Seminar: Urban Space and Architectural Culture in the Middle East

 May 22nd, 1999
Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo


On the 22nd of May, eleven researchers participated in the first seminar, each presenting for fifteen minutes. Architectural historians explained the research material, methodology, and problems involved in their research thus far, while scholars in other disciplines discussed how their specializations overlap with architectural history. Outlined below are the topics presented:

1) Riichi MIYAKE (Shibaura Institute of Technology)

"From the History of Coptic and Armenian Architecture"

This is a study of the remains of monasteries of the Eastern Church, which spans from Ethiopia to Georgia and Armenia, and includes the Coptic, Nestorian, Syrian, and Armenian churches. In addition to the analysis of the style and form of the monasteries, investigations were carried out on the construction, spatial configuration, and the use of regional materials such as brick and stone.

2) Kimiyo YAMASHITA (Kokushikan University, The Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq)

"From the History of Turkish Islamic Architecture"

The study focuses on the relationship between Byzantine and early Ottoman architecture. The Eski Fatih Mosque, Istanbul's first Great Mosque, is now being restored according to the view that the Selimiye Mosque of Konya had been created as its replica. Research plans include the investigation of ways in which Ottoman architecture and other contemporary Islamic architecture influenced each other.


3) Tadahisa TAKAHASHI (The Middle Eastern Culture Center)

"From the History of Turkish Craftsmen"

Using site visits and textual material, the study focuses on the esnaf (craftsmen, merchants) who migrated to Ottoman Anatolia from the Balkan peninsula and other areas. This involves the investigation of traditional craft, and craftsmen's quarters, both of which are becoming more scarce. Of special interest are the ways in which skills differ by ethnicity, and the relationships between regionality and type of craft.


4) Yoshiko TSURUTA (Showa Women's University)

"From a Study on Commercial Space in Turkey"

This study compares the European urban plaza with commercial space in Turkey, starting from the fact that both are centrally placed, open, urban spaces where people gather. Using the methods of architectural design, analyses of the components and related elements of the commercial spaces were carried out. Seven typical patterns were distinguished, associated with the particular organizational relationships on the sites.


5 Yuichi TAKI (Fukuoka University)

"From the History of Byzantine Architecture"

This study seeks to explore the nature of the city in the Byzantine Empire. It shows the gap between the style of Byzantine architecture before and after the 10th century. By analyzing how urban and rural characteristics began to overlap in Constantinopolis at the time of the Paleologue dynasty, this study hopes to reach a deeper understanding of the changing urbanism in the 6th century.


6) Yasuyoshi OKADA (Kokushikan University, The Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq)

"From the History of Ancient Oriental Architecture"

This study seeks the ways in which the ancient architecture of Western Asia has influenced Islamic architecture. Considering the period between the early sixth century and the late seventh as 'the intermediate period' between the ancient and the middle ages, the study focuses on the various architectural traditions--the Greco-Roman, Iranian, Jewish, and Christian--that existed in Western Asia during this period.


7) Yuki ARAI (Hosei University)

"From the History of Arab Islamic Cities"

The study looks at cities and villages of the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern regions. Its focus is upon the old city of Damascus: the structure of the city, its changes, as well as its residential quarter and the residences within it. The study began by considering the city as a whole, then moved on to looking at individual buildings, especially residences. Future topics include the marketplaces and public facilities of Damascus, a comparative analysis of different cities, and the introduction of the Geographic Information System.


8) Kimiya SOLEYMANIYYE (Tokyo Metropolitan University)

"From the History of Islamic Iranian Residences"

This study examines the traditional residences with courtyards found in central Iran, especially with examples from the Qajar period, found in Kashan. Research is based upon fieldwork carried out on 27 residences during 1998 and 1999. It analyzes the structure and layout of the courtyards as dependent upon the scale of the residences, as well as the difference in usage between the biruni (public space) and the andaruni (private space). Recent topics include the relationship between residences and the mahala.


9) Tomoko MASUYA (University of Tokyo, Institute of Oriental Culture)

"From the History of Islamic Art"

In the field of Islamic art history, it is necessary to use a comprehensive approach, including the study of calligraphy, paintings, crafts, and architectural history. This study focuses on three ways in which architecture and works of art relate to each other: the use of architectural elements as decorative motifs for crafts, the parallel diffusion of architectural plans and styles of architectural decoration, and the depiction of architecture in paintings.


10) Yukimasa YAMADA (Tokyo Metropolitan University)

"From Researches on Architecture in Cairo, Vietnam, and Japan"

Research has been carried out on the vernacular architecture of the Islamic regions, Southeast Asia, and Japan. The majority of the case studies are of buildings founded in the 19th and 20th centuries, an important common issue being the degree of historical expression that balances `traditional` architecture. It is important to analyze the Islamicity and the regionality of these architectures.


11) Masashi HANEDA (University of Tokyo, Institute of Oriental Culture)

"History, and architectural history"

The relationship between history, in the narrow sense, and architectural history, has sometimes been ignored. One way in which historical studies can be enriched by architectural history is if topics such as people, technology, and materials, which are important components for architechture, were to be given more emphasis. This would serve to make the subject more accessible to people in other fields, and cooperation would help both fields break new ground.