Volume 7, Issue 4 (winter 2020 2020)                   JRIA 2020, 7(4): 93-114 | Back to browse issues page

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Nari Ghomi M. “Islamic Critical View”: an approach toward applicable course of History of Islamic Architecture. JRIA 2020; 7 (4) :93-114
URL: http://jria.iust.ac.ir/article-1-1257-en.html
Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Technical and Professional Training, Faculty of Qom
Abstract:   (4515 Views)
Islamic Architecture is a main course in undergraduate Architectural program of Iran which is essentially a historical as well as theoretical one that makes its applicability so rare in design studios while Islamization has been a main goal of recent architectural policies of Iran. It has been a main concern of scholars in the field of architectural education and in this article some proposed approaches to make theoretical and historical data about architecture applicable for design studio are reviewed.
Two main routes are taken for such an application: 1. Architectural institutional approaches are those plans that try to explore structuralistic components of historical building. For example defining their formal order, spatial arrangement and or analyzing its language of motifs in such a way that could not easily accused to copying from old building; these approaches do not widely enter into cultural debates or religion-based issues unless rare subjects as anti-illustrational view in Islam or bold symbols such as Ka’beh . 2. Ex- Architectural institutional approaches are those that concentrate on the human life of the historical buildings. Behavioral researches and vernacular researches are common studies of this kind. These approaches are somehow based on the hypothesis of continuity of at least a few human characteristics during the history. These approaches suffer from theoretical support as well as social acceptability even between scholars of architecture or humanities.
After a review of role of historical precedents in design studies, various approaches taken towards applicability of the course of Islamic architecture (along with some other historical courses in architectural education program of Iranian schools) for design activities in two recent decades are studied. They are formulized within three main branches: 1. Conceptual continuity: scholars of this vision try to find or construct a context for continuing traditional patterns in current time. For such an application their strategy is to emphasize on symbols instead of architectural pure forms so that they could bond it to social long-life norms. Another strategy of them is to identify timeless combinations of form and idea or architectural concept. Courtyard is one of these concepts which is seen as crystallization of spiritual presence at the heat of the building. Although this approach has not yet been successfully used for the course of Islamic architecture it is routinely used for the other course (theoretical basics of architecture). A main barrier for its applicability for design studio is the lack of aspects that could be continued.
2. principal-based approach refers to those ways that believe in existence of some “abstract” humane basics that are fixed throughout time and space. Although its continuity varies through scholar views. Some as Pirnia define five or seven parameters that are specified to Iran not all Islamic regions. But some others proposed global principals for Islamic architecture. Nader Ardalan or Khalil Pirani are two of such scholars. While these principals have not yet empirically approved at least from users point of view it is a main conflict for their educational apply in design studio. From instructor point of view, they have secondary problem of claims of students. Because an abstract principal could be widely interpreted in such a way that any architectural form would be claimed to be based on such principals. 3. Empiricism refers to comparing physical and practical aspects of buildings detached from their historical context. Climatic characters as well as spatial orders are usual themes of this approach. But it is questionable that if mapping or sketching from buildings are useful ways for understanding life of a building to apply its understandings into new designs. Some schools of architecture encourage their students to use formal patterns of historical buildings for free form inspiration. In this way cultural heritage is considered as a consuming source a low-rated thing. Moral problems of this approach for cultural basics of the society should be taken into account.
The main problem with these approaches as anti-historicism or anti-Islamisism. Here the problem of Islam is taken into account as the main subject of the debate. So a new proposal is offered that can be called as “Islamic Critical View” that criticizes works of architecture from the view of its compatibility with Islamic norms. Main feature of this proposed approach is that it takes stability of moral and values of Islamic Tradition of Holy Prophet and Imam’s as its criteria for evaluating historical changes in architectural form. These changes then are put in critical debate in class sessions without any pre-assumption to consider whether they can be supposed as Islamic solutions or not.  So any historical building is an object that has valuable aspects but not made sacred for its history. Since the measure of criticism is put within Islam itself it is less morally harmful for valued heritage. Here high cultural bases are saved and minor cultural themes are weighed against it.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Subject- oriented researches in Islamic architecture and urbanism, eg. Spatial-geometrical ideas, symbols and ornaments
Received: 2020/05/3 | Accepted: 2020/05/3 | Published: 2020/05/3

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