Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sinan the architect

Today's NY Times Travel section has an article on Mimar Sinan with pictures of some of the mosques he designed in and around Istanbul. The first one mentioned is the Şemsi Pasha Mosque located in the district of Üsküdar on the Asian side of the Bosphorus right on the shoreline. This area of Istanbul is opposite the Golden Horn.

The article has useful introductory information about Mimar Sinan which can be supplemented by other reading. Here is an article in the Encyclopedia Britannica which describes the importance of the central dome in mosques he built. 

Starting with the Byzantine church as a model, Sinan adapted the designs of his mosques to meet the needs of Muslim worship, which requires large open spaces for common prayer. As a result, the huge central dome became the focal point around which the design of the rest of the structure was developed. Sinan pioneered the use of smaller domes, half domes, and buttresses to lead the eye up the mosque’s exterior to the central dome at its apex, and he used tall, slender minarets at the corners to frame the entire structure. This plan could yield striking exterior effects, as in the dramatic facade of the Selim Mosque. Sinan was able to convey a sense of size and power in all of his larger buildings. Many scholars consider his tomb monuments to be the finest examples of his smaller works.

Other innovations of his unmentioned in the article are light and sound. See also this article which discusses Sinan's creation of acoustic space in the architecture of later mosques. 

No comments:

Post a Comment