Old And New
Islamic architecture has changed a lot, but most of these changes appear to be more recent. In this task I will be researching, analysing, comparing and illustrating Islamic architecture and the ways in which it has changed. Where better to begin than with some medieval history?
"Where better to begin than with some medieval history?
The Alhambra, in Granada, is a fine example of medieval Islamic architecture. For example, it features key features of Islamic architecture such as a focus on courtyards, and a limitation on the number of outwards facing windows. Islamic architecture tends to be very private, providing an escape from outside and the often harsh environments of Islamic areas.
Other traditions of Islamic architecture follow ideas such as hiding structural elements, a focus on colour and decoration, as well as geometry. The growth of a house in Islamic architecture happens as need for the growth occurs. For example, if a family grows, so will the house. There is not a specifically set plan or design.
The Alhambra, shown in the image above, is made of stone which very traditional Islamic architecture. It is a big characteristic found in many Islamic buildings and is perhaps one of the most defining exterior features.
This building is a very old one. One with a lot of history. It used to be a fort, hence it's irregular shapes and ramparts. It is now a popular tourist destination, but as far as medieval Islamic architecture is concerned, it really is a prime example.
More recently, there have been big changes in Islamic architecture. With a move into contemporary design and a focus on modern day issues, the Masdar City has begun to emerge.
Shown to the right is concept image of Masdar City. It is planned to be completed in 2025 and will be a pioneer at the forefront of eco-cities. The whole city is planned to be run off solar power, a move which at first may seem to contradict the fact that this area of the world is centre for crude oil. However it makes sense that with all the money generated from selling oil to other countries, Masdar City should be an investment in a solution to the growing fuel problems.
The whole city is very modern in design, but there are still many features that are similar to older examples of Islamic architecture. The picture to the right, for example, shows an example courtyard which is arguably similar to the pond example shown from The Alhambra above. It not only has the water in the center, but also has the overlooking widows too.
Each shows the kind of integrated decorative designs that are associated with Islamic architecture. This integration of art with architecture is a key aspect to the tradition of Islamic architecture. Furthermore to the echoes of
There is more to this new city than connections to the past though. This really is a city for the future. The whole city is designed to run off solar power where possible. It will also make use of a huge hydrogen power plant too. There will be no cars within the walls, meaning that people will be encouraged to walk or cycle. No skyscraper will be allowed either, allowing maximum amounts of light to reach the solar panels. There are also mass plans for recycling and composting too, as well as providing clean water for the whole population. The cit aims to produce no carbon and no waste. At all. If it works then it will be a triumph for Abu Dhabi, but more importantly Masdar City will become an example of an entirely feasible future.
In architecture, there is a globalisation of styles. Once upon a time it would have been that the architecture in Britain would have been vastly different to the architecture in Egypt for example. Yet more recently, there has been an increasing convergence of styles. All over the world there are now towering skyscrapers in competition with each other. The introduction of the steel frame and other more modern building materials and techniques has brought about buildings that once wouldn't have existed. Due to improvements in communication, infrastructure and travel, all of these things have spread across the world. For example Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi, is being designed by Foster + Partners, who are based in London.
Despite being subject to globalisation, Masdar City has not abandoned it's roots. It has been designed through reference to the past and as explained previously, above, many aspects of traditional Islamic architecture are still present.
Islamic architecture has definitely taken a lean towards more modern approaches, as has a lot of the world. However, in my opinion at least, Islamic architecture seems to be holding onto it's roots far more than most. The image below shows 'The Souk Of AbuDhabi', which is another contemporary design of Islamic architecture.
Traditional Islamic architecture only tends to show views of the indoors. This is not always the case, but it is often a consistency. Here I have shown the buildings through the arches. My intention here is not that the arches be facing out into the world, but that they are still facing inwards towards the home. By doing this, my intention is to explain how other cultures and ideas are being accepted. It is as though these modern buildings have been accepted into a house of Islamic architectural design, and have been placed securely in amongst the courtyard.
Edwards, N. (2012). "Granda, Spain: Guide To Visiting The Alhambra." Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/spain/9145335/Granada-Spain-guide-to-visiting-the-Alhambra.html. Last Accessed 09/11/2013.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/art/architecture.shtml - 09/11/2013
http://islamic-arts.org/2012/islamic-architecture/ - 09/11/2013
http://www.mrupp.info/Photos/2004-Spain/alhambra_courtyard.jpg - 09/11/2013
http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-some-characteristics-islamic-art-archite-401579 - 09/11/2013
http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/pacoayala/pacoayala1111/pacoayala111100007/11147783-courtyard-of-the-lions-of-the-alhambra-in-granada--26-10-2011.jpg - 09/11/2013
http://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/info/historicalintroduction.asp - 09/11/2013
http://blacklemag.com/technology/masdar-city-and-the-world-of-tomorrow/ - 09/11/2013
http://masdarcity.ae/en/ - 09/11/2013
http://future360.tv/video/masdar-city-2013 - 09/11/2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyghLnbp20U - 10/11/2013
http://www.khaledazzam.net/projects/souk-of-abudhabi/ - 10/11/2013