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Islamic Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

Brighton Festival Brings the Riwaq, a Type of Arabic Colonnade, to the Hove Seafront, in the UK

Syrian architects Marwa Al-Sabouni and Ghassan Jansiz bring an Arabic-inspired architectural element to the seafront of Hove as part of this year’s Brighton Festival. The temporary pavilion is built in the shape of the traditional arcade called The Riwaq. Conceived as a place that brings people together, the installation will host free cultural and community events, all organized as part of England’s largest annual multi-arts festival. Established in 1967, the Brighton Festival celebrates music, theatre, dance, art, film, literature, debate, and outdoor events in various locations across Brighton, Hove, and East Sussex.

© Jim Stephenson© Jim Stephenson© Jim Stephenson© Jim Stephenson+ 13

Projects in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Indonesia Among the Winners of the III Abdullatif Alfozan Award for Mosque Architecture

The Abdullatif Alfozan Award for Mosque Architecture has honored seven awarded mosques in its third cycle under the theme "Mosque architecture in the twenty-first century", evaluating their unique architectural concepts as well its connectivity with local communities.

The Architectural, Cultural, and Religious Significance of Minarets

Islamic architecture has long been acknowledged as one of the most significant and influential typologies that translates the religion's core teachings and beliefs into structures. One of the most striking characteristics of architecture in the Islamic world is the focus on interior spaces. Whether it is a methodical organization of interior layouts to make use of natural light and ventilation, or the intricate detailing of ornamentation through carvings and paintings, the contrast between exterior and interior is palpable. However, one particular architectural feature defies the norms of modest facades, and stands as a strong visual statement of the presence of Islam. The minaret's distinctive structure strengthened its presence as a focal point, guiding people towards the religion's holiest space. In this article we will explore the reason behind the use of minarets and how its function has evolved culturally and architecturally.

KAPSARC Mosque / HOK. Image © Abdulrahman AlolyanMinaret of Kairouan Mosque. Image via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)Central Mosque of Pristina Competition Entry / Taller 301 + Land+Civilization Compositions. Image Courtesy of Taller 301 + Land+Civilization CompositionsMosquée d’Algérie / KSP Juergen Engel Architekten. Image Courtesy of KSP Juergen Engel Architekten+ 11

Polished, Private, and Passive: Traditional Courtyard Houses and their Timeless Architectural Features

We have seen in recent residential projects the need for bringing the outdoors inside, whether it's through green walls, biophilic designs, or interior courtyards, especially in countries with dry and hot climates. When it comes to countries of the Arab world, creating these outdoor-inspired inner spaces is a lot more than just bringing in some sunlight and fresh air, it is an architectural expression of a rich culture that transcended generations and inspired nations beyond their borders. In this article, we will explore how cultural and social norms influenced the creation of traditional courtyard houses in Arabian countries and how their unique architectural features were reimagined in modern contexts.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)By Ali A Suliman . Image via ShutterstockCourtesy of Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)Iwan . Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)+ 19

Architecture Classic: al-Nouri Mosque / Nur ad-Din Zangi

Islamic architecture has been perhaps one of the most culturally significant typologies throughout history. Not only do the buildings themselves serve as centers for community and social services, but their designs reflect Muslim beliefs and morals, and reveal the rich history of nations in the Middle East.

Minaret. East View in 1930s. Image © World Monuments Fund CollectionMan seated before the Mihrab in the prayer hall, after reconstruction in 1944. Image © General Authority of AntiquitiesDestroyed Post-War Mosque. Image © UNESCO3D Model of Mosque Today. Image © UNESCO+ 19

WAFAI Architecture and Fragomeli+Partners Design an Islamic Cultural Center in Piedmont, Italy

Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partners, two architecture practices based in Torino, Italy have imagined an Islamic cultural center in the Piedmont area. The project features a mosque and a center for cultural and social activities, a space that promotes constructive dialogues.

Courtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partnersCourtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partnersCourtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partnersCourtesy of Wafai Architecture and Fragomeli+partners+ 7

The Great Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo: from Historic Islamic Monument to War Battlefield

via AFP / Getty Images
via AFP / Getty Images

Islam, other than describing a religious belief, is a word that identifies a unique type of architecture that dates back thousands of years. It has been formed by a civilization that transformed the qualities of this belief into visible and tangible material, building structures with a striking focus on details and experiences within enclosed spaces. 

Islamic architecture is an architecture that does not change its form easily. In fact, its principles have been more or less the same since thousands of years ago, with minor changes based on functional adaptations. To this day, hundreds of buildings still stand as a representation of the history of Islamic architecture and are still used just as they have been in the past.

War, however, has no religion or cultural nostalgia, and even the holiest, most historically-significant sites are threatened with complete destruction. The Great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, originally built by the first imperial Islamic dynasty and currently situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stood yet again as a battlefield during the recent Syrian War, but this time, lost its most significant and resilient element, an 11th-century Seljuk Minaret.

© George Ourfalian / AFPCourtesy of Wikimedia CommonsCourtesy of SSNP Media WarsCourtesy of SSNP Media Wars+ 34

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque Catches Fire During Notre Dame Blaze

While French firefighters were putting out the destructive blaze at the Notre Dame Cathedral, another holistic site was also up in flames. Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is among the holiest sites in Islam and was built almost 1,300 years ago, was struck by blaze while the monumental Catholic Church was also devastated with fire.

The fire is said to have started in the Al-Marwani Prayer Hall - also known as Solomon's Stables - part of the same compound as Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Fortunately, firemen of the Islamic Waqf department of the city were able to control the fire before any harm was done to the individuals or the other prayer halls. While the cause remains unknown, sources claim that the fire could have been ignited accidentally by children who were near the prayer hall at the time.