Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recently finished Frescos at Baba Hassan Din Shrine

Top: Qalib-Kari conrnice based on 17th century Tomb of Dai Anga (inside Gulabi Bagh located next to UET on the G.T. Road). Plaster work by Ustad Jafar; Fresco by Ustad Rafaqat and Calligraphy by Ustad Shaukat Minhas.

Bottom: General view of entrance passage to Baba Hassan Din's tomb (2010).

Friday, July 16, 2010

‘Geometrical’ and ‘Gaz-grid’ Analyses of the Sheesh Mahal (Lahore Fort)

Extract from:

Figs. 15 & 16 show the ‘Geometrical’ and ‘Gaz-grid’ analyses respectively, of the Sheesh Mahal built by Shah Jahan in the Lahore Fort in 1630-31 AD. The Geometrical Analysis (fig 15) shows that all the main divisions of the plan are derived from a series of rotating and inscribed squares. 
In the Gaz-Grid Analysis shown in fig 16 the grid is of 2.5 gaz. The over-all length 62gaz; the width of the court 40gaz; the central Veranda of the Sheesh Mahal 20gaz; the side double storey verandas 10 gaz; the inter-columnar distances for the two verandas 6gaz and 3gaz respectively; Length of the Naulakha Pavilion in the West 10gaz, the round portion of the central pool 13gaz.

Thus once sees that the design of the building utilises two processes simultaneously, namely ‘geometric’ and ‘analytical’.[1]

The design was first drawn more or less theoretically, according to geometric proportions. Then, the analytical process was applied, and one dimension within the design was selected as a module. This module would be equal to, or commensurate with the gaz.[2]

[1] This mirrors the process outlined for Timurid Architecture by Golombek and Wilber, The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan, basing themselves on the definitive Russian work of  Bulatov, M.S, Geometricheskaiia Garmonizatsia v Arkhitekture Ssrednei Azii IX-XV, Moscow, 1978.

[2]Golombek and Wilber, The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan, Op.cit. p 139

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Qalib-Kari (Stucco Plaster-work) & Naqqashi (Fresco Painting on wet lime-plaster)

Qalib-Kari drawing in chalk by Usatd Jafar in an Iwan.

Shafaat and Majid at work on Frescos in a dome assisting their father Master Fresco Painter Rafaqat.

Click for Image of Mosque & Qalib-Qari design on Dome

Glazed-Tiles' Designs

Initial samples for the mosaics 
made by
M. Siddique Kashigar of Nasrpur, 

Hydrabad Distt. Sindh.

Options for a Glazed-tile &
Terracotta Mosaic Panel.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Latest Issue: Journal of Research in Architecture & Planning, NED University, Karachi

In Search of the ‘Time-less’ in Architecture                                                          
by Taimoor Khan Mumtaz
While the use of geometry as surface decoration in Islamic architecture is evident and well documented, an aspect about which not enough is known and understood is the use of geometry in the design of the buildings themselves. This paper will, therefore, endeavour to focus on the use of geometry in the ordering and design of the architecture – plan, elevation, and section. In addition it does so from the point of view of a practising architect attempting to develop ways of employing these methods in contemporary practice, based not only on a  knowledge of their traditional use but also their artistic function – which is to create an architecture which reflects something of the ‘time-less’ quality of all great art.

This paper consists of an Introduction briefly outlining the relevance of the study of traditional architecture and what we can learn from it. Part I gives the theoretical and philosophical background to the design principles[1] of Islamic architecture[2]. Part II offers a theoretical model for looking at traditional architecture in terms of a language with a grammar and a vocabulary in the context of which the principles of design and practical methods of geometry are employed. Part III gives a Historical Overview of the connection between Architecture and Geometry. Part IV consists of a presentation of geometric methods used in Islamic Architecture taking Timurid architecture of Iran and Central Asia as a case-study.  In Part V a Mughal building and a Master-mason’s plan drawing of a mosque are analysed in the light of the methods discussed in the preceding section. In Part VI a contemporary project of a community mosque in Lahore is presented, where some of the methods studied are applied. The Conclusion discusses the extent and challenges of using the theoretical model of traditional architecture – language, grammar, vocabulary, principles and methods – in our own practice.

[1] These design principles find their clearest expression in sacred architecture i.e. of the mosque and the tomb. From   sacred architecture these principles are reflected in Imperial as well as Urban Vernacular architectures.

[2]  The term ‘Islamic Architecture’ stands for an architecture rooted in and expressing the traditional Islamic world view through a vocabulary of forms and principles of design particular to Islamic Architecture as it developed and maintained itself over the centuries till the colonisation of Islamic lands and the resulting influx of Post- Enlightenment philosophies and forms. Cf. Burckhardt , Titus, The Art of Islam- Language and Meaning , London, 1976.