What is Islamic Architecture?
book section

This article offers a critical review of scholarship on Islamic architecture in the last two centuries. It raises methodological and historiographical questions about the field’s formation, development, and historical and theoretical contours through a discussion of the positions of its main figures.


One question treated here is that of how to study a culturally defined architectural tradition like Islamic architecture without reducing it to essential and timeless categories. Another question is that of how one is to critique the dominant Western paradigm without turning away from its comparative perspective. But the most important goal of the article is to reclaim the assumed temporal boundaries of Islamic architecture – Late Antiquity as a predecessor and modernism as a successor – as constitutive forces in its evolution and definition.


Source: Directory of Open Access Journals


Rabbat, Nasser. What is Islamic Architecture? In Architecture in Islamic Arts: Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum. Geneva: Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 2011.

Parent Publications

Aga Khan Trust for Culture

art history
art criticism
Islamic art
Islamic architecture