Architectural treatments in the facades of Islamic
architecture to protect against the climatic factor
Sanbunkaran in sulaimanyah as a case study
Nowadays architectural elements in contemporary designs hasn`t any response to climate factor in the city. The lack of researches on traditional Islamic architecture in the city led to this problem.
The aim of this research is to present architectural elements in facades which it is responsive to climate factor in traditional Islamic architecture in Sabunkaran-Sulaimanyah, and it can be useable nowadays in contemporary architecture.
Islamic architecture has many elements in façade which is responsive to climate conditions in the area, these elements can be used as responsive elements to climate factor.
To establish goals of this research three objective have been:
Keywords: Islamic architecture, facades in Islamic architecture, climate in Islamic Middle East area.
Islamic architecture and it is function derived from Islam’s soul, it is implementation of Islam. It make the activity of Islam worship more easier on earth`s live. it is impossible to create Islamic architecture without Islam`s doctrine and perception of God, man, nature, and end life. Thus, Islamic architecture would be the facilities and, at the same time, a physical locus of the actualization of the Islamic message. Practically, Islamic architecture represents the religion of Islam that has been translated onto reality at the hands of Muslims. It also represents the identity of Islamic culture and civilization. (Omer, A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CONCEPTS OF MAN AND ENVIRONMENT)
“As far as architecture is concerned, it is the haven where man’s spirit, soul and body find refuge and shelter.” (Bianca, 2000), this quote is by Ibn-Abdun who was an Andalusian Judge, in other words it means architecture is a place to rest of the soul, body and making a safe place to people.
Afif Bahnassi said that architecture is like a shirt it should fit the body of the owner.¬¬¬
Islamic architecture is not specific architecture, it does not have determined form, function and pattern in conquered countries. It is different from country to other according to it is climate and other factors that have impact on architecture. On the other hand it has specific identity which created by the spiritual and religion factors. (Yassin , 2012)
Time and place makes the Islamic architecture differ from country to other. Which it means this architecture is different according to climate, region, geographic, social life and religion factors. (Yassin , 2012)
There is many definition to this architecture but the concept of this architecture is buildings which used by Muslims which helps to make their Worship activities and it is proper for their beliefs. (Alarabi, 2007)
Designing of façade has more than one function except aesthetic and visual comfort it has more diminution in designing it. (Abdullah, Abdul Majid, ; Othman, 2016).
“Facade is the first and most impacting connection between humans and the built environment, the outer shell of a building is not only a reflection of the architectural character of a region but also a representation of local cultural, social, climatic, political and economic circumstances” (Askari, 2009). This quote by Askari and Dola shows that façade design is related to other factor between them climate of the area and there is many factors must be taken in to consideration.
Moreover, the look of the facade has impact for each indoor climate and energy saving, as there are several energies flows each ways in which over this boundary between the external and internal environments (Johnsen ; Winther, 2015).
Façade in Islamic architecture:
Façade in Islamic architecture contains two major axis, the first is Islamic composition elements and second is characteristics of Islamic composition which gives aesthetic and order to the façade.
First Axis: Islamic composition elements:
The composition of Islamic façade is like narrative text, this composition narrates the story of construction and design strategies of that façade. Through this composition, all responsive elements for climate can be described. (Tahir, 2002)
Opening in Islamic façade has important role in term of climate solution and aesthetic values in façade. (Al-Sabahi, 2002). Opening in Islamic architecture contains the following:
c- Control windows
2- Ornaments: Samir Saegh
Second axis: Characteristics of composition in Islamic façade:
The composition in Islamic façade showed that the principle of simplicity is main principle in Islamic façade and the depth of its expressive content, which was the result of a cognitive accumulation of a series of cumulative experience. (Al-Dally, 1989)
The human scale is the relative relationship between buildings and human dimensions, this relationship in the Islamic architecture was a logical relationship through which man feels belonging, also he felt that these buildings were in his favor and he controlled them. (Hassan, 2002)
The scale in Islamic architecture is the human rhythm used throughout the formations.
The Islamic architecture with its facades and rich formations confirms that the Islamic construction was concerned with the principle of proportions and proportionality in the formulation of its architecture.
Color is an energy perceived by the human eye, during ancient history, man has realized the importance of this element and its distinctive characteristics, especially the natural color, where colors change in nature from one region to another. (Zyab, No date)
4- Light and Shade:
Light and shade is most important elements in Islamic architecture, because it makes façade more realizable and shows the different martials. (Tahir, 2002)
Texture in Islamic architecture has role in shading the exterior walls because of it is rough texture. (Tahir, 2002)
Elevation elements in vernacular Islamic house in Iraq:
According to Khayat and Khaznadar study vernacular elements of facades is follow: (Khayat ; Khaznadar, No date)
3- Shading parts and that include:
– Shanashil (overhang).
– Parapet (the vernacular term “sitara”).
– Patterns and ornaments.
Fig. 1 Elevation elements in vernacular Islamic house in Iraq
Climate and Architecture:
The impact of climate on architecture has been proven from ages ago. Human build shelters which was responsive for climate to protect them from rough conditions. Building is the same as human body, has heat transfer process. To control this process the architects must use this skin as a control method. The flow of heat occur in two direction the first direction is from inside to outside and the second is vice versa. (Giovani, 1998)
There is different climate zones according to Oliver: (Oliver, 1997)
1- Snow climates / polar region
2- Boreal or snow-forest climate / moderate climate
3- Warm moderate rain climates / moderate zone
4- Tropical rain climates / Tropics
5- Dry climates / Subtropics
Dry Climate / Subtropics:
Dry climate region located between tropics and temperate region.it contains deserts and steppes around the worlds. Desert climate contains deserts and semi-deserts area which known by high temperature and dry air, these areas has low temperature rate during night and sometimes it arrives to freezing degree. The low rate of humidity expects high temperature during day and sometimes it rises to 50c. (Oliver, 1997)
The contrast between temperatures from nigh today, made designers to use strategies in their design to be suitable with that environment. (Oliver, 1997)
Climate effect on architectural form:
Climate has certain effect on architectural form with no doubt. Fathy describes this effect from Islamic architecture view which he describes this effect with examples of façade in Islamic architecture which the opining wall area ratio decreased in Islamic architecture areas due to hot dry climates in those areas. Another point is balconies in Iraq and other countries which is used to make shadow on the façade. The effect of climate shown on roof shape which is differ from climate zone to other. In Europe countries the pitched roof used as climate response solution but in some countries in Africa flat roof used to be a good place for sleeping during night. (Fathy, 1986)
According to designs in vernacular architecture, human in hot-dry climate zones used the natural way to cooling their houses. Fathy beliefs this techniques which is used in vernacular architecture (Islamic Architecture) must be evaluated and developed to fill requirements of contemporary architecture to save energy and natural resources. (Fathy, 1986)
Climate Responsive Elements in Vernacular (Islamic) architecture:
Designing for hot-dry climate must include special characteristics as protecting from sun and cooling inside the building. Bellow some elements which responsive for climate in vernacular architecture: (Fathy, 1986)
a- Sun factor:
1- Building material:
The martial used as skin for the building has it is effect on the climate inside the building. Martials which is used in vernacular architecture has effect to improve thermal comfort in vernacular architecture.
The sun is major factor which effects the orientation of building from this point the orientation of the façade effects the shape and size of openings. The opining in the vernacular architecture is used as responsive element to climate
Through optimal orientation the best solution can be achieved in vernacular architecture. There is some different shading devices in façade in vernacular architecture.
a- Northern façade:
b- Southern façade
c- East façade
d- West façade
Openings in vernacular architecture has three main function the first is to get in direct light, second to get in indirect light and last one to get air for ventilation and view. Follow the elements used in openings as response to climate factor
a- The venetian blind
b- The Mashrabiyah
c- The Shanashil
b- Brise soleil
1- The Claustrum:
Small ventilation opining used for ventilation without any penetration of privacy, security and direct solar rays. These opining needs to be covered with decoration and ornament which is called claustrum.
2- The wind escape
3- The Malqaf
4- The Badger
Muslims and environment:
Man, according to Islam, is a vicegerent on earth entrusted with the honorable task of inhabiting it in accordance with the divine guidance given to him. This terrestrial life serves to man as a platform for either elevating his status over that of angels, should he abide by the divinely prescribed rules and regulations, or for debasing his self-lower than the rank of animals, should he tum away £rom Truth and dazed and lost wander aimlessly amid the innumerable and awesome wonders of creation.
God created man with the primordial natural disposition Wah) to thirst for and worship his Creator. God, therefore, knowing best the character of man, his needs and weaknesses, on sending Adam and Eve to earth to assume the duty of vicegerency, revealed to them that He will never forsake them and their progeny. God promised that His guidance and signs will be coming to them, and “Whosoever follows my guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah, 3 8)
Islam and environment:
This Islamic unique perception of man and his position on earth necessitated the formation of a compelling and comprehensive view of the natural environment as well. This is so because man totally depends on nature for his survival. Also, nature is a ground for man’s realization of his spiritual purpose on earth. Simply put, man is an integral part of the total natural setting. Man is nature himself, sustaining nature means sustaining his self, damaging nature means damaging his self and his prospects of a civilizational triumph. Owing to all this, Islam attaches so much importance to the subject of environment clearly expounding man’s rights over it and his responsibilities towards it. (Abdul-Alhameed, 1997)
Environment holds enormous potential and diversified resources meant only for the
Vicegerent of earth. They are to be seen as facilities which if rightly used facilitate each and every facet of man’s fleeting stay on earth. Environment is further to be seen by man as an “ally” or a “partner”, so to speak, in the execution of his earthly mission. After all, in order to create any piece of his built environment, which serves as a framework for his activities, man borrows diverse natural ingredients, such as space, water, clay, timber, stone and other substances, placing the newly created or built elements back into the existing natural contexts. In reality, built environment is in so many ways the natural environment which has been processed and manipulated.
According to a number of divine instructions, natural diversity and the forces of nature are to be the focus of man’s exhaustive scientific and contemplative attention. Diversity in humans: skin colors, languages, attitudes and cultures, are to preoccupy the cognitive faculties of men as well, thus trying to find a link between it and the former. In all natural phenomena a great deal of wisdom lies and waits to be unearthed.
In Islam, man’s rights over environment are rights of sustainable use based on moderation, balance and conservation. The rights of environment over man, on the other hand, are that it be safe from every misuse, mistreatment and destruction. Greed, extravagance and waste are considered a tyranny against nature and a transgression of those rights. (Abdul-Alhameed, 1997)
Islam teaches that all things have been created with purpose and in proportion and measure, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Nature’s resources and forces are gifts granted by God to man. At the same time, however, the natural environment is a field for man’s vicegerency mission. (Abdul-Alhameed, 1997)
It is right there, while interacting with different aspects of environment, that people clearly demonstrate how strong, or how deficient, their relationship with God is. So significant is man’s relationship with environment in Islam that in some instances such relationship is able to take precedence over other deeds of man, placing him then on the highest or dragging him to the lowest level. (Abdul-Alhameed, 1997)
Furthermore, environment stands for a source of man’s spiritual enlightenment too, provided his treatment of it is apt and derived from divine teachings, in that environment in its totality is an expression of God’s presence, oneness, mercy and supremacy. By the power of reason and insight that has been accorded to him to subdue the forces of nature, man at the same time will be able to penetrate through and grasp properly nature’s countless mysteries and phenomena Consequently, this will lead to a considerable enhancement of his physical well-being, as well as to expediting the process of his spiritual advancement. (Abdul-Alhameed, 1997)
1- John Napier Study:
Napier pointed that every façade design should have responsive elements to climate. As he pointed that the façade is not just a skin to give surrounding walls to building but it should modify the interior environment, it should lightening the interior air loads, admitting day light, limiting solar heat gain, giving privacy to interior and controlling glare. (Niper, 2015)
Islamic architecture was responsive to these design strategies in the façade which used some traditional techniques to reduce the negative effect of climate on building.
2- Ahmed Fathi, Ahmed Salih, Mohhamed hegazy Study:
The authors in this study mentioned that, the vernacular and traditional Islamic solutions which is used as response to environmental and sustainable factors is the best solution to be added in contemporary designs. (Fathi, Salih, & Hegazy, 2015)
This study supports that Islamic architecture is sustainable architecture which used the natural resources to save energy.
3- Spahic Omer Study:
The relationship of human and environment is major discussion of this study, the author aimed to describe Islamic architecture as responsive architecture to climate and environment factor from view of Prophet`s preceding. The environment is the most important case in the view of Islam. There is peaceful coexistence between man and environment, natural environment and building.(Omer, No Date)
“Islamic architecture is an environment conscious enterprise, realizing and then inviting and accommodating nature’s advantages and also realizing and then repelling its disadvantages. In other words, at the core of Islamic architecture lies the notion of sustainability”. (Omer, No Date)
4- Motealleh, Zolfaghari, & Parsaee Study
The study is focused on Bushehr city in Iran which has vernacular Islamic architecture. The author tried to find climate responsive elements in the vernacular architecture and he was successful in his findings. There is many climate responsive elements in vernacular architecture which he summarized it in table. (Motealleh, Zolfaghari, & Parsaee, 2016) See Table 1
Table 1:Climatic solutions in Bushehr vernacular architecture.
(Source:Motealleh, Zolfaghari, & Parsaee, 2016)
Climatic solutions in Bushehr vernacular architecture Advantages
The dense skeletal form Making shadows of buildings and preventing the intense sun penetration
Tall alleys with high closeness Making shadows of buildings and preventing the intense sun penetration
Building’s orientation with consideration of wind flow direction For the maximum use of the gentle cool breeze
Locating passages toward the sea For having the maximum windward faces
Central organization of spaces For creating proper ventilation
The existence of windows toward the central courtyard and toward alleys For producing transverse ventilation
Using of Shenashir and Tarmeh For the maximum use of the wind draft and preventing the penetration of the intense sun
Using Rooftops at nights For the maximum use of the wind draft
Using of materials with the low heat capacity Adaptability with hot and humid climate
5- Hamed Mohammadi Mazraeh, Mahdieh Pazhouhanfar Study:
In this study researchers wanted to find vernacular elements which is computable with the climate of the region. They successfully found some elements and building construction techniques that can be used in contemporary architecture to give a solution for climate, environment and sustainable issue in architecture and urban level. (Mazraeh & Pazhouhanfar, 2018)
6- PARINAZ KESHTKARAN Study:
Harmonization of using Martials in vernacular Islamic architecture in the city have been used during Islamic architecture period. This harmonization led to balance between climate and architecture. The traditional construction method will be useful to be used in this era. Among all restriction of culture, religion and climate the façade has significant design and decorated well. (KESHTKARAN, 2011)
Summary of Literature Review:
Islamic architecture is derived from Muslims thinking, doctrine and activities that makes their worship activity easier. Islamic architecture has response to many factors that effected it, as climate, geographic, social, cultural, religion, and military factors, among these factors that mentioned previously, the climate is one of the main factor that has impact on Islamic architecture, not just impacted Islamic architecture but has impact on architecture globally, because it has direct effects on human comfort.
According to studies, climate is different from region to other, for that reason researchers divided climate zones to five zones, each zone has it is characteristics which differ from other zone on earth.
From this point climate has effect on architecture globally and Islamic architecture in specific. The effect of climate on architecture responded by form and function of the building. Façade of building as a part of form of the building effected by climate. This response by façade is different from climate zone to other. Hot dry zone in this research has been chosen to study. Elements that responded climate factor in façade summarized in Table 2.