Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Islamic architecture in Israel???

This is the fabulous mashrabiya house designed by an Arab Israeli Architect, Senan Abdelqader.

The mashrabiya is a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework. It allows good views of the streets without being seen offering privacy for the occupants and protection from the glazing sun. The detailed latticework is open to the air, without the use of glass windows. It is often linked to Islamic architecture because it is argued that it started from Egypt and spread to other Islamic countries. The architect adopted the mashrabiya and adapted it to suit the site, which I think works very well in the context.

This makes you think of what Islamic architecture actually is... we hear of buildings as far as the far east in Asia being called Islamic even though they are not mosques or related to religion... Islamic architecture is being linked with any country that Islam has penetrated... Even though those countries have their own architectural characteristics, with time their architecture became know as Islamic purely because Islam became their main religion... Is this (or should this) be the case, or should we refer Islamic architecture to mosques and buildings that are related somehow to religious activities? I wonder why I never heard of the term Christian Architecture!!??

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