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 Engineering in Islamic architecture

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Nombre de messages : 13
Age : 28
Date d'inscription : 10/09/2008

MessageSujet: Engineering in Islamic architecture   Jeu 30 Oct - 1:22

Engineering in Islamic architecture

"Palm trees have always been significant for communication: in the early days of Islam. The top of the palm tree not only provided a high point from which to call the faithful to group prayer, it also functioned as a watch tower to give early warning of any attacks by infidels. This is a Telecommunication Tower which shows how a pattern is derived from a natural element, the palm tree. The mechanical properties of the apparatus divide the form of the palm tree into focus areas. The top part of the palm consists of feather-like leaves (sa'af) and below is the part which carries the dates (tamur) called (athiq) bunches. The main column, the trunk (jithi'a), has a wider base (gai'da). These are descriptive divisions and have their own identity.
Faith and Knowledge (king Saud University Entrance Gate: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) The book represents one of the lungs with which the human mind breathes. The shape of the book has been chosen as a principal element for the design of the entrance to the University. The design consists of two books representing knowledge and faith. They have been so placed so that their pages are interlocked thus showing the close connection between faith and knowledge. Verses from the Holy Qur'an on faith and knowledge are written in beautiful script on the cover of each book.
Education, which is based on the Islamic thought, is flexible: all knowledge in the heavenly world is timeless. The intellect is all things and its essence comprehends all things. The two worlds of sense and intelligence are related to one another as a rough to a carved stone. The design of this monument was inspired by the concept of the 'Boundless Mind'. It is the result of the combination of two forms: the open book and the open arch.
The most essential tenet of Islam that the soul be purified at least five times a day through prayers 'Salat', to strengthen people's commitment to God 'Allah' and to ******* his ambition in his quest for truth. Cleanliness and hygiene are the most basic, but vital prerequisites for the maintenance of good health. Muslims care about bathing facilities 'Hammam' for washing and doing the ablutions for prayers in almost every where. One of the most famous complexes is the bath hall complex of the Khirbat Al-Mafjar, which was built for the nephew of Caliph Hisham.
The development of the Mosque shows how two patterns are established, accepted by the apparatus in sequence and, through selection, process the information according to form. In the design process of Jama'a Al-Kitab the first pattern is established on the excitor apparatus in pentagonal form, and the second pattern derives from the idea of the Qur'an in book form. Each side of the Mosque represents an open book with a circular binding displaying one of the five Suras; each of these has a calligraphic feature on the external facade. The minaret is placed on the circular binding of one of the books.
Bookstand Fountain design is an example of historic analogy, similar to the Qur'an stand in the foreground of the Bibi Khanum Mosque in Samarkand, built in the years (1399-1404) after Timur's victorious campaign to India. Three concentric octagonal pointed stars form the setting for an open book constructed of three stone blocks. Water emerges from the binding and flows over the pages.
Materials and Techniques
The genius of Islamic architecture arises out of a sensitive handling of materials, writes Ronald Lewcock in "Materials and Techniques" in ( Architecture of the Islamic World, edited by George Michell). In Islamic architecture, Lewcock writes, material, technique and design combine into a perfect union.
Little is known about the formal training of the early architects. Lewcock writes that it is difficult to believe the great masterpieces of Islamic architecture could have been achieved by architects who had not studied geometry, mathematics, applied mechanics and drawing -- and who had not cultivated design skills over a long period of time. But, he continues, Sinan, the great architect of the Ottoman era, spent most of his life as a Janissarian soldier and did not begin an architectural career until the age of 46.
Writes Lewcock, "An important advantage enjoyed by Islamic architects was that even the biggest mosques and tombs were usually erected during an amazingly short time. Islamic architects were proud of their ability to build quickly, and sometimes such feats were recorded in the inscriptions. The autocratic Muslim ruler could assemble vast numbers of workers and quantities of material from his widespread domains, and thus it was frequently possible for a large building to be conceived, planned and completed by the same architect -- a phenomenon which was much rarer in the West.
For the most part, those who did the physical building of the palaces, tombs, caravanserais and mosques were anonymous craftsmen using techniques that predated the Islamic era, Lewcock notes. The extent of specialization in the building trades, writes Lewcock, depended on the needs of the local community.
Lewcock writes that an idea of the extent of specialization can be seen in the woodworking classifications. According to Lewcock, there were sawyers who prepared the rough timber to the correct dimensions; carpenters who did most of the woodwork in buildings; makers of wooden door locks who were depended upon for 'the safety of property and the guarding of women'; turners whose work included the making of wooden screens for windows; makers of chests for clothes and valuables; carvers or decorators; and incrustors who worked with precious woods, ivory and mother-of-pearl.
Stonemasons, Lewcock continues, were similarly divided into a number of specialties, including the quarry men; the preparers of roughly shaped blocks for inner walls and foundations; the preparers of finished ashlar blocks; skilled carvers; masons for the rough stonework on the inner faces of the walls; and masons of the rough rubble cores between the outer and inner faces of the walls.
Because these men repeated the same limited task all day long, Lewcock notes, they achieved their work with incredible speed.
Other important building trades were brickwork, clay walling, metalwork, ironmongery, plastering and tiling.
Minaret is a tall, slender tower on a mosque with one or more projecting balconies from which a muezzin summons the people to prayer. Lewcock's discussion of the minaret provides additional insight into Islamic building techniques and materials. "Minarets began as low, square masonry towers on the pattern of pre-Islamic Syrian towers, which had been built for both pagan and Christian purposes," he writes. "As soon as Islamic architects desired to make them higher, however, they resorted to the stepped storeyed construction typical of Roman lighthouses. The minaret of the Great Mosque at Qairwwan (724 AD) is one example, and that of the mosque of al-Hakim in Cairo (1002-13 AD) is another. From there it was but a short step to the introduction of varied shapes on different storeys. Eventually a common form of minaret developed, which began as a square, changed in the next storey to a polygon and then to the cylindrical main shaft. The balcony was constructed of light wood, or cantilevered on brackets or superimposed niches. The top of the minaret formed another story, frequently contrasting in shape, and it was then crowned by a dome or a conical roof.
"The stability of high minarets was assured, not merely by the system of superimposed stories of decreasing size, but also by the use of the staircase construction to tie the outer skin of each minaret to its central core. With stone treads the tie was simple and strong, with brick it was created by building an arch under each tread, or a sloping barrel vault under each flight. Minarets of square plan were further strengthened by introducing arches under the landings. In this way the whole height of the minaret was constructed as a hollow screw of greater strength than its slender appearance suggested. Using this technique, Ottoman minarets rose to heights of more than seventy meters." (p.18) Miscellaneous Cultural Objects.
This 13th century miniature from Baghdad vividly depicts the committal ceremony in all its grisly detail. The wailing women and the less involved gravediggers are introducing the shrouded corpse head first into the prepared vault.
Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Zakaryya al-Razi: the unchallenged chief physician of the Muslims, the Arab Galen, the most brilliant genius of the Middle Ages.
He was a famous medical practitioner and teacher who pioneered several discoveries in pre-modern chemistry, having for the first time divided substances into animal, vegetable, and mineral. His famous book entitled "Kitab al-Asrar" (Book of Secrets) deals with substances, equipment, and processes, thus establishing the "laboratory manual" literary genre. The chemical processes mentioned by al-Razi include distillation, calcination, solution, evaporation, crystallization, and more.
This stained glass window in the Princeton University Chapel commemorates the contribution of al-Razi to the science of medicine.
This is a page from the Chronology of Ancient Nations by al-Biruni describing Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of Jerusalem. In the Chronology, a comparative history of the religious and civil calendars of all the Near Eastern peoples, al-Biruni displays his knowledge of mathematics as well as the histories and cultures of other peoples.
The qanun is a zither-like musical instrument, trapezoidal in shape. The instrument's 26 triple courses of strings are made from nylon or gut and metal-wound silk. The musician plucks the strings with short pieces of horn. The pitch of each course can be altered a whole step, a half step, or a quarter step by raising or lowering fixed metal levers that stop the strings at specific distances.
This image shows a Qanun player inspired from the amazing tales of The Thousand and One Nights
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