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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cosmology And Architecture In Premodern Islam: An Architectural Reading Of Mystical Ideas

Ebook Title: Cosmology And Architecture In Premodern Islam: An Architectural Reading Of Mystical Ideas
Author: Samer Akkach
Publisher: State University of New York Press (June 30, 2005)
Hardcover: 262 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0791464113
ISBN-13: 978-0791464113

Ebook Description
A study of cosmology and architecture from a premodern Sufi perspective pre-supposes some knowledge of the trends in Islamic cosmological thinking, of the sense in which cosmology can be related to architecture and of the terrains of mystical thoughts in which the relationship is grounded. Cosmology And Architecture In Premodern Islam presents abrief overview of cosmology in premodern Islam, acritical review of symbolism, being the prevailing method of reading cosmological ideas into architectural forms, and reconstruction of a Sufi perspective on symbolism.

Ebook Review
"In the preface to this book, Samer Akkach describes his childhood experience of watching snowflakes from his window in Damascus. Looking at them, he had the feeling that the flakes were not falling, but that he was floating upward to higher realms. Reading his book has had a similar affect on me, giving the impression that I have been carried up into unutterably strange, but compellingly beautiful, realms of thought and imagination.

In the face of the worldwide homogenization of architectural education, it is salutary to be reminded that architecture wasn't always and everywhere designed solely to satisfy aesthetic, economic, functional and technological exigencies. In many times and places architecture expressed a human sense of the wonder and oneness of the world. Buildings fitted together with myths and cosmologies to convey that people and the cosmos belong together: humans belong in the world they inhabit; and the world belongs together with humans. In this context, buildings serve to mediate between the human as microcosm and the whole world as macrocosm, showing how they inter-reflect and harmonize...

Samer Akkach is one of a small band of architectural scholars who see it as their task to record and interpret these other architectures so that they do not sink into irrecoverable oblivion. He rescues Islamic architecture from amnesia. In his splendid book he applies his intimate knowledge of Arabic and the premodern Sufi texts to convey a lucid and richly detailed account of the manner in which Islamic architecture, in all its forms, from buildings to cities, gardens, landscapes and meta-landscapes, reflected the cosmos, and thus gave back praise. The book is masterful, and a major contribution to architectural scholarship. --by Professor Adrian Snodgrass published in Architectural Theory Review, vol. 11

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