year 4, Issue 1 (Spring & Summer 2018)                   CIAUJ 2018, 4(1): 27-40 | Back to browse issues page

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Ghasri M A, Mirgholami M, Hojjat E. An Analysis of Visiting Users’ Readings of the Relation between Form and Symbolism in Different Types of Contemporary Mosques in Tabriz based on Shiite Jurisprudential Decrees. CIAUJ. 2018; 4 (1) :27-40
1- Tabriz Islamic Art University
2- Tehran University
Abstract:   (245 Views)
The contemporary theoretical literature seems to be characterized by a lack of focus on reading architec­tural works, in particular, visiting users’ readings of contemporary Iranian mosques. The mosque, as an important symbol of the Iranian-Islamic architecture, endows the field with a special sensitivity. In our ex­ploration of visiting users’ readings from the per­spective of form and symbolism as the central focus of the present study, we consider the mosque as a structure composed of form, meaning, apparent manifestations and abstract concepts. Today, for various reasons, we are witness to the emergence of mosques whose users lack a shared understanding of them. Therefore, an analysis of how visiting users read an architectural structure and the factors af­fecting the reading can help clarify this process. It can also help us provide effective strategies for de­signing mosques with divine symbols whose refer­ences/meanings can be optimally read or deci­phered, by the average visiting user. The present study is a fundamental research with practical objec­tives and it features a descriptive-analytical design in terms of its general approach and procedures. First, we developed a model for reading contemporary mosques through a review of literature and a survey of experts’ viewpoints. We used the model as the basis of inclusion into the field study. Then, we eval­uated and compared visiting users’ readings of nine cases selected from among 180 contemporary mosques in Tabriz as located on a spectrum of simi­larity/dissimilarity to traditional mosques. Question­naires, interviews and observation were used to collect the required data. The results showed that, in addition to apparent and symbolic elements such as domes and minarets, abstract concepts such as peace of mind and spirituality play an important role in the reading of contemporary mosques. It seems that Shiite jurisprudential decrees, as our criteria for analyzing user readings, include certain principles for evaluating some of the elements involved in reading such as style, patterns, embellishments, minarets and altars. Although some important elements in the reading of Iranian mosques – including but not limited to domes, porches and forecourts – cannot be evaluated with the above-mentioned criteria, they are necessary for a better read­ing/understanding of the meanings associated with contemporary mosques due to their recurrence and assimilation in the historical course of the evolution of mosques.
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