viernes, 15 de abril de 2011

Primary Elements in Andalusian Architecture (I): Introduction

Spanish Islamic architecture in its various phases, dependent Emirates, Emirate and Caliphate Umayyad Taifa Kingdoms, Almoravid Invasion and Almohad Caliphate and, finally, the emirate Nazari, integrated Roman-Visigothic tradition with Eastern, Syrian, Byzantine and Mesopotamian contributions. Other ones, more distant and surprising, must be added: both Iranian and Sasanid, and even Armenia, reflected in ribbed vaults in Cordoba and their Hispanic derivations. 

Apart from these architectures, developed in peninsular Islamic kingdoms, we must add Mozarabic and Mudejar architectures in the peninsular Christian kingdoms. 

This huge legacy is called today "Andalusian" art and culture, but not only referring to Andalusia region, but rather to Al-Andalus, name of Islamic medieval Spain. 

This art, especially architecture, have achieved a deserved worldwide reputation and especially in Muslim areas, as it constitutes one of the most significant impact of Islamic culture and its prolongation is still alive in the Maghreb (Morocco), Algeria and Ifriquiyya (Tunisia), until our time. 

Moreover this architecture and urbanism maintain their full validity in our time, and the modesty of their materials and resources, and its simple language are strongly identified with contemporary architecture and urbanism ideals. And especially in housing, because of its concept of complementarity between garden house, its sustainability, and bioclimatism, and even because its language, elemental, evocative, and easily transmissible, has not experienced 19th century eclecticism that led a clear deterioration in Western classicism. 

Therefore, many Middle Eastern people are turning to Andalusian architecture, demanding a modern, effective interpretation in public or private buildings where they try to combine its Andalusian sensibility with vernacular architecture and contemporary demands. 

Let's inventory primary volumes and the spatial elements that they contain:

1.- Qubba.

6.- Mosques.

7.- Minarets.

8.- Arches.

Lecture by D. Rafael Manzano Martos on November 17, 2010 at the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, USA.

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