The city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When building an edifice, the Muslim architect and structural engineer worthy of their respective professions are, first and foremost, concerned about how the end result of their efforts will stand out when juxtaposed with the existing universal setting - a result of heavenly artistry - in terms of both function and outward appearance: will it complement or contrast with it; will it go well with it, or will it appear as a misfit, oddity, or even an offensiveness?Read more: Harmony between Islamic Architecture and the Paradigms of Life
The mysterious effect of the Casbah!By: Brian AckleyOriginal article could be found here in bidoun.org
The Visit to Algiers
Le Corbusier came to Algiers almost by chance. On the occasion of the centennial celebration of French rule in 1931, a new city plan was unveiled by Henri Prost and the French colonial government. Le Corbusier deeply disapproved, and saw it as an opportunity wasted; he wanted to offer the French colony a bold plan that would raise Algiers to the level of an international city. He argued his case to the colonial government by relying on the anti-capitalist flavor of the month, “Syndicalism,” which intended to structure political power around regional industry. He declared that because colonization was over (the startling, naive general opinion of the time), Algiers was destined to become the world capital of Africa, and thus complete his fantasy of a diamond of Mediterranean centers including Barcelona, Marseille and Rome. Without any formal commission or invitation, he took it upon himself to design and submit his own sweeping scheme, called the Plan Obus.Read more: LE CORBUSIER IN ALGIERS
Elaborately decorated front facade of the al-Aqmar Mosque.
The Fatimids, it could be thus inferred, were among the first in Islamic civilization who used the power of writing signs on buildings in order to advance and publicize their ideological struggle. The earliest Muslim example of using buildings and building decoration systems as a means for promoting a spiritual mission and cause could be traced back to the creation of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem which was initially completed in 72 AH /691 CE at the order of the Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan (d. 86 AH /705 CE). Via the ways the building and its decorative styles and strategies were perceived, planned and executed, the local Jewish and Christian population was mainly targeted. However, the way the Fatimids made recourse to utilizing the power of letters and symbols on buildings for advertizing and promoting their struggle and cause was like what nobody has ever seen before.Read more: The Fatimids and the Institutionalization of Sunni-Shi’ah Conflicts (Part Two)
The courtyard of the Mosque of al-Azhar.
The Shi’ah Fatimids were a major Isma’ili Shi’ah dynasty. They founded their own caliphate, in rivalry with the ‘Abbasids, and ruled over different parts of the Islamic world, from North Africa and Sicily to Palestine and Syria. The Fatimid period was also the golden age of Isma’ili thought and literature. Established in 297 AH /909 CE in Ifriqiyah (today’s Tunisia, Western Libya and Eastern Algeria), the seat of the Fatimids was later transferred to Egypt in 362 AH /972 CE, and the dynasty was finally overthrown by Salahuddin al-Ayyubi (Saladin) (d. 590 AH /1193 CE) in 567 AH /1171 CE, when the fourteenth and last Fatimid caliph, al-‘Adid li Dinillah (d. 567 AH /1171 CE), lay dying in Cairo.Read more: The Fatimids and the Institutionalization of Sunni-Shi’ah Conflicts (Part One)