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Islamic architecture: introduction

Islamic architecture
This website, produced by the Islamic and Arabic Arts and Architecture Organisation, gives a comprehensive overview, with readable articles and ample illustrations. The concept of decoration is explained, along with techniques and materials, including metal and wood. There is also discussion of architecture as the expression of power, the impact of Islamic architecture on the West

Introduction to mosque architecture 
Khan Academy

Common types of mosque architecture 
Khan Academy

What is Islamic architecture anyway? 
By Nasser Rabbat

Symbols and signs in Islamic architecture 
European Review of Artistic Studies

History of Islamic architecture 
A series of photographs, diagrams and explanations

Introduction to Islamic architecture 
By Rabah Saoud, Muslim Heritage website

Twenty-five fascinating examples of Islamic architecture  

Characteristics of Islamic architecture 
By Eleanor McKenzie

Islamic architecture 
Imam Reza website

Walking tours of Islamic Cairo 
Three mapped-out routes for exploring the old city. (American University in Cairo)

Glossary of Islamic architectural terms
(American University in Cairo)

Islamic Egyptian sites 
A large collection of illustrated articles (touregypt.net)

A commentary on Yemeni traditional architecture
by Derek Matthews (British-Yemeni Society Journal, 1996)

In the shadow of a master 
An article on the extraordinary skills of craftsmen who build traditional minarets. By Trevor Marchand (British-Yemeni Society Journal, 2002)

The Alhambra
Constructed in Granada when Muslims ruled Spain, the Alhambra is a fine example of Islamic architecture. Here is a virtual tour.

Modern Arab architecture

Contemporary Arab architecture (PDF) 
Redefining identity through a new built environment. By Djemili Abderezak & Bellal Tahar,Department of Architecture, Sétif University, Algeria (planum.net)

Arab architectural heritage between mirrors and idols 
The tradition-versus-modernity debate. By Jad Thabet (Al Jadid magazine, summer/fall 1998)

Contemporary Arab architecture 
Toward an Islamic identity
By Udo Kultermann, Professor of Architecture at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. 

Building on tradition (Part 1)
By Friedrich Ragette (Saudi Aramco World). See also Part 2 and Part 3

Modernity and tradition in Dubai architecture 
By Luiza Karim (al-Shindagah, September 1999)

World's tallest hotel opens its doors 
The amazing Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai (BBC, 1 December, 1999)

Modern architecture in Dubai 
A collection of photographs by Aidan O'Rourke  

Zaha Hadid 
Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) was one of the world's leading female architects, noted for her deconstructivist designs. She won the Pritzker Prize in 2004.

Zaha Hadid's 10 best buildings in pictures 
The Guardian

Bursting the bubble 
Bethan Ryder looks at the work of Bernard Khoury, a controversial Lebanese architect (Impressions magazine)

Raving and remembrance 
Thomas Fitzel discusses Bernard Khoury's construction of BO18, an underground nightclub on the site of a civil war massacre

Beirut's icon of modernist architecture set to be revamped within a year 
By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Daily Star, 2 July, 2004


In the architecture section


In the arts and culture section



Architecture of the Islamic world
George Michell (ed), et al, 1995. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Moroccan interiors
Lisa Lovatt-Smith, et al, 1995. Order from Amazon (US) 

Impressions of Yemen
Pascal Marechaux, et al, 1997. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Syria: a historical and architectural guide
Warwick Ball, 1997. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Islam: early architecture from Baghdad to Jerusalem and Cordoba
Henri Stierlin, Anne Stierlin (photographer), 1996. Order from Amazon (US)  

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Design and color in Islamic architecture: eight centuries of the tile-maker's art
Roland Michaud (photographer), et al, 1996. Order from Amazon (US)

Legacies for the future: contemporary architecture in Islamic societies
Cynthia Davidson (ed), April 1999. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Islamic art and architecture
Issam El-Said, et al. Hardcover, 1993. Order from Amazon (UK)

Impressions of Arabia: architecture and frescoes of the Asir region
Thierry Mauger, 1996. Order from Amazon (US)  

Contemporary architecture in the Arab states: renaissance of a region
Udo Kultermann, May 1999. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

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Splendours of an Islamic World
Henri Stierlin, Anne Stierlin (photographer), 1997. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Islamic architecture: form, function and meaning
Robert Hillenbrand, 1994. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Geometric patterns from Islamic art and architecture
Robert Field, 1998. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

A history of Ottoman architecture
Godfrey Goodwin, 1992. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Projecting Beirut: episodes in the construction and reconstruction of a modern city
Peter G. Rowe, Hashim Sarkis (eds), 1998. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Architecture of the contemporary mosque
Ismail Serageldin, James Steele (eds), 1996. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

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The traditional architecture of Saudi Arabia
Geoffrey King, Geoffrey Kingscott, 1998. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Beirut reborn: the restoration and development of the central district
Angus Gavin, Ramez Maluf (contributor), 1996. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Islamic architecture in Cairo: an introduction
Doris Behrens-Abouseif, 1996. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers Under French Rule
Zeynep Celik, 1997. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)

A Yemen reality
Salma S. Damluji, 1993. Order from Amazon (US) or (UK)


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Last revised on 31 May, 2016