NEDUET Workshop on Islamic Architecture
Understanding the Philosophy and Expressions of Islamic Architecture

'It can be argued that for our cultural context the message and philosophy of traditional art is still culturally relevant and appropriate as a valid artistic expression. At the level of technology, for us in the sub-continent it makes great sense to learn from this tradition. Especially when we see that the technological solutions of traditional architecture are economically viable and environmentally sustainable for many types of buildings. But it is above all the message of traditional art, whose harmony and beauty aims at reflecting something of the "time-less", which…
is relevant and meaningful not only in our cultural context but
at all times and in all places.'
Taimoor K. Mumtaz,In Search of the 'Time-less' in Architecture,
Journal of Research in Architecture & Planning, NEDUET

Text by History Group Members

We in Pakistan are the custodians of a rich and diverse built heritage. To promote the study and appreciation of thishas been one of the main objectives of History Group (HG)at the Department of Architecture and Planning of NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi (DAP-NEDUET). In this regard, aworkshop titled "understanding the philosophy and expressions of Islamic architecture" was organizedby HG from 17th till 23rdJanuary 2011at DAP-NEDUET. The workshop was successfully conducted by Taimoor Khan Mumtaz, a renownpracticing architect from Lahore. This was the second in the HG workshop series and the first one was held in Feb. 2010.

The week long workshop was attended by a select group of participants consisting of students, faculty and professionals both from within the department and outside. The aim of the workshop was to understand and analyze the hidden logic and principles of Islamic Art and Architecture. For this the participants were practically exposed to the use of geometry, design methods, elements and vocabulary of traditional and Islamic architecture.

The workshop started with an introductory public lecture by Taimoor on the theoretical framework and philosophical framework of Islamic Art. This was followed by site visits to a mazaar in Sakhi Hassan and the Oxford University Press Head Office building. An in-depth on-site inquiry into the principles used by Arch. Kamil Khan Mumtaz in the design of these monuments inspired the participants for the workshop work that was to follow.

Arches, domes, muqarnas, jalis etc. were all drawn to precision through the workshop. Reference was drawn from the Workshop Reader and Drawings which included sketches of local masters like Ustad Rahim Bukhsh and Ustad Mohammad Siddique Glotar of Multan and Chiniot respectively. Vigorous exercises were carried out not only in sketching, drawing, drafting but also in model making which culminated in a life size model of an 'islamic' architectural space around the Campus Canteen.

These works were exhibited at the Closing Ceremony which was presided by the Dean of Civil Engineering and Architecture Faculty, NEDUET, Prof. Dr.Sarosh Lodi. Presentations were made regarding the methodology and process of the workshop which was highly appreciated by all visitors.

About the History Group DAP-NEDUET
The History Group was established in 2007 by faculty teaching history at DAP-NEDUET as a forum for scholarly research, discourse and exchange in areas such as history, architectural theory and criticism, philosophy, cultural and visual studies. Objectives are to promote the study and appreciation of historical and cultural heritage of Pakistan and the region; to provide the link between pedagogical practice and historical research, to undertake historical researches, publications and conferences, and to enhance the teaching and practice of Architectural Design through historical understanding.

Theseaims are being achieved by several activities. Besides research, these include organizing of lectures, showings of historical films and documentaries, conducting tours of heritage sites and city walks, holding panel discussion on historic themes, producing history based plays and maintaining active networks with other historians and historical societies in the country. Most of these events are open for the public.

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