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Islamic architecture: introduction

Islamic architecture
This site, 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 Western world, and its possible future development.

What is Islamic architecture? 
By Ernst Grube (from Architecture of the Islamic World, 1995)

Islamic architecture (Wikipedia)

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)

What is a minaret? (Wikipedia)

What is a minbar? (Wikipedia)

What is a mihrab? (Wikipedia)

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

Monuments in Egypt
A detailed guide, with descriptions and photographs. Includes ancient, Christian and Jewish monuments, as well as Islamic

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)

Other articles about architecture 
An index from Saudi Aramco World

Islamic architecture: photographs

Arab-Islamic architecture 
A collection of 65 images (Arab Culture and Civilisation website)

Thais - Architettura 
Italian architectural site (partly in English) with a section on Islamic architecture. Contains an index of major buildings, with photographs and a brief description.

Mosques around the world 
A collection of photographs compiled by the Centre for Islamic Art and Culture.

Great Buildings Online 
Islamic section features a number of buildings, with fairly detailed commentary and references.

Hassan II Mosque 
Picures of the world's second-largest mosque,completed in Casablanca in 1993

Hassan II Mosque 
More pictures

Modern architecture

Contemporary Arab architecture (PDF) 
Redefining identity through a new built environment. ByDjemili 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)

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

Dubai reaches for the sky 
The construction of Burj Dubai - planned to be the world's tallest building (BBC, 10 August, 2005)

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 
Photographs by Aidan O'Rourke  

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

Zaha Hadid Architects 
The website of Hadid's architectural practice.

Ahead of the curve 
Straight lines are out, sloping walls are in. Jonathan Glancey on a stunning Danish museum that shows there is a gentle side to Zaha Hadid (The Guardian, 3 October 2005)

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

Bernard Khoury's website

Interview with Bernard Khoury 
By Marco Casamonti and Efisio Pizzalis, September 2001

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

Interior design: identity in Lebanon  
By Victor Khoueiry (Architecture Week)


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 05 August, 2015