Architecture of the Muslim World. The Muslim House 2/6/07. Definitions & Discussion. What is a house?. Definition. Merriam Webster “a building that serves as living quarters for one or a few families” Oxford
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Architecture of the Muslim World The Muslim House 2/6/07
Definitions & Discussion • What is a house?
Definition • Merriam Webster • “a building that serves as living quarters for one or a few families” • Oxford • “A building for human habitation; esp. a building that is the ordinary dwelling-place of a family”
Extrapolating from Rapoport • A dwelling unit in which a family or families reside. Formally the house is an “unquestioned” representation of the socio-cultural status of the inhabitants, articulated through expression of wealth, religious beliefs, and protect against the climatic elements
Guy Petherbridge • Monumental architecture is studied as a manifestation of the society (at least the elites) desire to impress god or the people • Agrees with Rapoport that monumental architecture is better understood through comprehension of the hierarchical nature of the vernacular context especially as it pertains to the manifestation of power
Structure of the Hierarchy of the Muslim Society • The Caliph • The Palace • The Khassa (noble class) • The people of the book • The A’amma • The migrants (from the peripheries) • The outsiders (Dar el_Harb)
Form • Islamic Law stresses on the judicial rights of the individual and the inviolability (sanctity) of the house • Because of the unifying general culture; • Some features transcend differences • Because of the Heterogeneity of the society and; • Regional differences; • No unifying formal expression in residential • Why regionalism was so detrimental?
Ibn Khaldûn’s Proposition (1) • “The Arabs are quite firmly rooted in the desert and quite unfamiliar with the crafts. Furthermore, before Islam, the Arabs have been strangers to the realms of which they took possession. When they came to rule them [realms outside Arabia] there was no time enough for all the institutions of sedentary cultures to develop fully.”
Ibn Khaldûn’s Proposition (2) • “Moreover, the building of others, which they found in existence, were sufficient for them.”
Ibn Khaldûn’s Proposition (3) • “Furthermore, at the beginning, their [Arab Muslims] religion forbade them to do any excessive building or waste too much money on building activities for no purpose.”
Problems with Ibn Khaldûn’s Propositions • House of Mohammed AD622 - 622
Church Tower, Umm-Al-Rasas Syria Pre-Islamic Arab Architecture
Taq-i Kisra, Ctesiphon, Iraq AD500 - 600 Pre-Islamic Arab Architecture
Sana’a, Yemen Pre-Islamic Arab Architecture
So! • Why didn’t the Muslims, who were mostly urbanized with some building traditions did not stress upon the conquered realms their stylistic signatures? • Was Ibn Khaldun right after all?
The Law • As mentioned earlier the code does not control the house as a private and individual unit • Or; in other words, the right of the individual precedes the right of the community (example of the second Caliph and eavesdropping)
The Law • Quranic verse; • “O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and saluted those in them” • Does that provide an explanation of the concept of “interiority”?
Female Privacy • According to Omar Bahammam1; • In any society, the need for privacy is one of the basic demand of all humans and consequently, on house form (do you agree?) • According to Islamic teaching a Muslim woman is expected to seek protection for her body from been seen by anybody other than her husband, family members, and close women friends. Men on the other hand, are expected their gaze and not stare at them *1from “The role of privacy on the design of the Saudi Arabian courtyard” in Courtyard Housing: past, present, and future” Edward, Brian, Sibly, Hakmi, M. & Land, P. Taylor and Francis Publishers, New York, 2006.
Urban • Planned • Deliberate • Form: underlines social hierarchy and allegiances • Delineates the separation between domestic and public life
Urban Form • “Physical manifestation of the equilibrium between social homogeneity and heterogeneity” Source: AlSayyad "Cities and Caliphs"
Social Aspects of the Muslim House • Belief Systems and Women • Seclusion off women
Entrance • Symbolic for Occupant status • A filter for “strangers” or outsiders
Accretion • A house is continuously growing with the family and its wealth • Rooms are classified and used based on the degree of accessibility of outsiders (tidal in nature)
Next • Tuesday 2/13: Climatic Responses of Muslim Architecture • Adil’s short talk and; • Thursday 2/15: Reading dialogs: Rapoport: • Ch 4, 5, & 6 • Tuesday 2/20: Imperative Teach-in Web cast (no class) • Thursday 2/22: Readings + Propose a topic of term paper: final proposal is due 3/8
Questions • Is identifying an “Muslim House” easier than Islamic Architecture? • Why (either way)? • What is the role of regionalism in differentiating between versions of the Muslim house? • Do you expect to see a difference between the different classes in the society and their houses? • Let’s talk about the role of women’s position and the house and urban forms