The General Principles of Islamic Architecture That Inspire Global Creativity

October 20, 2018

The General Principles of Islamic Architecture That Inspire Global Creativity

When you think of contemporary architecture, what is the first word that comes to mind?

For many, it’s is the concept of “new”. That’s essentially what contemporary means after all. It’s architecture that comes from present ideas to create something entirely new.

In that context, it’s perhaps difficult to see where the core tenets of Islamic architecture fit into the global scene. Steeped in traditionalism, many aspects of Islamic architecture may seem outdated, at least in terms of the modern creative vision.

But scratching beneath the surface reveals that this most certainly is not the case. To demonstrate this fact, we present to you five core principles of Islamic architecture that continue to inspire global creativity in the modern era.

Principle #1 – Authenticity

The concept of authenticity does not directly apply to fakery in this context. In fact, it relates more to what inspired the design.

Think about it like this. As ideas progress and new architectural elements are introduced, it’s often easy to eschew the more traditional ideas that laid the foundations for those new ideas to occur. That’s an inauthentic experience because it completely does away with the inspiration behind the architecture in the first place.

What you’ll notice with many modern designs is that they pull from older ideas, such as those used in Islamic architecture, to create something that is both contemporary and authentic.

We can also see this authenticity shine through in contemporary buildings. The Quran encourages you to explore new concepts and read constantly. This applies to Islamic architecture in the sense that it opens the door for the use of modern building techniques and tools, while still applying the appropriate respect to the traditional designs that have formed the basics of Islamic architecture for centuries.

In that sense, Islamic architecture can inspire global creativity because there are limitless possibilities. While there are certain architectural structures and ideas that remain consistent and authentic, they’re constantly melded with contemporary ideas to create something new.

Principle #2 – Promoting Harmony

Another aspect of Islamic architecture that inspires creativity is the idea of building in harmony with your surroundings.

This is something that we often don’t see in western architecture. Some architects have ideas for their buildings that put them at complete odds with what surrounds them. This can lead to the buildings standing out like sore thumbs, to the point where they become eyesores. In those instances, creativity has perhaps been allowed to run without any sort of checks, which leads to an inharmonious environment.

Islamic architecture takes the opposite approach. While it encourages creativity and the adoption of new ideas, it also highlights the importance of creativity refined by what surrounds the piece. This ensure harmony between the old and the new, which also encourages architects to create new ideas.

The Final Word

These key principles have formed the basis of Islamic architecture for millennia. And they continue to inspire architects to this day. The ideas of authenticity and harmony are ideas that lead to many of the stunning designs that we see in the contemporary field. Moreover, they encourage respect for the more traditional ideas that inspire those contemporary pieces in the first place.

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