Islamic Architecture

Length: 6 Pages 1590 Words

ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE. Honour and Fleming have sought to distinguish Islamic architecture from Western classicism by suggesting that the Moslem architects¡¦ ¡§interest in structural problems would seem to have been primarily intellectual; their appreciation of architecture to be focused on the decorative and the ornamental.¡¨ Do you agree with the separation between structure and ornament in Islamic architecture that is suggested here? Examine two Islamic buildings ¡V one early, one late ¡V in the formulation of your response. The surface decoration, the structural elements and the casting of the internals lend to the idea of the Islamic Mosque, (a common example of Islamic architecture) being a complex and sophisticated form of architecture. However, this is not really the case. The Islamic mosque is generally simple in design and architecture. This simplicity in structural design is evident in the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Decoration and structure play an important role that is interrelated throughout the above mentioned structures forming the perception of highly crafted and sophisticated construction. ¡§The Taj Mahal perfectly exemplifies a combination of arches and squinches of diffe Continue...

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In time these arcades could be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled. George Michell feels that decorated surfaces have a physical reality as well as a visual impact, an independence of their own, which gives them an importance at least equal to their architectural forms. The role of decoration is central to any analysis of Islamic art: it is one of the unifying factors that, for 13 centuries, have linked buildings and objects from all over the Islamic world. ' The architects developed this type of construction in alliance with a framework of ribs of the kind used to reinforce ancient Roman concrete domes, but whereas the Romans had concealed the framework inside the fabric, Islamic architects displayed the whole structural system and its complex patterns and linear grids of a kind which greatly appealed to Muslims with their interests in mathematics and astronomy. A change in the alignment of their vaulting from one side of the mosque to another brought welcome visual relief, and excluded the danger of monotony. The relationship between the main structural lines and decoration, are the proportions that echo the repeated shape. The structure of the Taj Mahal sets the foundations for this overall impact. This repetitiveness can be said to come from the Taj Mahal's political and geographic isolation from the rest of the Islamic world. Hence, it could be said that domical vaults were simply constructed for aesthetic purposes. The decoration on the Taj Mahal aims at achieving an overall effect for the viewer, a total impact where the applied decorative themes uniformly line the entire building, and obtrusive contrasts of texture are not present. The Islamic architects adopted a technique to erect masonry domes over rectangular bases that consisted of spherical triangles' or pendentives. A type of decoration whose purpose was first and foremost that of providing buildings and objects with an intricate and complex overlay, covering their structural cores with an outer skin or mantle. The themes used were vegetal bands for vertical or horizontal elements, marble imitations for the lower parts of long walls, chevrons or other types of borders on floors and domes, and even whole trees on the spandrels or undersides of arches. It is also believed that the inscribed texts that have been ornamented into the mosques to remind the faithful that the word of God is the only reality in an ephemeral world. This inturn created discomfort for those that used the mosque, due to excessive radiation of heat and light.


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