Posted on Monday, January 14, 2019
Islamic architecture is dynamic, having evolved across centuries, says SM Akhtar, professor and head of department, Faculty of Architecture & Ekistics, Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI), who is the brain behind the institution’s efforts to launch the subject as an elective course in the BArch stream. “The subject, in the new academic session in 2019, will be taught across two semesters in the fourth year when students have the option to work in specialisations such as vaastu, vernacular/rural architecture. Islamic architecture will be the new entrant in the field, which will make the student sensitive to environmental challenges to implement their learning in contemporary settings,” informs Akhtar.
The paradigm shift
Dispelling the traditional perception of Islamic architecture which carries the notion of medieval domes and arches, Akhtar says the architecture in the medieval era is archaeology. While its traditional format was first propagated by the British, it was only towards the beginning of 21st century that Islamic architecture emerged in its present-day form.
It is now being reinterpreted along contemporary lines-- through the use of new icons, idioms and materials like glass, steel, stone and even synthetic fibres. “The course upholds the Islamic philosophy where sensitivity towards nature and harnessing it for human welfare is of utmost significance,” says Akhtar. “The architecture also engages with truthfulness of form, geometrical order and discipline, much like music and poetry. Its contemporary flavour lies in the use of alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal power,” he adds.
“The vocabulary of Islamic architecture has changed, and it is time to evolve a curriculum at the UG level to educate students on this branch of aesthetics, says Akhtar who has authored a book on its perceptions and paradoxes.
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