Thursday, April 21, 2011

Space and surface

Muqarnas are stalactite or honeycomb ornament that adorn cupolas or corbels of a building.
In Islamic architecture, "space is defined by surface, and since surface articulated by decoration, there is an intimate connection between space and decoration.  It is the variety and richness of the decoration with its endless permutations, that characterizes the buildings rather than their structural elements, which are often disguised.  Muqarnas, for example, are explained by the desire to dissolve the barriers between those elements of the building that are structural (load-bearing) and those that are ornamental (non-load-bearing)."  Architecture of the Islamic World  George Michel

Muqarnas are everywhere, like this corbel on the exterior of the Nejjarine Funduq, now a wood museum.

Decorative elements are applied to every kind of material from plaster to wood.

The same process used to create the muqarnas is applied here to transition a square corner into a chamfered one.

Smooth passageways are essential in the medina for the passage of donkeys carrying heavy loads.

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