Modern Islamic Architecture is being touted as possibly the most brilliant syntheses of old and new for obvious reasons. An absolutely timeless, beautiful clone of past Islamic designs which remains unmatched by anything else. So, it’s prudent that skilled professionals carve out a purer blend of old classical design and modern structural stylings to develop a kind of Islamic architectural design whose enduring effect reverberates through centuries…
The very nature of the past is an inspiration for the modern Ishmaelite designs. This, in turn, makes for some remarkable designs that are timeless in their own right. The very essence of Islamic architecture is laid back, as befits its ‘dhara’ (relief). You see, all the elements of traditional Islamic architecture are present in the modern architectural styles. The only difference being, modern Islamic architecture does not try and replicate the past, instead it tries to evolve with the times and be a dynamic entity in and of itself.
A good example of modern Islamic architecture which takes a hint from the past is the dome-shaped town wall structure. These walls were built in the 7th century as defensive structures against the marauding tribes of Qadis. They were eventually abandoned and eventually grew into a blossoming oasis of lush greenery which, at the present day, is home to scores of green businesses. The dome shaped town walls are just one example of how the canals of Abu Dhabi city have taken inspired the minds of architects and landscapers.
Another example of modern Islamic architecture comes in the form of skyscrapers which resemble Islamic saris. They too take a hint from the past, as the material used for their manufacture is that of silk. They give the impression of luxury and opulence. The dome shaped steel building known as the world’s tallest fountain was once an ancient fortification used by the Qadis. It is now home to a number of waterfalls.
The buildings themselves are another aspect of modern Islamic architecture. The plan of the modern cities is based around a central courtyard or ‘maha’ (such as the famous one in Dubai). In these courtyards, mosques are constructed and other buildings are also built. The heart of any modern Islamic city is of course its mosque.
One more feature common to modern Islamic architecture is the use of domes in their buildings. Domes are usually the home of the mosques. These domes are usually constructed of polygonal or hexagonal prefabricated sections. In fact, the construction of many modern buildings is directly dependent on the use of domes.
Like all other forms of Islamic architecture, the use of domes is not limited to any one building. They can be found in every Muslim home and many non-Muslim homes as well. The main difference between this type of architecture and traditional Islamic architecture is the use of more elaborately decorated domes. As in traditional architecture, domes are used to display images and to showcase the talent of the architects.
This is particularly true of Dubai, where the Burj khalifa tower and other local landmarks are extensively adorned with domes. domes are also being used to line the courtyards of hotels and other public places in Dubai. A quick visit to any Dubai hotel will show you that architects are currently working on incorporating multi-dimensional displays into their modern Islamic architecture.
Heavy Islamic Architecture
Domes are not the only aspect of modern Islamic architecture to feature heavily, however. Just as domes are used to display images and to showcase the talent of the architects, so too are the various minarets (i.e. the minarets that line the entrance to the Grand Hotel Burj Al Arab in Dubai) used to display delicate floral decorations and religious artifacts. Just like domes, the minarets are also being used as part of interior decorating, but with a more contemporary edge.
One of the most striking features of modern Islamic architecture is that of arches. Arches are used in almost every Islamic building, from houses to mosques to hotels and even restaurants.
The major feature of arches in the architecture of the Burj Al Arab hotel is that of the curved shape that allows for the entire building to be easily viewed from its corners. In fact, even the reception area of the Burj Al Arab features an arched staircase that seems to have been purposely created by the architects in order to increase the views of the building’s various sections.
Of course, the use of domes in mosque architecture has another purpose. In order to allow the congregation to pray freely without having to worry about stepping on anyone’s shoes (as certain animals are sacred to certain religions), the walls of the mosque would be encased in solid walls. The only way to access the mosque would be through the dome’s doors; through this, people would be able to pray, without fear. Dome door is yet another example of how great mosques are at using domes in their architecture.