Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
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mostar bosnia

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

Introduction

To the well informed, architecture speaks volumes about society. Unlike any other kind of ‘language’, architecture never lies. In whatever manner a building is composed, it will always contain the intention or ignorance of the patron, user and architect. The design of mosques in Malaysia is no exception. We can actually read the state of the Muslim society from the myriad of domes, minarets, polished tiles, ornamentation, muqarnas, mashrabiyya, maqsura, mimbars, mihrabs, courtyards, sahn and the various kinds of compositional syntax introduced by the architect or ordered by the client. In this short article I wish to draw attention to the curious reason why we went from the architecture of the National Mosque or Masjid Negara to the architecture of middle eastern eclecticism exemplified by such mega projects as in the Shah Alam Mosque, the Wilayah Persekutuan Mosque and the ‘jewel’ of them all, the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya. The common message of the middle eastern clad mosques seem to be that Islam has finally found its roots and true universal identity as opposed to its ‘lost’ years of international architecture. I seek to disagree with this common understanding and will present only three arguments in the form of criticism to support my contention that Masjid Negara possessed much that can be qualified as integrity in Islamic Architecture in Malaysia rather than the present mosques that have been hailed as the epitome of Muslim civilization. 

Read more: Islamic Architecture in Malaysia: a Case of Middle Eastern Inferiority Complex
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

riwaqs qawwat caption

 

Converting Temples into Mosques as a Relative and Qualified Trend

 In view of the essential nature of Islam, in general, and in view of the essential qualities of Islamic architecture, in particular, reclaiming and converting not only temples but also churches and some other forms of non-Muslim ceremonial edifices, into mosques, or simply sharing them with the local non-Muslim population, was not at all a strange or an abominable thing. That can be explained in the following way. Read more: Converting Hindu Temples into Mosques (Part Two)

The mysterious effect of the Casbah!

By: Brian Ackley
Original article could be found here in bidoun.org

casbah 

group photo

 

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
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Quwwat al-Islam Mosque

 

Introduction

 In this chapter, some aspects of the historical phenomenon of reclaiming and converting Hindu temples into mosques will be discussed. The underlying reasons for the phenomenon which were not only of expedient socio-economic and political, but also of profound spiritual nature, will be discussed. The chapter is divided into four main sections: (1) The expediency of converting temples into mosques; (2) Muslim tolerance towards conquered peoples; (3) Converting temples into mosques as a relative and qualified trend; (4) Converting temples into mosques and the identity of Islamic architecture. The character of the study: its content, methodology and conclusions, is conceptual, or philosophical, rather than empirical.

Read more: Converting Hindu Temples into Mosques (Part One)

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