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Elements of Islamic Style

By the 8th century, in the Great Mosque of Damascus the minaret

had become an essential feature of Muslim religious architecture

Islamic architecture may be identified with the following design


large domes
minarets or spire towers(By the 8th century, in the Great
Mosque of Damascus the minaret had become an essential
feature of Muslim religious architecture)
large courtyards often merged with a central prayer hall

use of geometric and repetitive art (arabesque)
extensive use of decorative Arabic calligraphy
use of symmetry
ablution fountains

a mihrab inside mosques indicating the direction to Mecca

use of bright colors
focus on the interior space of a building rather than the

We can identify the elements of the Islamic Architecture that

became major influences in the modern design as:

Calligraphy: Since pictures were forbidden as architectural

tool, various Arabian couplets were engraved on the walls, in
flowing and decorative handwriting. These are still used in
various modern buildings. They add to the beauty as well as
give a spiritual and intellectual aura to the place.

Domes: Perhaps the most recognized factor of the Islamic

architecture, they kept on appearing without fail, in Islamic
world in every era. They are still used in modern buildings
where the architect wants huge space inside and does not want
to confine himself to rigid shapes. Domes have become
representative of the Islamic world and have two main
symbolic meanings: to represent the vault of heaven and the
divine dominance engulfing the emotional and physical being
of the faithful. It also had a functional use which was to
emphasize particular areas such as the nave or the Mihrab,
while also lighting the inside of the building.
Minarets: Towers around the buildings not only enhance the
splendor but also imparts a majestic appearance to the
structure standing in the midst.
The earliest surviving minart is the Qalat of Benu Hammad, This
was built in1007 in eastern Algeria. It was richly decorated With
opening providing light and reduing the weight of the structure,
Various types of arches were used on the frames of these windows,
Including trefoil, semi- circular and polylobed arches (11)

Some people believe that the tower came from the minaret, as it
began appearing in Europe castles and gatehouses as the crusaders
came home.
Vaults: an architectural arch that makes a ceiling or canopy
making it possible to have a roof over a large space made of
bricks, stone or rubble. vaults like arches were used by the
Romans but the Muslims refined them so they could build
bigger and higher. They made vaults that were as strong, but
finer with thinner curtain walls, so more light was let in. The
Great Mosque of Cordoba was the springboard for much of
European architecture. Its vast hall of polychrome, horseshoe
and intersecting arches, ribbed vaults and domes all made
their way north, and it is worth noting that ribbed vaults do
not appear in churches that existed then. The earliest form of
rib vaulting was traced the 8thcentury Abbasid Palace of
Ukhaydar in Iraq.
Arches: essential in architecture because they span large
spaces while also bearing huge loads. Being strong and flexible,
they have been made bigger and wider, and today we can see
them in buildings from shopping
centers to bridges. They are so common nowadays that its easy to
forget how advanced arches were for their time, a thousand years
ago. The silent dynamism of the arch was known in the Muslim
world through the saying the arch never sleeps. Muslims were the
masters of the arch and they loved this motif as much as they loved
palm trees, imitating the curve of its graceful branches in their
constructions. Knowledge of geometry and the laws of statics meant
that various types of arches were dreamt up and the spherical
nature of the universe was an inspiration for its development. The
predecessors of the arch (Egyptians, Greek, Romans and
Byzantines) were inherited by the Muslims who had grand plans for
their mosques and palaces so they developed new forms like the
horseshoe, multi-foil, pointed, and ogee arch all crucial for
architectural advancement. Muslims were so confident of their
mastery of the arch that they carried out some spectacular
experiments with forms and techniques of its construction one of
these was the intersecting arches which provided an additional
structural (12).


Common interpretations of Islamic architecture include the


The concept of Allahs infinite power is evoked by designs with

repeating themes which suggest infinity.
Human and animal forms are rarely depicted in decorative art
as Allahs work is matchless. Foliage is a frequent motif but
typically stylized or simplified for the same reason.
Calligraphy is used to enhance the interior of a building by
providing quotations from the Quran.
Islamic architecture has been called the architecture of the
veil because the lies in the inner spaces (courtyards and
rooms) which are not visible from the outside (street view).
Use of impressive forms such as large domes, towering
minarets, and large courtyards are intended to convey. (13).
Elements and Architectural Forms of Islamic style

During the Golden Age of Islam that is when the architectur was the best developed. The muslims had basically
introduced the complex architectur.

Elements and Forms

The way that you may identify with the architectur is by the elements. Examples of these elements are the following:

Minarets or towers
They had a four- iwan plan, it included three subordinate halls and one principal one that faces toward
There was a mihrab or a prayer niche. The niche was on the inside in the direction of Mecca. The niches
may have previously been used for setting the torah scrolls in synagogues for haikal churches
Domes or Cupolas
The muslims would use geometric shapes and repetitive art
Muqarnas (unique Arabic/Islamic space enclosing system) were used for the decoration of domes and
other other places
Decorative islamic calligraphy, they would use calligraphy instead of pictures because they were forbidden
in mosque architecture
Central fountains, which were used to wash your body with
Bright colors were commenly used

The Muslims were were so advance because of their influences. The Muslims adapted the Egyptian,
Byzantine, and Persian and Sassanid models.