La représentation de l’architecture islamique à Paris au XIXe siècle : une définition de l’orientalisme architecturalWritten by Mustapha Ben Hamouche Lorraine DECLÉTYdimanche 16 mars 2008
Introduction :Au sein du mouvement orientaliste, l’architecture ne suscite pas la même faveur chez les chercheurs que la peinture ou la littérature. Très longtemps, elle fut totalement ignorée et les rares monuments encore visibles en France souffrirent de cette indifférence et de ce mépris. Depuis une dizaine d’années, plusieurs études précises ont toutefois permis de mieux connaÃ®tre quelques-uns de ses protagonistes et un certaine nombre de ses manifestations les plus caractéristiques. A la suite de ces travaux, il s’agit d’apprécier l’importance de l’orientalisme architectural au XIXe siècle à Paris, ville qui tenait alors un rôle privilégié dans l’élaboration des principaux mouvements architecturaux. L’orientalisme n’étant pas un phénomène nouveau en Occident, il convient de dégager une chronologie de la perception de l’architecture islamique, au travers notamment de sa matérialisation monumentale.
Humans are not the only creatures that build. Many a creature that we classify low down the hierarchy of the animal kingdom, such as bees and ants, build elaborate structures. However, it has been suggested that it is awareness and imagination that single out humans as superior to other animals in architectural output. While the rest of creation act on the environment instinctively with no reasoning or training - as preordained by Allah, the Creator of the universe - man does the same willingly and at his own discretion. Since his actions are preceded with thinking and rationalizing, man clearly demonstrates through acts of building -- and through every other engagement of his, indeed -- his philosophy of and outlook on life and its manifold realities. The relationship between the two, i.e., one’s outlook on life and the disposition of his acts -- including building -- is causal, the former always being the cause of the latter. No sooner does a paradigm shift occur in one’s worldview -- no matter how (in)significant -- than a corresponding change accordingly ensues in the very essence and character of one’s performances, thus revealing and immortalizing one’s actual relationship with his self, with his peers, with other creatures and, of course, with his Creator and Lord.
It is paramount that Muslims, while holding fast to the guidance of the holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s sunnah, critically and thoroughly examine both their past and present-day conditions, the findings of which will have to constitute the core of their educational systems, socio-economic and political philosophies, as well as any reformatory and revivalist tendencies and movements. Such an ethos will shape their unique and respectable identity, and the identity of all that is associated with them.
Based on his free will, awareness and imagination, man builds edifices in various shapes and sizes and with various function patterns in order to facilitate, nurture and motivate his copious life activities. In fact, that is one of the fundamental things that distinguish man from other animate creatures that share this earth with him. The existence of man cannot be imagined without the existence of a built environment. The relationship between the two is causal, man always being the cause and built environment the effect. So therefore, no phase of man’s presence on earth could be imagined to be devoid of building activities, irrespective of their scale and sophistication.