, Turkish, and Persian architecture, and discusses buildings from Istanbul, Mecca, Medina, and Isfahan. The British artists William Hodges, Thomas Daniell, and his nephew William published drawings of works of architecture from the Indian subcontinent during the second half of the eighteenth century.

One of the earliest systematic attempts to study the architecture of a Muslim region is found in the Description de l’Egypte, compiled by the French scholars who accompanied Napoleon during his expedition to Egypt (1798-1801), and published between 1809 and 1823. Part of this multivolume work deals with Islamic Egypt and addresses, among other things, its architectural heritage. It contains perspectives and measured plans, elevations, and sections of some important Egyptian Muslim monuments.

A significant number of works dealing with the Muslim architectural heritage appeared during the first half of the nineteenth century, a number of them treating the architecture of Islamic Spain. These include James Cavannah Murphy’s Arabian Antiquities of Spain (1813) and Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra, which Jules Goury and Owen Jones published in the 1840s. The French architect M. A. Delannoy published a book on the architecture of Algiers (Etudes artistique sur la regence d’Alger) during the 1830s. Another French architect, Pascal Coste, published works on the Islamic architecture of Cairo (Architecture arabe ou monuments du Kaire, 1818-1825) and of Iran (Monuments modernes de la Perse, 1851-1867). Many of these works contain numerous inaccuracies, and their authors, who were primarily architects, lacked adequate knowledge of the languages and history of the regions they were studying. Still, by the middle of the nineteenth century, a relatively comprehensive set of publications addressing the architectural heritage of a number of Muslim regions had come into being.

By the end of the nineteenth century, authors with a better command of the languages and history of the Islamic world began to study its architectural heritage. At the same time, the various Muslim architectural traditions, originally categorized according to their geographic locations, began to be grouped under the headings of “Islamic” or “Muhammadan” architecture, as evident in Julius Franz’s Die Baukunst des Islam (1896), Henri Saladin’s 1907 volume on architecture in the Manuel d’art musulman, and G. T. Rivoira’s Muslim Architecture (1919).

Until very recently, the Islamic world did not participate in studying and defining its architectural heritage; it only provided the monuments that were studied. Scholars and architects from the Islamic world have begun to participate effectively in studying their own architectural traditions only during the past few decades. Even now, most scholarship in the field of Islamic architecture is carried out in Western institutions and by Western scholars.

Publications such as those mentioned above have defined the Muslim architectural heritage in both the West and the Islamic world. They have also provided architects from the Islamic world with more detailed information about their architectural heritage and introduced them to the architecture of other Muslim regions.

Growth of the Architectural Profession. Another important development in the modern period has been the gradual replacement of traditional master builders by professional architects, that is, those with some formal education in architecture. Although professional architects working in the Islamic world were originally from the West, they were eventually joined or replaced by local architects. Schools of architecture and university departments developed in the various countries, as did professional associations and journals devoted to architecture.

Western architects in the Islamic world. The earliest professional architects to practice in the Islamic world were generally Westerners who worked either for the local ruling elite or for colonial powers. Western architects practicing in the Islamic world provided a crucial link through which Western approaches to architecture reached the Islamic world. They played a major role in introducing Muslim regions to architectural vocabularies prevalent in the West, and they even introduced the idea of reviving the Muslim architectural heritage. The idea of the Islamic revival originated in Europe; it can be traced, in its earliest forms, to the first half of the eighteenth century.

Western architects reached the various parts of the Islamic world at different periods, depending on the arrival of Western political, economic, and cultural influences. Many of these architects had tremendous influence on the architectural development of the regions in which they practiced. In Morocco, for example, more than 12o French architects were practicing during the 1920s, when the country was a French protectorate. Among the best-known of these is Henri Prost, who was responsible for organizing the growth of Moroccan cities between 1914 and 1923.

A number of Western architects left their mark on the development of architecture in Egypt. They include Julius Franz, who participated in designing Cairo’s first Islamic-revival structure, the 1863 Jazirah palace (now the Marriott Hotel) for the Egyptian ruler Isma’il (r. 1863-1879). (See figure 1.) The Italian architect Antoine Lasciac worked in Egypt from 1882 to 1936 and was the chief architect for the royal palaces between 1907 and 1917. Another Italian, Mario Rossi, designed a number of mosques in Cairo and Alexandria during the 1940s.

Western architects who practiced in Turkey include the Frenchman Antoine Vallaury, the chief instructor at the School of Fine Arts and the imperial architect for the palace. The structures he designed in Istanbul include the massive Neorenaissance Ottoman Bank structure, built during the 1890s, and the 1907 Neoclassical Archaeological Museum. A German architect usually identified as Jachmund Effendi designed numerous structures in Istanbul, including one of its earliest Islamic revival structures, the 1890 Sirkeci railroad station. The well-known Italian Art Nouveau architect Raymond D’Aronco served as chief architect to the imperial court between 1896 and 19o8.

In Iraq, a group of architects accompanied the British forces who occupied the country in 1915. A number of British architects, including J. M. Wilson, H. C. Mason, and J. B. Cooper, initially worked for the British authorities, serving the Iraqi government after the country achieved nominal independence in 1922. These architects introduced modern idioms to Iraq and worked on incorporating local traditions in their work. Wilson, who had been an assistant to the renowned British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in New Delhi, became the first Director of Public Works in Iraq. His numerous structures include Al al-Bayt University in Baghdad (1922-1924). He also cooperated with Cooper on a number of designs, including the 1931 Basra Airport and the Baghdad International Railway Station (19471951).

In the Indian subcontinent, the British government appointed Sir Edwin Lutyens as architect to the New Delhi Planning Commission. Beginning in 1912, he participated in developing the city plan for New Delhi; he also designed a number of important buildings in the new city, including the Viceroy’s House Complex, combining Neo-classical and Mughal elements.

Numerous Dutch architects worked in Indonesia, where Dutch control extended from the late sixteenth century to the end of World War Il. Notable was Henri Maclaine Pont, in Indonesia from 1911 until the end of Dutch colonial presence. His work aimed at incorporating local architectural traditions, as evident in the 1920 Institute of Technology in Bandung, which relies heavily on Javanese architectural elements.

Western architects reached even relatively isolated Muslim regions such as Afghanistan. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, architects from Germany, Austria, Britain, Italy, and France designed buildings for the Afghani ruling elite.

With time, indigenous architects trained in the West or in local institutions based on Western models began to participate in the development of architecture in their regions. Colonialism, however, kept the role of local architects to a minimum, and many had to wait until independence before they could affect the architectural evolution of their countries.

Even during the postcolonial period, Western architects, many of international stature, have maintained an effective presence in the Islamic world. During the 1950s, the Iraqi government invited some of the West’s most influential architects, including Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Frank Lloyd Wright, to design a series of public buildings in Baghdad. The American architect Louis Kahn designed the National Assembly complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh; planned in the 1960s but not completed until 1983, this is considered one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century architecture. The mausoleum of King Muhammad V in Rabat, Morocco (c. 1963- 1973), which borrows heavily from traditional Moroccan architecture, was designed by Vo Toan, a Vietnamese-born French architect. The celebrated American architect Paul Rudolph has carried out numerous projects in Southeast Asia, including the 1986 Dharmala Sakti office building in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Major international architectural firms have established a strong presence in the Islamic world. The American firm of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum designed a number of projects, including the 1975 King Sa’ud University Campus and the 1976 King Khalid International Airport, both in Riyadh. Another major American firm, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, designed the 1982 Hajj Terminal at `Abd al-`Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. These two airports in Saudi Arabia are among the largest in the world.

Japanese architects have also been active in the Islamic world since the 1970s. Kenzo Tange has designed public buildings throughout the Islamic world, including university campuses in Oran, Algeria (1972-1974), Irbid, Jordan (1979), Sakhir, Bahrain (1987), and alQasim, Saudi Arabia (1983).

Architects from the Islamic world. It took some time before professional architects from the Islamic world began to participate effectively in building their countries, and published information on these pioneers is scanty. In the parts of the Islamic world that had remained isolated from the West, the local professional architect often did not exist, and the traditional master builder continued to dominate the building process. In the regions under direct Western domination, Westerners also dominated the architectural profession. The Islamic world’s earliest indigenous professional architects appeared in Turkey and Egypt, both of which had established strong early contacts with the West but had managed to maintain a degree of (often nominal) political autonomy.

In Ottoman Turkey, the most important group of local professional architects to appear during the nineteenth century were members of the Armenian Balyan family, who served as architects to the Ottoman court for much of the nineteenth century. Their eldest members, Kirkor Balyan and his son Karabet, did not receive any formal training, but Kirkor’s three grandsons, Nikogos, Sarkis, and Agop, studied architecture in France. Members of the family worked as a team on the design of numerous buildings. Kirkor Balyan’s earliest major work is the 1826 Nusretiye mosque in Istanbul, commissioned by the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud 11 (r. 1808-1839). Karabet Balyan’s major work is the massive 1853 Empire style Dolambahce palace that replaced the Topkapi palace as the new imperial residence (see figure 2).

Mehmet Vedad and Ahmet Kemalettin are usually viewed as the first professional Muslim Turkish architects. Vedad was the son of a high official in the court of Sultan Abdiilhamid II (r. 1876-1909). Against the wish of his father, who considered architecture an inferior profession, Vedad completed his architectural education at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and returned to Istanbul in 1897, where he opened a private practice and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts. His first major building is the 19o9 Central Post Office. Ahmet Kemalettin came from a more modest background and studied at the School of Civil Engineering in Istanbul. After graduating in 1891, he became an assistant to Jachmund. In 1896 he went to Germany, where he studied architecture for two years and worked before returning to Turkey in 1900. He held a number of professional governmental positions and taught at the School of Civil Engineering, as well as designing many religious, residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. Both architects worked on developing a national architectural idiom that combined Classical Revival vocabularies with traditional Ottoman ones. They are credited with developing what is referred to in Turkey as the First National Style.

One of Egypt’s first professional architects was Mahmud Fahmi, who received a diploma from the Cairo Polytechnic School in 1858. Like Kemalettin, he held a number of professional government positions, becoming chief architect for the Ministry of Waqfs. His designs include the Ministry of Waqfs building, of which the first phase was completed in 1896. Mahmud Fahmi son, Mustafa, is considered the founder of the modern Egyptian architectural profession. He studied at the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris and held various government positions, including minister of Public Works. His many buildings include the 1928 Mausoleum of the Egyptian nationalist leader Sa’d Zaghlfil and the 1930 headquarters of the Egyptian Society of Engineers. Like the Balyan family, the Fahmis formed an architectural dynasty: in the early 1940s one of Mustafa’s nephews was head of the University of Alexandria’s newly formed department of architecture; another nephew headed the department of architecture at the University of Cairo, and a third was head of the Government School of Design.

By the 1930s, a group of local architects trained in both local institutions and abroad had emerged in Turkey and Egypt. In Turkey, among the best known of this new generation of architects is Sedat Hakki Eldem. Eldem belonged to a wealthy, upper-class Turkish family and graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul in 1928. During his long professional career, he concentrated on developing a Modern national style that combined modernist approaches with Turkey’s premodern architectural traditions. One of his better-known buildings is the Social Security Complex in Istanbul (1962_1964).

An Egyptian contemporary of Eldem is Sayyid Kurayyim. Kurayyim received his first architectural degree from the Cairo Polytechnic School in 1933 and continued his education in Switzerland. After returning to Egypt in 1938, he established an architectural practice that became one of the most active in the Arab world. Soon after his return, he also founded Al-`imarah, the Arab world’s first journal devoted to architecture, which appeared until the 1950s; it promoted twentieth-century architectural modernism, of which Kurayyim was a strong advocate.

The twentieth-century architect from the Muslim world to receive the most international recognition is an professional architects was other Egyptian, Hassan Fathy (Hasan Fathi). Although Fathy started practicing architecture immediately after graduating from the University of Cairo in 1926, his work did not receive much attention until the 1970s, when the University of Chicago Press published his Architecture for the Poor (1973). The book discusses his experience of designing the village of New Gourna for displaced villagers in the Egyptian countryside during the 1940s. In his design Fathy relied on local traditional architectural forms, materials, and construction techniques, and the villagers built most of the structures themselves. Unlike Kurayyim, who strongly advocated a Modernist approach to architecture, or Eldem, who attempted to combine Modernist and traditional forms, Fathy rejected imported Modernist forms and construction techniques and instead relied heavily on local vernacular ones. [See the biography of Fathy.]

Although local professional architects had established themselves in Egypt and Turkey by the 1930s, most Muslim countries had to wait until the middle of the century for similar development, often only after these countries achieved independence from colonial rule. For example, when the state of Pakistan came into existence in 1947, it had fewer than ten local professional architects. Up to the mid-1950s, more than three decades after Iraq had achieved nominal independence from the British, the country had only about twenty professionally trained Iraqi architects. As Muslim countries gained their independence around the middle of the twentieth century, a strong need emerged for local professional architects who would replace Western ones and participate in constructing the residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial structures that these emerging states embarked on creating. Consequently, many students began to study architecture in both local and foreign institutions. These architects have followed varying approaches, from strict International Style Modernism to literal historicism.

Architectural teaching institutions. An important phenomenon that has contributed to forming the architectural profession in the Islamic world since the late nineteenth century has been the founding of universitylevel architectural schools based on Western models. Many of the important architects of the Islamic world have studied or taught in these institutions.

The earliest such institutions appeared in Turkey and Egypt. In Turkey, the School of Fine Arts was established in 1882, and soon after that began to offer training in architecture. The School of Civil Engineering,

founded in 1884, also provided teaching in architecture but subordinated it to civil engineering. In Egypt, the Cairo Polytechnic School began graduating architects in 1886 and had started to provide training in architecture even earlier. The School of Fine Arts in Cairo was established in 1908. At the beginning of World War II, the Islamic world had only five university-level schools of architecture, the fifth being at Tehran University in Iran, founded by the French architect Andre Godard, who had visited Afghanistan during the 1920s and carried out some architectural work there.

A number of centers that trained draftsmen and assistants to architects were also established in the nineteenth century. One is the Mayo School of Arts in Lahore, founded in 1875 (its first director was John Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard’s father), which began offering classes in architectural drafting in the early twentieth century. In 1958, it was upgraded to a universitylevel institution and renamed the National College of the Arts.

Other university-level departments of architecture were established in the 1950s in Lebanon, Iraq, and Indonesia, along with additional institutions in Egypt and Turkey. Departments of architecture multiplied during the following decades, and by the mid-1980s, the Islamic world had more than sixty such schools.

Professional associations, journals, and awards. The earliest professional associations for architects appeared in Egypt and Turkey: the Society of Egyptian Architects was founded in 1917, and a similar Turkish association in 1927. Professional architectural associations came much later in other Muslim countries; the Pakistani Institute of Architects was founded in 1957. Architects were often grouped with engineering associations, as in Iraq, whose Union of Engineers was established in 1959.

In 1931, a few years before Sayyid Kurayyim started Al-`imarah, the Turkish architect Zeki Sayar established the Islamic world’s first journal devoted to the profession of architecture, Mimar; in 1935, its name was changed to Arkitekt. The journal was published by Sayar until his retirement in 1980. From 1944 to 1953 the Association of Turkish Architects published a biweekly journal, Mimarlik. Between 1981 and 1992, another journal called Mimar appeared; addressing an international readership, it was published in English from Singapore and later from London and concentrated on the contemporary architecture of the Islamic world. The departments of architecture and professional architectural associations of the Islamic world have published other architectural journals, but these usually have only local circulation. The architectural journals of the Islamic world have played an important role in presenting the works of local and foreign architects to their readers and have provided a forum for discussing important issues.

More recently, architectural awards have played an important role in promoting architecture in the Islamic world. The best known is the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which had its first cycle in 1980. Every three years, up to $500,000 in prizes are awarded to architectural and urban projects that serve Muslim communities, making it the largest architectural prize in existence. Other awards include the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities Award, established in the mid-1980s.

Building Types. One of the most important changes to affect the architecture of the Islamic world during the modern period has concerned building types. Some preexisting building types were no longer built, others were heavily modified, and new types were imported from the West. In residential architecture, for example, the villa and apartment building replaced the traditional inward-looking courtyard house, in institutional architecture, the modern school replaced the traditional madrasah, and the hospital the mdristdn. The introduction of new building types has been often perceived as a sign of technological, cultural, political, economic, and political progress.

A wide variety of new building types have been imported from the West. Many of the earliest examples began to appear in Cairo and Istanbul around the midnineteenth century. Just as the Dolmabahce palace replaced Topkapi as the new official imperial residence of the Ottoman rulers, the Egyptian ruler Khedive Isma’il moved his official residence from the Cairo Citadel, from which Cairo had been ruled since the twelfth century, to `Abdin palace, an Empire style structure built between 1863 and 1874.

During the 1860s Cairo acquired an opera house, and in 1893, a large railway station. Around the turn of the century, the French architect Marcel Dourgnon built a monumental Classical Revival structure to house the collection of the Egyptian Museum. Cairo’s Heliopolis Hotel, built by the Belgian architect Ernst Jaspar during the early twentieth century, was for a while the largest hotel in the world. The previously mentioned Antoine Lasciac designed the headquarters of Bank Misr in Cairo (1927), Egypt’s first wholly national bank. Similar changes took place in Istanbul, which acquired a rail-road station in the 1870s and an archaeological museum around the turn of the century; its early bank buildings include that of the Ottoman Bank.

Although during the nineteenth century Tehran was relatively insulated from Western influences, especially in comparison to Cairo and Istanbul, it also acquired new imported building types during that period. The newly built westernized part of the city included European hotels, embassy buildings, a telegraph building, and the imposing Imperial Bank of Persia.

Along with these new building types came new construction materials and techniques. New materials such as steel, reinforced concrete, and wide panes of glass allowed for the construction of larger and higher buildings with wider openings.

By the middle of the twentieth century, a new set of building types and complexes, also imported from the West, had appeared. Two that were constructed in large numbers are the airport and the university campus. As the airplane replaced the train as the primary means of long-distance travel, airports appeared throughout the Islamic world. In many cases, relatively small airports built earlier have been replaced by much larger ones. Besides the already mentioned Saudi Arabian airports in Jeddah and Riyadh, new airports and airport terminals include the 1984 Jakarta International airport and the 1991 Jinnah Terminal at Karachi airport. Vast sums have gone into the construction of these airports: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh cost over $3 billion.

Expansive university campuses have also been constructed since the 1960s, at costs of hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. Many are in the Arabian Peninsula, but some have been built in North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia.

New types of mosques have even emerged during the twentieth century, in association with new political, demographic, and economic developments. One example is the large state or national mosque, often built as new, countries have come into existence or gained their independence. In some ways, these state mosques, each of which functions as the official mosque of its country, hark back to the great congregational mosques of early Muslim cities, and to the subsequent great imperial mosques of Islam, and can be seen as twentiethcentury nationalist versions of those.

An early example is the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, completed during the 1 960s, it was the largest mosque in Southeast Asia at the time of its construction (see figure 3). Another national mosque from the same period and region is the Independence Mosque in Jakarta. Since the 1970s, such mosques have proliferated throughout the Islamic world, notably in Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Pakistan (see figure 4). Some national mosques have not been realized: in 1982, the Iraqi government organized a competition for the design of an enormous Baghdad State Mosque, in which internationally known architects such as Robert Venturi and Ricardo Bofill participated. If built, this mosque would have been one of the largest in existence.

These large mosques, airports, and university campuses are among the numerous large-scale projects that have been built in the Islamic world since the 1970s. Such construction activity is partly the consequence of the dramatic rise in oil prices during that decade. Many of the world’s oil-exporting countries are Muslim and saw their national incomes rise significantly. Even non-oil-exporting Muslim countries benefited from these rising revenues because of their economic ties with oilproducing countries.

Another mosque type that has emerged during the twentieth century is that built for a Muslim community outside the Islamic world, usually as the nucleus of an Islamic cultural center. Among the earliest of these is the mosque and cultural center which the French government built in Paris during the 1920s for the city’s Muslim community. Since then, sizable similar complexes have been built in a number of Western capitals, including Washington, D.C., London, and Rome. Muslim communities in other Western cities and towns have built smaller Muslim religious centers, such as the 1981 Dar al-Islam mosque, which Hassan Fathy designed for a Muslim community living near Abiquiu, New Mexico (see figure 5).

Architectural Vocabularies. An important aspect of the development of architecture in the Islamic world during the past two centuries has been the replacement of traditional premodern architectural vocabularies by a wide variety of Western ones. Classical Revival vocabularies were usually the first to appear, reaching Ottoman Turkey in the early eighteenth century, when the Ottoman elite began to show a fondness for European, and especially French, products. European architectural details made their way into the architecture of the era referred to as the Tulip Period. By the mid-eighteenth century, this importing of European architectural details culminated into the phase called the Ottoman Baroque. In both periods, however, the integrity of Ottoman systems of architectural expression was maintained, and there was no break with Ottoman traditions.

During the nineteenth century, the importation of architectural vocabularies from the West reached new levels. Not only architectural details, but also building types complete with their organizational systems were imported. Local ruling elites and colonial powers initiated the importing of these systems that gradually replaced traditional ones, especially at the upper levels of patronage. Important examples of structures that local ruling Muslim elites built include the above-mentioned Dolmabahce palace in Istanbul and the `Abdin palace in Cairo; structures built by colonial powers include the 183o Neoclassical Saxe-Weimar house in Jakarta, which later became the People’s Council building.

Beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, other architectural revivals appeared, among them Neorenaissance buildings such as the Ottoman Bank building in Istanbul, and Gothic Revival buildings such as the Mosque of al-Husayn in Cairo as rebuilt during the 1870s, and Nikogos Balyan’s 1886 Hamidiye Mosque in Istanbul. Cairo even had its own Neo-Hindu structure, the early twentieth-century villa of the Belgian developer Edouard Empain, designed by his compatriot Alexandre Marcel, in Heliopolis, the new Cairene suburb Empain developed.

The most significant revivalist vocabularies imported into the Islamic world, however, were those of the Islamic Revival. By the time these vocabularies arrived in the Islamic world, Western architectural vocabularies had displaced premodern traditional ones at the upper levels of patronage. In Europe, the vocabularies of the Islamic Revival had been used since the eighteenth century. European Islamic Revival structures incorporated an eclectic variety of details and organizational features borrowed from both Islamic and non-Islamic traditions. Western architects practicing in the Islamic world later transferred these vocabularies to the areas in which they were working.

Islamic Revival buildings built in a region of the Islamic world often introduced that region to the architecture of other Muslim areas. This is evident in one of the earlier Islamic Revival works in the Islamic world, the 1863 Jazirah palace in Cairo, designed by Julius Franz and Carl von Diebitsch. The structure employs Moorish features rather than ones taken from Cairo’s Islamic architectural heritage. In a similar manner, Indian and Middle Eastern influences reached the mosque architecture of Southeast Asia through colonial architects working in the area; before the colonial period, the mosques of Java, for example, did not have minarets or domes.

Since the arrival of Islamic Revival vocabularies in the Islamic world, a debate has emerged concerning the degree to which contemporary architecture of the Islamic world should establish connections with its premodern past, and the manner in which such connections could be achieved. However, attempts at articulating a theoretical framework discussing contemporary architectural production in the Islamic world remained few and lacked intellectual rigor. During the late nineteenth century, some documents appeared in Turkey that aimed at defining the characteristics of classical Ottoman architecture, tried to differentiate it from other architectural traditions, and discussed how architects could revive it.

An example of this broad debate took place during the 19205 concerning the design of the mausoleum of the Egyptian nationalist leader Sa`d Zaghlul. The Egyptian press presented this debate between those who advocated a Neo-Mamluk mausoleum and those who advocated an Egyptian Revival one. Advocates of an Egyptian Revival design argued that this vocabulary better expressed the unity of the Egyptian people, both Christian Copts and Muslims. Eventually their opinion prevailed, and the mausoleum was built as an Egyptian Revival structure. The popularity of the Egyptian Revival in Egypt, however, did not extend beyond the 1920s.

Since the 1930s, Modernist movements rejecting architectural historicism began to play an increasingly important role in the architectural development of the Islamic world. Modernist vocabularies became increasingly popular as the Islamic world began to achieve political independence, especially around the middle of the twentieth century. Revivalist vocabularies were associated with colonialism; in contrast. Modernist vocabularies, which called for the creation of universal architectural forms inspired by images of technology rather than geographic or historical factors, were associated with the idea of progress.

Architects who transferred principles of twentiethcentury Modernism to the Islamic world include Sayyid Kurayyim, who was greatly influential not only in Egypt but throughout the eastern Arab world. In Turkey, Modernist architecture began to replace revivalist vocabularies after the 1920s. Initially, Western architects such as the Austrian Clemens Holzheimer carried out most Modernist designs in the country; the Turkish government commissioned Holzheimer to design a number of large-scale public buildings in Ankara. Turkish architects such as Sedat Hakki Eldem soon began to participate effectively in the introduction of Modernist architecture to Turkey. By the 1950s, Modernism, especially the International Style, predominated in Turkey. The better-known examples of International Style Modernism in Turkey include the 1952 Hilton Hotel in Istanbul, which Eldem designed with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill.

Modernism did not achieve complete victory in the architecture of the mosque. Throughout the modern period, the mosque predictably maintained higher levels of continuity with the traditional architectural heritage of the Islamic world than did other building types. The dome and minaret became standard features in most mosques, even in regions where they were not traditionally common. A degree of simplification affected the architecture of the mosque as a result of Modernist influences, so that elaborate decorative details such as muqamas (or stalactite) vaults were abandoned, highly simplified, or abstracted. Nonetheless, mosque architecture remained historically defined, looking at past forms for models. A relatively small number of mosques that reject historical references, however, have been designed during this period. One is Sherefuddin’s White Mosque in Visoko, Bosnia-Herzegovina, which Zlatko Ugljen designed in 1967, but which was not completed until 198o (see figure 6). Some architects have combined highly abstracted forms with historical references in mosque designs; this approach has included an unusual reference to the cube-shaped Ka’bah in Mecca in the early 1970s mosque at the University of Kerman in Iran.

By the 1970s, a reaction against the ahistoricism of Modernism and its lack of cultural specificity began to set in, and architects started searching for architectural vocabularies that established contacts with perceived notions of the Islamic heritage. These changes are partly the result of a rise in religious sentiment during that period, and partly connected to the critique of Modernism that had been evolving internationally since the 1960s.

The search for new architectural forms initially avoided the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century examples of the Islamic Revival; the connection between architectural revivalism and the colonial period was still alive. Moreover, architects were involved in a critique, rather than a rejection, of Modernism, and therefore were searching for vocabularies that would modify but still incorporate it. Numerous architects turned to local vernacular traditions, which many had been examining long before the 1970s. Sedat Hakki Eldem had attempted to incorporate regional vernacular features within a modernist context since the 1940s, as evident in his Taslik Coffee House in Istanbul, which makes references to traditional residential Turkish architecture.

Colonial architects had also worked with local architectural idioms in areas such as North and West Africa. Examples include the I94os Controle Civil building in Bizerte, Tunisia, which Jacque Marmay designed, using traditional building techniques and local building forms, as well as various administrative structures that French architects built in Mali during the 1920s and 1930s. The Dutch architect Henri Maclaine Pont also carried out similar attempts in Indonesia, as evident in his design for the Institute of Technology in Bandung.

The architect whose work with traditional vocabularies has emerged as a powerful guiding and inspirational force for architects throughout the Islamic world is Hassan Fathy. Fathy too had been working with vernacular traditions since the 1940s, when he designed the village of New Gourna. His work showed a commitment to improving the quality of life for villagers, an uncompromising dedication to local rural architectural traditions, and a firm rejection of Modernist approaches to architecture on both the technological and formal levels.

More recently, the negative memories of colonialism began to fade, a younger generation of architects born since the I94os have returned to the revivals of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and their literal reproduction of past forms. For example, the Tunisian architect Tarek Ben Miled (Tariq ibn Miled) persuaded a client not to tear down a 1922 Classical Revival villa in Carthage, and instead renovated it and built an extension that maintained the villa’s original character. The Egyptian architect Abdel Wahed El-Wakil (`Abd alWahid al-Wakil) has relied on an eclectic combination of Islamic Revival vocabularies for the numerous mosques he designed in Saudi Arabia, such as the 1986 King Sa’ud Mosque in Jeddah. The mosque combines elements taken from Mamluk Egyptian and Iranian Safavid architecture.

Within this pluralism that has characterized the evolution of architecture in the Islamic world since the 1970s, a strong current has emphasized the need to develop regional vocabularies within the context of modern technologies and forms. The Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji (Rif’at Chadirji) has most effectively articulated a theoretical framework for this view. Chadirji began practicing architecture in the early 1950s, but since the late 1970s he has devoted himself to writing on architectural theory and criticism in both English and Arabic. In his writings, he has explored the connection of architecture to themes including technology, aesthetics, and the role of the past.


A.A.R.P. Environmental Design: Journal of the Islamic Environmental Design Research Centre. 1985. Issue devoted to the theme “Maghreb: From Colonialism to a New Identity.” Contains articles discussing the evolution of architecture in North Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

al-Asad, Mohammad. “The Re-invention of Tradition: Neo-Islamic Architecture in Cairo.” In Artistic Exchange: Acts of the XXVII International Congress for the History of Art. Berlin, 15-2o July 1992, edited by Thomas W. Gaehtgens, pp. 425-436. Berlin, 1993. Discusses the evolution of the discipline of “Islamic architecture,” the development of Islamic-Revival architecture in the West, and its transfer to Egypt.

Cantacuzino, Sherban, ed. Architecture in Continuity: Building in the Islamic World Today. New York, 1985. Documents winning projects for the second cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Also includes articles on contemporary architecture in the Islamic world.

Celik, Zeynep. The Remaking of Istanbul: Portrait of an Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century. Seattle, 1986.

Chadirji, Rifat. Concepts and Influences: Towards a Regionalised International Architecture. London, 1986. Provides a theoretical framework for discussing the relationships between technological developments and architectural form. Discussion includes sections dealing with non-Western settings.

Evin, Ahmet, and Renata Holod, eds. Modern Turkish Architecture. Philadelphia, 1984.

Evin, Ahmet, ed. Architecture Education in the Islamic World. Singapore, 1986.

Goodwin, Godfrey. A History of Ottoman Architecture. London, 1971. Includes sections dealing with Ottoman architecture during the nineteenth century.

Head, Raymond. The Indian Style. Chicago, 1986. Discusses Indian influences on Western architecture.

Holod, Renata, with Darl Rastorfer, eds. Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today. New York, 1983. Documents winning projects for the first cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Also includes articles on contemporary architecture in the Islamic world.

Lotus International 26(1980). Issue devoted to the theme “Hybrid Architecture.” Discusses the influence of Western architecture on non-Western regions during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Mimar. Various issues.

Rastorfer, Darl, J. M. Richards, and Ismail Serageldin. Hassan Fathy. A Mimar Book. Singapore and London, 1985.

Sakr, Tarek Mohamed Rifat. Early Twentieth-Century Islamic Architecture in Cairo. Cairo, 1993.

Salam, Hayat. Expressions of Islam in Buildings: Proceedings of an International Seminar Sponsored by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Indonesian Institute of Architects held in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 15-19 October 1990. Geneva, n.d. Includes papers on contemporary mosque architecture.

Serageldin, Ismail, ed. Space for Freedom: The Search for Architectural Excellence in Muslim Societies. London and Geneva, 1989. Documents winning projects for the third cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Also includes articles on contemporary architecture in the Islamic world.

Steele, James, ed. Architecture for a Changing World. London and Geneva, 1992. Documents winning projects for the fifth cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Also includes articles on contemporary architecture in the Islamic world.

Steele, James, ed. Architecture for Islamic Societies Today. London and Geneva, 1994. Documents winning projects for the fourth cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Also includes articles on contemporary architecture in the Islamic world.

Volait, Mercedes. L’architecture moderne en Egypte et la revue al-`Imara (1939-1959). Cairo, 1987. Discusses the founding and development of the architectural journal Al-`imarah, and the evolution of modern architecture in Egypt.

Wright, Gwendolyn. The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism. Chicago, 1991. Includes a detailed discussion of French urban policies in Morocco.

Yamada, Sohiko, ed. “Medinat al Salaam: Baghdad 1979-1983.” Process: Architecture 59 (1985). Contains articles and documentary information on Baghdad’s architectural development during the modern period.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/architecture/

  • writerPosted On: October 11, 2012
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