Spaces of Worship in Islam in the West

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Abstract:

The role of the modern interior is redefined in this era of globalization, when boundaries blur among diverse communities to create new narratives. Regional influences are juxtaposed against cultural and religious attitudes, to offer opportunities for cultural amalgamation manifested in interior spaces. There are numerous opportunities to explore and respond to this vast topic through many levels of approaches. However, this investigation focuses on the study of the interiors of spaces of worship in Islam in the Western milieu, and considers whether there are underlying trends of historic precedence combined with contemporary materials and techniques that are successful within the context in which they exist. The search for relevant forms and expressions as manifested through the interiors of mosques and jamatkhanas of Islamic and Ismaili Centers in major cities of Europe and America is the focus of this article. Islamic Centers are built for Muslim communities in the West with a mandate of fulfilling the functional needs of the community, as well as acting as symbols of Muslim presence in the West. The underlying concept of Unity permeates Islamic buildings; complex geometrical and spatial relationships exist between the buildings' exterior and interior. The dematerialization of interior surfaces – through lavish surface decoration that incorporates geometrical and arabesque patterns in unison with calligraphic motifs – creates a multifaceted experience that invokes all the senses. In contemporary Islamic interior spaces such complexity is achieved with new materials, modern tools and technology of design and mass production within the specific clients' objectives.

Keywords: INTERIORS; ISLAMIC; ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE; ISMAILI MOSQUE; JAMATKHANA; MUSLIM; PLACES OF WORSHIP

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/204191210X12875837764174

Publication date: November 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture brings together the best critical work on the analysis of all types of spaces. The journal investigates the complexities of the interior environment's orchestration and composition, and its impact on the inhabitant from a trans-disciplinary perspective.

    The interior is the journal's central focus and contributions from interior design practitioners and theorists are welcome. The journal embraces perspectives from a range of disciplines, including anthropology, architecture, art and design history, cultural studies and visual culture, and places no limits in terms of either geography or chronology. The journal sets out to challenge divisions between theory and practice, and aims to provide an essential forum for all those with an interest in the design, history and meaning of interiors.

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