4.611 - Graduate Subject
4.613 - Undergraduate Subject
Islamic architecture is not only religious architecture. Planned cities, palaces, residences, caravanserais, markets and bazaars, castles and citadels, hospitals and palaces of justice, waterworks and gardens, watchtowers and bridges, in addition to a number of building types that straddle the religious and the profane realms have often subsumed and reflected certain “Islamic” qualities in their forms, functions, and meanings. Their sum total is what we can call civic architecture.
This course will review select examples of civic architecture from across the Islamic world from the seventh to the twenty-first century. It will analyze their visual, spatial, and structural design and occupation strategies. It will also consider the urban, social, religious, and political factors that lent them their particular characters and assess how they coalesced into types under the umbrella of Islamic architecture. In our investigations, we will not only use modern studies, but we will try to see the buildings and their settings through the experiences of their original users by consulting a variety of primary sources from poetry to travel reports.
The class is open to both graduates and undergraduates. Class requirements are active participation in the discussions, three short papers (8-10 pp) one of which can be an analytical design project, and a class presentation on one of these papers/projects for undergraduates. Graduate students may substitute some or all papers by a research paper on a topic to be discussed with the instructor and presented in class. No final exam.
Required Texts: George Michell, ed. Architecture of the Islamic World: Its History and Social Meaning, London: Thames and Hudson, 1978 [reprint 1984]; John D. Hoag Islamic Architecture (History of World Architecture) (Phaidon, 2004, Paperback).