CONCEPTUALIZING ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE 1

Dr. Spahic Omer

Introduction

In this paper, I will discuss the meaning of Islamic architecture and some of its functions and salient characteristics. The discussion will be divided into the following sections: (1) The meaning of Islamic architecture (2) Islamic architecture as a means, not an end (3) Two examples: the Islamic house and the mosque (4) Pragmatism and Islamic architecture (5) Towards the revival of Islamic architecture. The nature of the paper is conceptual or philosophical, rather than empirical. The paper seeks to enhance the awareness, both of the professionals and general readership, as to the importance of correctly conceptualizing and practicing Islamic architecture. Obviously, this is not a paper written from a pure perspective of architecture. The paper deals with the subject of Islamic architecture as a religious, cultural and civilizational phenomenon deeply rooted in history and its existence and survival closely tied-up with the existence and survival of Islamic society.

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