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Barry Bergdoll

French architect and writer. The designer of many of the principal public buildings of Marseille, he also published the first accurate records of the Islamic monuments of Cairo, North Africa and the Middle East—a central interest of mid-19th-century architectural theorists and ornamentalists.

After studying both engineering and drawing in Marseille, Coste began his career in ...

Article

Mark Dike DeLancey

Malian mosque that was built in 1906–7 in the Sudanese style under the direction of master mason Ismaïla Traoré. Local historical traditions state that a mosque was first built on this site in the 12th century, replacing the palace of Djenné’s ruler Koi Konboro after he converted to Islam. By the turn of the 20th century the mosque was in ruins....

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Libyan painter. He returned to Libya in 1970 after graduating from the Plymouth School of Architecture and Design in England. In 1974 he was appointed consultant to the Festival of Islam in London, and in 1981 he settled in England. He typically uses individual letter forms based on the ...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan, Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Egyptian architect, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture (1926) from the High School of Engineering, University of King Fuad I (now University of Cairo), and then worked at the Department of Municipal Affairs, Cairo (1926–30). He subsequently began to teach at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the university (...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Mark Dike DeLancey

Term used to refer to architecture from the western Sudan, generally understood as encompassing Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and northern regions of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and Benin. The term ‘Sudanic’ is derived from the Arabic phrase ‘Bilad al-Sudan’, or ‘Land of the Blacks’, used historically to denote sub-Saharan Africa. References to Sudanic architecture were first employed in the late 19th century, particularly by French colonial administrators and adventurers, to refer to the architecture of French West Africa. These commentators frequently likened the architecture of the region to that of Egypt, thereby endowing the French colony with a degree of prestige, particularly in the wake of waves of Egyptomania that washed across Europe in the 19th century....

Article

Swahili  

Diane M. Pelrine

People living on the coast and islands of East Africa from Mogadishu in Somalia to Tanzania’s southern borders. Swahili culture is Islamicized and urban. Its visual arts serve mostly religious or local political purposes. Art and architecture can be best viewed in situ: in the towns themselves, at such architectural ruins as those at ...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan

Egyptian architect. He graduated from Ain-Shams University in Cairo in 1965. Between 1965 and 1970 he lectured at the university whilst studying and working with his mentor Hassan Fathy, the well-known proponent of indigenous architecture. In 1971 he went into private practice, eventually establishing offices in Cairo, Jiddah and Ashford, Kent. From ...

Article

Susan Roaf

Traditional form of natural ventilation and air-conditioning built on houses throughout the Middle East from North Africa to Pakistan. Constructed at least since the 2nd millennium bc in Egypt, wind catchers have also been used to cool caravanserais, water cisterns and mosques. Consisting of an open vent built on the roof facing into or away from the prevailing wind, wind catchers have shafts carrying the air down through the roof into the living area below, thereby ventilating and cooling the spaces. Wind catchers are generally placed above the summer rooms of courtyard houses. On the ...