A conceptual framework for 'Islamic architectural' education.
At present "Islamic Architecture" is a controversial
topic of debate within architectural forums, very much
talked about but lacking a clear definition.
Saudi Arabia, birth place of Islam, modern pin-up board
for many an example of "islamic architecture", has
cause to be intimately linked with the area concerned
and has initiated a programme for its incorporation
within one of its universities. The following study is
an attempt to bring a conceptual clarity to the term
"Islamic Architecture" and devise an educational
programme for its teaching at tertiary level of
education in the Saudi Arabian context.
The adjective "Islamic" necessitates that any noun that
it qualifies should conform to the tenets of Islam.
This may not be possible with "Architecture" which, as
a term, is tinged with the ethos of. Classical Greece
and is associated with "technique" and "object
worship". In contrast, the equivalent term used in
Islam's own epistemology, AI-cImarah, associates the
discipline with "shaping the most suitable environment
for the sustenance of human life". Therefore it will be
more appropriate to speak of a distinct discipline of
AL_oIMiRAH instead of "Islamic Architecture"
In defining the parameters of an independent discipline
of Al- oIMiRAH one can also establish parameters for a
universal educational model that will train those who
will be responsible for the shaping of the environment
conforming with the attributes of Al-cImarah. In this
model, Islam's own "system of thought" and "world view"
will become the postulate and the ideal "Muslim Society
enjoined by Islam" as its terms of reference. Based on
this model a new university programme for the teaching
of AI-cImarah, together with the structure of the
courses, method of teaching of the courses, and
contents of the courses will be proposed. Existing
programmes for the teaching of "Architecture" are also
suggested to be modified in order to facilitate the
incorporation of ideals embodied in the concept of